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2017 Annual Conference
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august 15-17, 2017

Make plans to attend the 2017 Annual Conference in Fort Worth, Texas at the Fort Worth Convention Center!!
Enjoy a week of fun and education with your travel industry peers.
Check back to see details and information on the Annual Conference, we are continuing to make additions to the event and program.


Click here to register now!

Register before July 17 to take advantage of the Early Bird discount.

Refund policy: A 100% refund will be given if registration is cancelled prior to July 3.  A 50% refund will be given if registration is cancelled prior to July 31. No refund will be given if registration is cancelled after July 31. Click here to view TACVB's official Refund Policy.



Host Information

Fort Worth Convention Center

1201 Houston Street
Fort Worth, TX  76102

Click here to visit their website.


Hotel Information

Sheraton Fort Worth Downtown Hotel

1701 Commerce Street
Fort Worth, TX  76102
Click here to book your room.

Conference Schedule

Tuesday, August 15

8:00 am - 5:00 pm:: Registration & Information open (Upper Belt Buckle foyer)

8:30 - 11:30 aM:: Historical Case Study Tour

"Embrace Your Inner Cowboy" Stockyards Tour ($30):: Click here to register for this tour

Experience the Stockyards behind the scenes with a tour of the historic district, learn to lasso with the cattle drive drovers and get the inside story on the redevelopment plans that will preserve the area.

9:00 - 11:30 am:: board of directors Meeting
1:00 - 4:00 pm:: Destination Marketing Principles (201B)

Presented by Mark Thompson, Cristy Morrison & Shannon Overby

This session is designed especially for you. If you're a local or regional DMO staff member, hotel and attractions partner, elected official, board member, or volunteer and advocate, then this is the seminar for you. The seminar offers 3 hours of information that is beneficial to anyone involved in promoting a destination to visitors.

4:00 - 5:00 PM:: New Member Orientation (13th Street Upper Lobby)

Presented by Shane Sorenson & Elizabeth Eddins along with TACVB Board of Directors & Staff

At this fun networking session and an overview of TACVB, you'll meet some new friends and colleagues, get to know the TACVB Board and Staff, and learn about how TACVB can benefit you.

6:00 - 9:00 PM:: Welcome Reception & Ice Breaker hosted by Fort Worth CVB (RIver Ranch)

Saddle up and join the Fort Worth CVB team at River Ranch in the Stockyards National Historic District. The year 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail, and you’ll step back to the era of the cattle drives that created Western legends and put Fort Worth on the map. Enjoy a night of food, local music, boot scootin’ and fun Western entertainment. Fort Worth’s own Austin Allsup -- 2016 finalist on NBC’s The Voice -- will perform a private TACVB show! Transportation will be provided to and from the Fort Worth Convention Center.

Wednesday, August 16

7:00 - 8:15 AM:: Breakfast (Lone Star Ballroom)
8:00 am - 5:00 pm:: Registration & Information open (Upper Belt Buckle foyer)
8:15 - 8:30 AM:: Opening Remarks (Lone Star Ballroom)

Presented by Shari Lee (TACVB Board Chair) & Fort Worth CVB

8:30 - 9:45 AM::  General Session (Lone Star Ballroom)

I See You: The Power of Human Connection Presented by Leon Logothetis (The Kindness Diaries on Netflix)

When I stumbled across this quote a few years back, it hit me. Hard. To be seen? What a powerful yet at times elusive feeling. The internal engine of my mind started to rumble. I began to muse how many of us could relate to living our lives without this magical, yet crucial emotional delicacy. We seek it. We yearn for it. We often don’t find it. Yet the true magic of Humanity lies in our capacity to connect. To inspire. To belong. There are days when I am sure you do feel seen. There are days when I am sure you feel unseen. It is during the days that we feel seen that our spirit soars. Our life force expands. Our authentic power blossoms. See and be seen, that’s the goal of this speech.

9:45 - 10:00 AM:: Coffee & Refreshment Break (Lone Star Ballroom)
10:00 - 10:55 AM:: Concurrent Educational Tracks

Marketing (201A)

Measuring the Marketing Effectiveness and Impact of DMO Assets (Destination Analysts)

Sales/Communications (201B)

Beyond the Business Card: Strategic Networking for Success presented by Tarsha Polk (The Marketing Lady)

Networking is a powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual. Your ability to connect with people is essential to developing profitable relationships. You’ve been networking for a while now, but what most people don’t do is develop a networking strategy. In this interactive presentation move beyond the business card to strategic networking for success. Key Takeaways: 1) How to build a networking blueprint 2) Social networking strategies 3) How to M.I.N.G.L.E. 4) How to turn your contacts into contracts

CEO/Leadership (201C)

The Art of Influential Listening presented by Kate Delaney

CEO/Leadership (202A)

How To Be A Better Partner to YOUR Partners presented by Leslie McLellan (Tourism Currents)

Is your organization a true community partner? You work hard to build your community…business by business, person by person. Now that you’ve gathered this group, are you being a good partner to them? It's not hard to be a better partner and it is necessary that you become one. This session will cover 5 easy ways to do just that. Attendees will leave with concrete action items they can implement to strengthen community relationships and partnerships. They will also receive a Community Engagement checklist handout that they can take with them to judge for themselves just how engaged they are with their community.

PR/Marketing (202B)

Your Digital Media Metrics Are Lying To You...And What You Can Do About It presented by Matt Clement (Arrivalist)

This 60 minute presentation will explore how DMO's around the country have discovered that traditional digital metrics like CTR have zero correlation to visitation to their destinations. Additionally we'll explore the next generation of metrics, like 'Cost per Arrival', and how destinations are employing these to improve their accountability with community stakeholders, optimize their marketing programs and move more visitors to their cities.

10:55 - 11:05 AM:: Break
11:05 - Noon:: Concurrent Education Sessions

Administration/Finance (201C)

Finance for Executives presented by Julie Hart (CFO, by Design)

This session will help you to really understand your financial statements, what questions you should be asking of your finance/accounting team and what areas of the financial statements require the most attention. We’ll also talk about your annual audit and what it covers and – more importantly - what it doesn’t. This session is geared to help give you confidence and understanding around the financial operations of your DMO.

Visitor Services

How to Disrupt the Same Old Visitor Center presented by Mitch Whitten (Fort Worth CVB VP of Marketing) & Denise Hawkins (Fort Worth CVB Director Visitor Services)

Learn how we confronted the same old visitor center with a new concept and staffing. Takeaways will include design, layout to engage visitors, how we measure success, ups and downs of technology, opportunities for partners. Session will include how we have tried to activate the center with events and social media.

PR/Marketing/Administration (201B)

Market Research-Best Practices, Sources, Etc. presented by Nelson Gumm (AJR Media Group)

Sports & Servicing (202B)

Sports Service: Best Practices in Hosting Sporting Events presented by Jon Schmider (Huddle Up Group Founder & CEO)

Events rights holders make buying decisions every day. Why do they choose certain destinations over others? One of the most important factors is the level of event support the host destination can provide. There are dozens of communities with good venues and deep pockets. What separates the top sports destinations from the rest is their ability to best service their clients and their events. In this interactive session sports tourism veteran Jon Schmieder, Founder + CEO of the Huddle Up Group, will discuss the ten best practices for hosting sporting events that lead to sustainable success.

Noon - 2:00 PM:: General Session Luncheon

Political Crisis Management: RFRA & Indy Welcomes All presented by Jeff Robinson (Visit Indy)

On the eve of hosting the 2015 NCAA Final Four, the city of Indianapolis was dealt an unexpected blow when the state of Indiana passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and put the city and state in national headlines for all the wrong reasons. A city known for ‘Hoosier Hospitality’ was suddenly having to defend itself as a welcoming destination. Jeff Robinson, Director of Marketing for Visit Indy, will provide a deep dive into how the city scrambled to secure a billion dollars in convention business while launching a city-wide marketing program – Indy Welcomes All – in order to combat the legislation and ensure thousands of visitors that the city did not discriminate. Mr. Robinson will talk through short-term and long-term repercussions while sharing important lessons learned along the way.

1:30 - 2:00 PM:: Vendor Break & Dessert (Rear of Lone Star Ballroom)
2:00 - 3:00 PM:: Concurrent Education Sessions
PR/Marketing/Communications (201A)

Advocacy Communications: How to Effectively Communicate with Policymakers presented by Jenifer Sarver (Sarver Strategies)

Lawmakers and leaders at all levels make regular decisions that have the potential to impact you, your community, your organization and your industry. An effective advocacy plan can help you influence their decisions and achieve your policy goals. In this workshop, Jenifer Sarver will help you identify your policy goals and craft an advocacy plan that includes the right audience, the right message and the right communications vehicles to deliver it. We will also discuss what happens when one’s personal politics come in to conflict with organizational policy goals that make it challenging to stay true to your personal principles, while still getting your job done. Overall this will be a practical, hands-on look at how each of us, as citizens, can interact with and impact our government.

Marketing (201C)

#ShareTheLex: How A Destination Creates Content By Not Writing Anything presented by Gathan Borden (Visit Lexington (KY))

Capitalizing on the success of their destination hashtag #ShareTheLex, Lexington, KY launched a separate content site filled with articles written by locals, past visitors, bloggers and influencers. None of this content is written by VisitLEX, and that is intentional, because people trust people more than organizations. In this session, we will cover the state of content marketing in travel; strategies to get community buy-in on destination marketing efforts; and tactics that everyone can do to help others market their destination and create brand ambassadors.

Marketing (202A)

Highlighting the Best Your Region Has to Offer by Thinking Outside the Box presented by Sarah O'Brien (Bastrop Main Street) and Kim McAuliffe (Downtown Hutto)

Highlighting the Best Your Region Has To Offer by Thinking Outside the Box: In this panel discussion you will hear how two Texas towns utilized their existing assets to turn them into a marketable product. You can do the same in your destination or region, by utilizing creative packaging. You don’t have to build something new to create a different and exciting product, work with what you have. Learn how you can capitalize on existing assets to create a unique tourism draw for your community. Hear examples on how this can be done from the Bastrop Culinary District and the East of Austin Film Trail.


Top 10 Trends In The Sports Tourism Industry, And How They Can Impact Your Destination presented by Gary Alexander (Huddle Up Group, LLC Principal)

Created events, using bed tax funds for venue development, servicing sporting events, clawback clauses on bid fees, use of technology at live events. These are just a few of the emerging trends in the sports tourism and events industry. Is your destination on par with your competitive set nationally? Join Huddle Up Group Principal Gary Alexander for an interactive session that will cover 10 national trends and how they can positively (or negatively) impact your business.

3:15 - 4:30 PM:: Shirtsleeve Sessions

(Required and highly recommended for DMO attendees only)

CEO facilitated by Mark Thompson (202A)

Sales facilitated by Amy Zientek & Brooke Underwood (201B)

PR facilitated by Holly Russell & Diana Pfaff (201C)

Marketing facilitated by Ryan Callison & Stephanie Molina (201A)

Sports facilitated by Tina Brohlin & Robert Lopez (202B)

Servicing facilitated by Sydney Murrell & Pam Sites (Small Foyer near breakouts)

4:30 - 6:30 PM:: Meet the Vendors Reception (Lone Star Ballroom)

Spend some quality time over an adult beverage getting to know our amazing vendors and learning about how their products and services can help your DMO. We have a truly great lineup of vendors this year, so don't miss out! Silent Auction: The Lone Star Silent Auction will be in full swing during the trade show! So come check out all of our travel packages, services, and other fun items and bid, bid, BID! Proceeds from the silent auction benefit TACVB's scholarship fund.

6:30 - 9:00 PM:: Dine Around

It's your night off! Take this opportunity to eat like a local and try one (or more!) of Fort Worth's delicious restaurants.

8:00 - 11:00 PM:: Texas Monthly Event: Acre Distillery Craft Cocktail Affair

Join us for heavy appetizers, desserts and an array of craft cocktails, plus mini tours of the distillery.

Thursday, August 17

7:00 - 8:15 AM:: Breakfast (Lone Star Ballroom)
8:00 am - Noon:: Registration & Information open (Upper Belt Buckle foyer)
8:30 - 10:00 AM::  General Session (Lone Star Ballroom)

Civility in Public Discourse presented by Jenifer Sarver (Sarver Strategies)

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” That childhood lesson, ingrained in so many of us, clearly isn’t the same guiding principal it once was. Conversations seems coarser. Emotions more raw. Language more brutal. What gets lost along the way is compassion, decency and civility. Words matter and each of us has the opportunity – the responsibility, really – to use each one carefully. Our political debates can and should be spirited. But our words should seek to convince and persuade, not to destroy. In this session Jenifer Sarver will talk about the role each of us can play in restoring constructive conversations, and our personal ability to encourage, create and demand civility in public discourse.

10:00 - 10:25 AM:: Vendor, Coffee & Refreshment Break (Lone Star Ballroom)
10:30 - 11:40 AM:: Tourism To Go (To Go Takeaways)
11:40 - 1:00 PM:: Idea Fair & TDM Awards Gala Luncheon Sponsored by Intelliquest (Lone Star Ballroom)
1:15 - 2:15 PM:: Concurrent Education Sessions
Administration/Marketing (201A)

Sponsors & Social: The Art of Partnerships Promotions presented by Jessica Bybee-Dediezic (Saffire)

Just like most trends these days, sponsorship has shifted to a social media market. But, as advertising opportunities, algorithms, and trends in social media change, it’s hard to know where to focus your efforts when promoting your most valuable partners. Join us, as we show you how to maximize your sponsor partnerships with shared promotions on Facebook, Instagram and even Snapchat. Learn how you can grow your event’s audience while WOWing your sponsors, all at the same time!

General Interest (201B)

The Savvy Young Professional presented by Tanida Mullen (Killeen CVB) and panel

The Savvy Young Professional: There is a shift in the workforce and some have called it the “The Millennial takeover” but just like every generation before us we have our own set unique challenges and opportunities. Join a few CVB industry professionals as they discuss how to navigate your career as a young professional. Bring your questions to this Q&A style session where nothing is off limits. If you are looking to learn how to move beyond the title “Millennial” and on to CEO this session is for you.

CEO (Lone Star Ballroom)

The Four Factors of Leadership presented by David Rendall

Whether you are a manager, parent, teacher, little league coach or nonprofit board member, The Four Factors of Effective Leadership will help you improve your ability to influence others to achieve meaningful goals. This presentation combines the wisdom of ancient philosophers, successful executives and leadership gurus into a clear roadmap for effective leadership. The four factors focus on common themes that can be found throughout most research on leadership and interpersonal effectiveness. These factors show that: — Everyone can be a leader — Leadership begins with you — Leadership is a relationship — Leadership produces positive change. Using stories of famous leaders and infamous failures, this session illustrates the importance of the four factors: Influence, Integrity, Inspiration, and Improvement. These factors are contrasted with the pitfalls of ineffective leadership: Power, Position, Popularity, and Personality. Self-assessments for each factor are included to help you evaluate your leadership and develop a plan for continued improvement.

Sales (201C)

How To Plan/Execute a Sales Mission presented by Elizabeth Mullis, MBA, CTA (Mullis Consulting) and McKenzie Zieser-Riepen (VisitDFW)

Sales missions continue to become extremely relevant for destinations in prospecting new business, maintaining existing relationships and showcasing the city's offerings in a personal way. As our ways of communicating in the digital world evolve, it's now more important than ever to include social media engagement. Learn about social media tools and ideas for enhancing the sales mission experience while expanding the reach of your destination's messaging.

Group Tourism (202A)

Destination Development Strategy presented by Don Anderson (Destination Consultancy Group)

What's the Scoop on Tourism Master Planning? An overview of destination product development needs and strategies from the perspective of a more engaged DMO/CVB in a community's economic and social growth is explored. Pertinent case studies and best practices nationally are highlighted along with steps to prepare a destination development strategy for a more successful growth-oriented and livable community.

2:15 - 2:30 PM:: Refreshment Break

2:30 - 3:45 PM:: General Session (Lone Star Ballroom)

Funny For A Change: Using Humor to Create Serious Transformation presented by David Rendall

Is your organization confronting major change? Is your industry experiencing significant challenges? Are you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated? Maybe you just need a good laugh. Making people laugh is very similar to making people change. We can learn how to transform ourselves and our companies by understanding what it takes to be funny. Humor surprises people, pushes boundaries and tells the truth. Great comedy requires the right blend of timing, restraint, humility and emotion. Applying these same principles to change management will help you succeed during turbulent times.

3:45 - 4:00 PM:: Break
4:00 - 5:00 PM:: Annual Business Meeting & Conference Bid Presentations (Lone Star Ballroom)
6:30 - 9:30 PM:: Closing Night Event Sponsored by Ajr Media Group

Friday, August 18

8:30 - 11:30 aM:: Historical Case Study Tour

"How Women Won the West" Cultural District Tour ($30):: Click here to register for this tour

One of the great legacies of the Old West is Fort Worth’s Cultural District, built or overseen by women who poured riches of the land into amazing art and architecture. Experience the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, two of five museums in the district, after an informative driving tour of the area.


Click here to register for Annual Conference


Texas Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus
PO Box 8665
Round Rock, TX  78683
Phone: 512-550-3464
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