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2017 Annual Conference
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august 15-17, 2017

We can't wait to see you at 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.

 Registration is now closed


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.

Overflow Hotel Information

Hilton Fort Worth

815 Main Street
Group Code: TACVB

Click here to book your room


Conference Schedule

Tuesday, August 15

12 noon - 4:00 pm:: Registration & Information open (Upper Belt Buckle foyer)

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

"Embrace Your Inner Cowboy" Stockyards Tour ($30 SOLD OUT)

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 (201A)
1:00 - 4:00 pm:: Destination Marketing Principles (201C)

Presented by Mark Thompson and Cristy Morrison

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, 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. Topics include: Developing Strategic Alliances, Defining Your Target Market, Face to Face Marketing at Conventions & Conferences, Advertising & Promotions, Social & Digital Marketing, Measurements for Success, and much more. DOMAIN I: 3 CEU

4:00 - 5:00 PM:: New Member RECEPTION (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 (FWCC Ballroom)
8:00 am - 4:00 pm:: Registration & Information open (Upper Belt Buckle foyer)
8:15 - 8:30 AM:: Opening Remarks (FWCC Ballroom)

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

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

Lead Your Evolution presented by Judson Laipply (Inspirational Comedian and creator of The Evolution of Dance)

Lead Your Evolution: We can all agree that things change. Industries, trends, society, methods and everything else are in a perpetual state of change. Everything changes but not everything evolves. In this keynote we will explore the idea of evolving and find out exactly what must be done as a leader to help lead your organization’s evolution. Energetic and interactive, this keynote will help you understand that everything changes but not everything evolves and how to lead your evolution.

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

Marketing (201A)

Measuring the Marketing Effectiveness and Impact of DMO Assets presented by Kimberly Vince-Cruz and David Reichbach (Destination Analysts)

The Impact of DMO Websites: Destination Analysts will present key findings from a year-long comprehensive DMO Website User & Conversion Study. Learn who uses DMO websites, why they use DMO websites, and how this invaluable marketing asset converts its users to actual visitors of the destination it promotes. Never been done before, this study also included an exciting research approach pioneered by Destination Analysts in which the voice of the user is merged with their actual online behaviors, allowing for a close look at different types of website users and more in-depth website performance metrics.

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

Want to own all of your interactions? AND eliminate the competition? You will when Kate Delaney as the COO and talent of a Radio Network shares the strategies and secrets to being the best LISTENER in the room. Become an Influential listener and like Kate close bigger deals and STOP missing out on closer connection. Takeaways:
• Discover specific tactics for not missing words or chunks of a conversation that can cost you a deal or meaningful interactions professionally and personally. As a result, relationships will build and deals will close faster.
• Kill off the distractions from the ridiculous amount of thoughts running through your head to the physical obstacles pulling you away from your conversation. Paying attention equals profits professionally and personally.
• Powerful Game changing questions, know when to ask them and why. This leads to increased clarification and take the doubt over any next steps to closing a deal.

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. DOMAIN F: 1 CEU

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. DOMAIN I: 1 CEU

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

PR/Marketing/Administration (201A)

Travel Research - think you can’t afford it? Think again. presented by Nelson Gumm (AJR Media Group)

Have you ever had a stakeholder ask why are you spending money here? Wouldn’t it be great if you had research to support your marketing decisions? Large companies & DMO’s use market research to guide their marketing decisions. In the DMO world, many small to midsize marketers do not use research because they think it is too expensive, too time consuming or they don’t know where to begin.In this informative session, Nelson will share the sources he has developed over the 26+ years in the travel industry and show you that you do not need a big budget, any budget at all, or a dedicated person to interpret what you see. You will walk away with resources, that if utilized, will guide and support your marketing decisions.  

Administration/Finance (201B) 

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. DOMAIN D: 1 CEU

General Interest (201C)

DMO & Hospitality Industry Professional Development presented by Colleen A. Rickenbacher, CMP, CSEP, CPC, CTA, CPECP and John Cychol, FCDME, CTA (Fort Worth CVB)

DMO & Hospitality Industry Professional Development Continuing education and learning are crucial for our industry to stay abreast standards and trends. It is also key for individual professional development and credibility. There are a number of Industry Certification Programs available for the meetings and tourism fields, e.g. CDME, TDM, CMP, CSEP, CMM, CTA, CEM, CASE, etc. In this session you will learn: • What are some of the major certifications available & background • How you as a DMO professional and your organization benefit from these certification and overall importance of professional development • Overview of some steps on getting these designations

Sports & Servicing (202A) 

Sports Service: Best Practices in Hosting Sporting Events presented by Jon Schmieder (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. DOMAIN H: 1 CEU

Visitor Services (202B)

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.

Noon - 1:30 PM:: General Session Luncheon (FWCC Ballroom)

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. 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.

Sneak Peak of Annual Conference 2018 in Sugar Land presented by Star Gilani (Sugar Land CVB)

1:30 - 2:00 PM:: Vendor Break & Dessert (Rear of FWCC Ballroom)
2:00 - 3:00 PM:: Concurrent Education Sessions


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.

Sales/Tourism (201B)

Finding your Niche in the World of Tradeshows presented by Kim Phillips (Discover Denton), Patrick Higgins (Connect Meetings), Thomas Wilhelm (Texas State Parks)

Narrowing the field and finding your audience in the wide world of tourism tradeshows.

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. DOMAIN I: 1 CEU

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 (City of Georgetown)

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.

Sports (202B)

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 (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:: Vendor EXPo and silent auction sponsored by tiger oak media (FWCC 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

Experience Fort Worth Flavors on Your Own: 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 our friends with Texas Monthly at Acre Distillery for an evening of fun, food, and fancy cocktails! Enjoy heavy appetizers, desserts, and an array of craft cocktails while visiting with tourism industry friends from around the state and U.S. You can even experience mini tours of the distillery!

Thursday, August 17

7:00 - 8:15 AM:: Breakfast (FWCC Ballroom)
8:00 am - Noon:: Registration & Information open (Upper Belt Buckle foyer)
8:30 - 10:00 AM::  General Session (FWCC 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:: Coffee & Refreshment Break (FWCC Ballroom)
10:30 - 10:50 AM:: Tourism To Go
Corral 1:: CEO

Working with Universities/Interns presented by Sydney Murrell (Experience Bryan College Station)

Corral 2:: CEO / Marketing / Visitor Services

Working with the Heritage Trails presented by Jill Jordan (Texas Lakes Trail Region)

Corral 3

Need for Sport Tourism Research & Planning presented by Don Anderson (Destination Consultancy Group)

Corral 4:: Sales

RFPs 101 presented by Shane Sorenson (Visit Plano)

Corral 5

Top 10 Ways to Partner with Downtown Organizations for Tourism presented by Catherine Sak (Texas Downtown Association)

Join us for a session on the top 10 ways DMOs and downtown organization can work together to attract visitors and enhance their experience in your community. Big or small, rural or urban - partnerships matter!

10:55 - 11:15 AM:: Tourism To Go
Corral 1

Working with State Parks presented by Thomas Wilhelm (Texas State Parks)

Corral 2:: servicing

Servicing Task Demonstrations presented by Pam Sites (Abilene CVB)

Corral 3:: CEO

Recognizing, Rewarding, and Retaining Staff presented by Alysia Cook (Opportunity Strategies)

Retaining top talent is a challenge for any organization, considering most employees wear multiple hats and have a significant impact on your organization's success. With the constant juggling of job duties and responsibilities, it is easy to miss opportunities to effectively praise and coach staff members. In this session, participants will learn the benefits of, and how to implement, the 3 Rs: Recognizing, Rewarding, and Retaining your staff and why these tools work. These techniques are immediately implementable to help transform your team.

Corral 4

TACVB Membership 101 presented by Pamela Anderson (TACVB)

Corral 5

DMO Advocacy & Community Relations Planning Requirements presented by Don Anderson (Destination Consultancy Group)

11:20 - 11:40 AM:: Tourism To Go
Corral 1:: Sales

Reverse Tradeshow Appointment Training presented by Chelsea Burgess (Connect)

Corral 2

The Accidental Tourist presented by Meredith Mathiews (Abilene CVB)

Abilene's care package for re-directed flight passengers.

Corral 3:: CEO

Using the 7 Principles of Influence to Benefit Your DMO presented by Alysia Cook (Opportunity Strategies)

Your DMO is in the business of convincing people to do things. It may be to visit your community, volunteer, help fulfill a service, or deliver a product. The truth is that it takes a lot of people and resources to achieve your organization's vision. Learn Dr. Robert Cialdini's 7 Principles of Influence and how to put them to use for the benefit of your association and its beneficiaries.

Corral 4:: CEO

Policies-The Good, The Bad & The Ugly presented by Julie Hart (CFO by Design)

What policies should you have in place? Are there drawbacks to having too many policies? Is a bad policy better than no policy? This will help to provide you with guidance to ensure that your DMO is operating under industry best practices.

Corral 5:: Marketing/PR/Visitor Services

Getting Social with Visit Austin presented by Katie Cook (Visit Austin)

We have all heard that content is king. With so many content distribution platforms out there, organizations must think like publishers. Katie Cook will share information on Visit Austin’s social media and content strategy, processes, useful management tools and success metrics.

11:40 - 1:00 PM:: Idea Fair & TDM Awards Gala Luncheon Sponsored by Intelliquest (FWCC Ballroom)

1:15 - 2:15 PM:: Concurrent Education Sessions
Administration/Marketing (201A)

Sponsors & Social: The Art of Partnerships Promotions presented by Jessica Bybee-Dziedzic (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! DOMAIN I: 1 CEU

General Interest (201B)

The Savvy Young Professional moderated by Tanida Mullen (Killeen CVB) with panel participants Shanna Smith (Visit San Antonio), Shane Sorenson (Visit Plano), and Dominique Powell (Experience Bryan College Station)

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.

Sales (201C)

How To Plan/Execute a Sales Mission and Integrate Social Media presented by 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. DOMAIN A: 1 CEU

CEO (FWCC 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.

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

2:30 - 3:45 PM:: General Session (FWCC 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 (FWCC 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 SOLD OUT) 

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.


 registration is now closed


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