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2018 Annual Conference
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Annual Conference 2018

August 14-16, 2018


All conference activities and accommodations are under one roof!


Marriott Sugar Land Town Square
16090 City Walk
Sugar Land, TX  77479

Group Room Rate: $135 (single or double)

To reserve your room, just click here.
(Cutoff date for reservations is July 29, 2018)



Earlybird TACVB member rate (before July 13)  = $385
Regular member rate = $435
Non-member rate = $500
Student rate (Wednesday, August 15th) = $50
One-day rate (Thursday, August 16th: covers Awards Gala and Business meeting) = $150 

Click here to register for Annual Conference!


Interested in sponsoring? Click here.


Conference Schedule

Tuesday, August 14

8:30 - 11:30 aM:: Historical Case Study Tour
(Additional $30)

"Sacred Destinations": This tour will highlight Sugar Land's rich religious and cultural diversity.  Stops will include a Buddhist temple, a Hindu temple and an Ismaili center for those of the Muslim faith.

12:30 - 5:00 pm:: Registration & Information open (bALLROOM lobby)
9:00 - 10:00 am:: Committee Meetings

Communications, Finance, TxMET, TDM

10:00 - 11:00 am:: Committee Meetings

Education, Membership, Young Professionals

11:00 am - Noon:: Committee Meetings

Annual Conference Committee

1:00 - 4:00 PM:: Exhibitor Move In & Silent Auction Drop Off & Set Up (cANE 1)
1:00 - 4:00 PM:: Destination Marketing Principles (mAGNOLIA 1-3)

Destination Marketing Principles is designed especially for YOU.  If you're a local or regional DMO staff member, hotel and attractions partner, elected official, board member, downtown organization, 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.

1:00 - 2:15 PM:: Pre-Conference Session: TEMPEST (CRM) (Palm)
1:00 - 2:15 PM:: Pre-Conference Session:: Master the Power of LinkedIn
(Additional $35)

Widely considered to be a Guru of LinkedIn, Terry has trained more than 6,200 business owners and leaders across the nation on how to create their very own unique online brand that gets results. His inspiring LinkedIn training programs focus on branding, keyword optimization and Social Selling strategies that help his customers tap into the world of Social Media to get more prospects, leads and clients. In his presentation, Terry will show you how use LinkedIn to take advantage of the immense opportunities this powerful platform offers as a personal branding and marketing tool to achieve your business goals.

1:15 - 3:45 PM:: Board of Directors Meeting (mAHOGANY)
2:30 - 3:45 PM:: Pre-conference session: tempest (txMET) (Monarch)
2:30 - 3:45 PM::  Pre-conference session: Social Media Content Planning: Build a Social Media Content Calendar for Next Week (additional $35)

Who hasn't woken up and said something like, "It's Wednesday, and I have NO idea what I'm going to post on Facebook today?" Let's fix that, at least for next week. Starting with your DMO's overall goals and destination marketing objectives, we'll hammer out a week's worth of relevant posts (including ideas for visuals to go with them) for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, plus maybe a little Pinterest and some blog post ideas thrown in. Get ready for a focused hour of building a real content calendar that you can use when you walk out the door. Join Sheila Scarborough with Tourism Currents for an informative an action-packed session.

5:00 - 5:45 PM:: New Member Orientation (BlueBonnet)

Join us for a 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 (Sugar Land Heritage Museum and Visitor Center / Fort Bend Children's Discovery Center)

Wednesday, August 15

7:00 - 8:00 AM:: Breakfast & Silent Auction Drop Off & Set-Up
8:00 - 5:00 AM:: Registration & Information Open (bALLROOM lOBBY)
8:00 - 9:10 AM:: General Session & Opening Remarks (Sugar Land Ballroom)

Customer Experience – The Final Frontier presented by Gary Magenta

Products and services can be knocked off overnight. What can never be replicated is how you make your customer’s feel, the unique brand experience you create based on their needs and wants. Creating and delivering a consistent, satisfying, and differentiated customer experience is tough, but this session defines the obstacles promise a fresh approach to overcome the organizational challenges most companies face when trying to bring their brand promise and customer experience to life.

A highly interactive session, attendees will walk away understanding the canyons preventing organizations from winning the heats of their customers and how to address those barriers by applying the three secrets: Creating a Customer-First Culture, Empowering Managers to Act like Owners and Delivering an Authentic Experience on the frontline that supports the Brand Promise to drive loyalty.

9:10 - 9:25 AM:: Coffee & Refreshment Break
9:25 - 10:20 AM:: Concurrent Education Sessions

Marketing/PR/Social: It Takes A Village presented by Sarah O'Brien (Downtown Bastrop) and Shane Sorenson (Visit Bastrop) (Magnolia 1-3)

Discover how Bastrop’s Hospitality and Downtown Director, Sarah O’Brien, worked to bring everyone to the table to try and win their place on Season Three of “The Small Business Revolution- Main Street” Original Series on Hulu. You’ll see what went in to activating community stakeholders, industry colleagues and partners, along with local, state and national influencers. From strategically coordinated messaging to bold, spur of the moment ideas that took Bastrop to new heights, this session will show you how putting it all on the table has united the community, increased destination awareness and visitation, and gave the once disaster-ravaged community of Bastrop a new story to tell.

Marketing: How should the travel decision funnel be guiding my marketing decisions? #AskingForAFriend presented by Holly Russell (AJR Media Group) (Mahogany)

How do I know if I am maximizing my marketing and advertising budget? Is our media plan reaching our target audience at each phase of the travel decision funnel? How can I explain the value and ROI of our marketing spend to board members and/or stakeholders? How do I know if my team is providing the most relevant reporting for our marketing efforts?

If you have a “friend” who asks questions like these, do that “friend” a solid and attend this session. You’ll be able to inform your “friend” about the most impactful, effective media channels for each phase of the travel decision funnel. Additionally, you’ll gain invaluable insight to help your “friend” educate board members and/or stakeholders on budget allocations and the value and ROI of their efforts. And, in case you are wondering, there will be plenty of time for Q&A, because we know you are there #AskingForAFriend.

Sales: Don't Take the Wind Out of My Sale - Planner/Supplier Relationships presented by Brett Sterenson (Hotel Lobbyists) (Azalea)

This program will highlight key areas of the planner supplier relationship, how to enhance negotiation techniques, increase ROI, handle delicate issues, and understand the external influences which affect the buying process.

10:20 - 10:30 AM:: Quick Break
10:30 - 11:30 AM:: Concurrent Education Sessions

CEO: The Un-Bossy Boss presented by Gary Magenta (Root, Inc.) (Sugar Land Ballroom)

Individual contributors are responsible for bringing their best selves to work, while managers are responsible for bringing out the best in others. These are two very different things. Through humor and real-life case studies, Gary Magenta, author of The Un-Bossy Boss, shows how the old “yell and tell” model of managing has become outdated and ineffective, and offers leaders and managers a clear and tangible roadmap to success.

Through this interactive workshop, Gary will highlight the 12 Powerful Questions that help turn traditional manager-employee relationships into something greater and more impactful. Attendees will walk away from the workshop with new skills and knowledge to become even better managers who take a more interactive approach; one that reveals employees’ motivations and beliefs and invites them to be a part of creating solutions so they and the organization can soar to new heights.

PR: Digital, online and radio, OH MY!: One of Texas' travel editors shares what you need to be doing to get journalists' attention presented by Marika Flatt (Texas Lifestyle Magazine) (Magnolia 1-3)

What are some of the top travel trends that Texans are looking for in 2018? How can you best package all that makes your town or destination great, in order to reach the right journalists and pique their interest? What makes a destination interesting to both media outlets and thereby, consumers? Learn from a veteran of the travel industry who knows both sides of the travel PR coin. Marika Flatt has been in PR for over 20 years, running the firm PR by the Book for over 15 years. During the same 15 years, she has been a travel writer for various publications and has served as the Travel Editor of Texas Lifestyle Magazine for the past four years. She oversees both the Jet Setter and Road Trip features in each issue and also writes #TravelTuesday articles for their online magazine. She also has a bimonthly segment called "Weekend Trip Tip" on the statewide NPR show, Texas Standard, where she, of course, gives listeners tips for road tripping throughout the state of Texas. Marika can speak from years of experience in both delivering a pitch that will catch media's attention and also how and why she covers properties and destinations for her media outlets.

Marketing/Sales/Meetings: What Meeting Planners Want in a DMO Website & How to Ensure Yours Nails It! presented by Mya Surrency (Digital Edge Marketing) (Mahogany)

Does the meetings section of your DMO website look like a puny afterthought? Are meeting planners perusing the leisure section of your site because they can't find what they need? The meetings section of your website is valuable real estate. Don't waste it! This session will discuss what planners are looking for on your meetings website and how you can craft content that will stand out from the rest, create destination appeal and win over attendees.

11:30 AM - 1:30 PM:: Lunch Break in Sugar Land Town Square
1:30 - 2:30 PM:: General Session (Sugar Land Ballroom)

Are You a Social Medium? presented by Tom Martin (Converse Digital)

What if you could read your prospective visitors’ mind? What if you knew they preferred sunrise to sunset, cocktails to beer and solitude to parties? Could you leverage those insights to create more compelling, engaging and persuasive marketing messages? And they say a picture is worth a thousand words, but what if you’re using the wrong words?

The simple truth is that If you’re not using the latest social research technology to analyze how your social tourists will respond to potential content marketing messages, you’re missing the opportunity to leverage those insights to predict their future actions. 

And in a world where consumers report that social media posts highly influence future vacation decisions, that could be the difference between keeping and losing those potential visitors and possibly your job. In this fast paced, funny and incredibly insightful keynote, Tom Martin demonstrates how you can use social research to create awareness of, preference for and visitation to your destination. 

2:30 - 3:00 PM:: Annual Conference 2019 Presentation & Refreshment Break (Sugar Land Ballroom)
3:00 - 4:30 PM:: Shirtsleeve Sessions

CEO (Cane 2-3)

Marketing & PR (Magnolia 1-3)

The One Man Show (Mahogany)

Do you wear every hat in your office at the same time? TACVB has designed this Shirtsleeve Session just for tourism's masterful jugglers tackling sales, marketing, servicing and everything else.

Sports (Monarch)

Social Media (Palm)

Sales (Azalea)

Servicing (Pecan)

4:30 - 6:30 pm:: Meet the Vendors Reception (Sugar Land 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! Plus, 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 Sugar Land's delicious restaurants.

8:30 - 11:30 PM:: OFFSITE EVENT

Thursday, August 16

7:00 - 8:00 AM:: Breakfast
8:00 - Noon:: Registration & Information Open (bALLROOM lOBBY)
8:00 - 9:10 AM:: General Session & Opening Remarks (Sugar Land Ballroom)

Destination Leadership presented by Bill Geist (DMO Proz)

There was a time when Destination Marketing focused on merely playing the cards with which you were dealt. Today, Destination Marketing is evolving into so much more, with DMOs taking on the role of advocate and choreographer of experience. Author of the new book, "Destination Leadership," Bill Geist will share the innovation, in both thought and practice, that is powering today's most successful DMOs.

9:15 - 10:45 AM:: Vendor Expo & Refreshment Break

This is your last opportunity to stop by the vendors and check out the latest in technology, marketing, and other opportunities.

10:45 - 11:45 AM:: Concurrent Education Sessions

Marketing: How To Google-Proof Your Content Marketing Strategy presented by Tom Martin (Converse Digital) (Magnolia 1-3)

Pigeon. Panda. Penguin. And all of those unnamed updates. It seems like every time you turn around Google is reminding you that they, not you, will determine who sees your content. And this means Google, not you, controls the top of your potential visitor sales funnel.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. By mapping your prospect universe for your key Propinquity Points, you can outwit Google and push your content to your online Embassies and Outposts, the online destinations your prospects most frequent when self-educating about future travel decisions.

Tom Martin, author of The Invisible Sale will introduce you to a world of Painless Prospecting, a counter-intuitive content marketing approach that will Google Proof your content marketing and ensure the right prospective visitors see your compelling content.

CEO: Public Information in the Age of Transparency: How to Comply & Protect Your Information presented by Karen Kennard (Greenburg Traurig Law) (Cane 2-3)

Marketing/PR: Influencer Marketing Panel panelist are Daniel Horsch (Visit Dallas), Millerann Moya (Visit Plano), and Ryan Callison (Visit Frisco) (Mahogony)

Visitor Services: Bring Your Events Back from the Brink presented by Vicky Soderberg (Cygnet Strategies) and Erin Corbell (Brady/McCulloch County Chamber of Commerce) (Azalea)

We’ve all been there. A traditional event is losing its luster. Volunteers and enthusiasm are dwindling. Attendance and revenues are dropping. No one is taking selfies or posting about how much fun they’re having. You’ve moved into the dreaded “Spiral of Blah” and your event is a—Been There—Done That—Won’t Be Back—experience.

Don’t give up! It’s possible to revitalize an event in ways that are true to your vision and double, or even triple, the economic impact for your community. We’ll talk about where to start, how to build upon the existing foundation, and the “but we’ve always done it that way” conversation. We’ll even tackle the elephant in the room—what to do when an event has clearly outlived its useful life and should not be continued.

11:45 AM - 1:15 PM:: Awards Gala Luncheon (Sugar Land Ballroom) presented by:

1:15 - 2:15 PM:: Concurrent Education Sessions

PR: Social Media Is Not A PR Strategy presented by Taryn Scher (Magnolia 1-3)

Do you often wonder why other destinations are making headlines and top 10 lists, when your destination offers an equally great - if not better- product? The answer is usually simple: public relations. In this session, Taryn Scher will provide you with the tools to pitch journalists and get your destination featured on television, in the newspapers and magazines- all without paying a dime. Key takeaways will include how to pitch a journalist, how to maximize existing opportunities in your destination/market, how to host journalists for site visits and more. No influencers/social media pay to play here- this is all about getting free media coverage! 

Leadership/CEO: Brandelized: How Destinations Have Gotten It Wrong presented by Bill Geist (DMO Proz) (Cane 2-3)

It is one of the most common things upon which destination leaders focus. Whether it’s creating, updating, rebooting or revitalizing a brand, the simple truth is that your brand already exists. DMO consultant and author Bill Geist will challenge how you look at your brand and suggest that more effectively managing the consumer’s experience beats a new logo or tagline any day. You'll learn the art and science behind mining your brand, shaping its messaging and delivering on your destination’s brand platform through examples of those that got it right…and those that didn’t.

Marketing: Getting the Most for Your Digital Dollar presented by Holly Russell (AJR Media Group) (Mahogany)

 Digital ad spending continues to be an increasingly important part of advertising for travel and tourism. In an industry wrought with hidden fees and costs, this session will highlight what information to look for when reviewing a digital advertising proposal. Expect to walk away with new knowledge to negotiate the most impactful digital buy for your brand, best practices for your creative and what transparencies to look for in your reporting. You will also receive valuable tips to ensure your digital dollars are not being wasted.

Visitor Services: Event First Aid presented by Vicky Soderberg (Cygnet Strategies) (Palm)

Have an event challenge that seems insurmountable? Need help with how to change/adapt/eliminate an event? This is your opportunity! You’ll have the opportunity to submit questions and issues in advance and then learn from examples and ideas about what might work and what to avoid. This is a conversation so be prepared to participate.

(NOTE: This will be a new type of format. People will submit questions or issues ahead of time and we will compile them and discuss solutions and provide examples of how to move forward.)

Meeting Planner Digital Voodoo – Reaching Planners Online presented Orange 142 (Azelea)

 Unlike leisure advertising, meetings marketing is incredibly niche and has an increasingly long sales cycle. This session dives in to the mindset of a meeting planner, how they use a DMOs site for researching their next event and how to capitalize on digital media and online marketing for branding, awareness and ultimately drive RFPs! Learn about different digital media solutions that other DMOs have had success with including geofencing, video podcasts, meetings content activation, email marketing and more! Reaching planners isn’t rocket science but it does help to know a little digital voodoo!

2:15 - 2:30 PM:: Refreshment Break
2:30 - 3:30 PM:: Concurrent Education Sessions

Marketing: The Science Behind the Art of Storytelling from the Eric Friedheim Institute at the University of Florida presented by Howard Tietjen (Madden Media), Ryan Callison (Visit Frisco), and Dr. Craig Schmitt (Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute at the University of Florida)(Magnolia 1-3)

In this session, you will learn about the most recent research completed at the Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute at University of Florida regarding content marketing and Amplified Storytelling. Multiple levels of expertise and experience will be represented within the panel, including insights from Frisco's award-winning content marketing strategy, insight into the execution of that strategy, and findings from research behind the strategy. You will leave this session with a better understanding of what persuades people to travel and how to incorporate these strategies into your own digital marketing campaigns.

Leadership/CEO: Top 20 Ways to Ruin a Perfectly Good DMO Website presented by Kimberly Vince-Cruz (Destination Analysts) (Mahogany)

What mistakes are destinations making on their website? How can they more effectively attract visitors and serve their audience needs? Over the past decade, Destination Analysts has overseen thousands of hours of traveler interviews as part of DMO website usability and user experience studies. In this entertaining and thought-provoking session, we will take TACVB attendees inside the psyche of their website's audience and share what we've learned about the common mistakes most DMOs continually make. Using examples taken from attending DMOs, we'll show how to quickly and cheaply improve the website of every DMO in the room. 

PR: Advanced PR Workshop / Roundtable presented by Taryn Scher (Palm)

In this session, we'll go more in-depth and breakdown some of the information we discussed in my first session (Social Media Is Not a PR Strategy). Attendees will have a chance to discuss concepts learned, pitch ideas, ask specific questions, and apply the information from the first session. ** Attendance at Taryn's previous session is a prerequisite.

3:30 - 3:45 PM:: Break
3:45 - 5:00 PM:: Annual Business Meeting & Conference Bid Presentations (Sugar Land Ballroom)
6:30 - 9:30 PM:: Closing Night Event

Take Me Out to the Ballgame: Relax, unwind, and show off your team spirit as we celebrate the end of another successful conference at the Sugar Land Skeeters baseball game! TACVB will take over the Wells Fargo Picnic Pavilion along the 3rd baseline - perfect for watching the game and networking with friends. Lots of fun and games are in store, along with plenty of tasty food and drink options. More info coming soon!

sponsored by:

Friday, August 17

8:30 - 11:30 AM:: Historical Case Study Tour
(Additional $30)

"Our Sweet History": This historical walking tour will tell the history of Sugar Land as you walk through historic neighborhoods and among its most beloved historic sites. Stops on the tour will include a visit to the oldest business in Sugar Land (Imperial Sugar), the oldest building in Sugar Land (Sugar Land Auditorium, the Main - 7th streets historic district featuring the remnants of the Imperial Sugar "company town", and an old prison built in 1939 that now houses the Houston Museum of Natural Science satellite location.

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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