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2020 Annual Conference

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Tuesday, August 11


Using TxMET as a Recovery Resource - Mark Lynch, Tempest

TxMET is a state-wide database that allows Texas destination organizations and CVBs to share historical information on leads and obtain new prospects. As the meetings and events industry looks to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, TxMET will be a great prospecting resource. In this session, we’ll share examples from destinations successfully using TxMET and learn about best practices for leveraging TxMET data.


● See case studies of how destinations are using TxMET as a recovery resource

● Develop a game plan for utilizing TxMET in your community’s recovery

● Take home best practices for using TxMET effectively

9:45 - 10:00 AM: Welcome to the 2020 Virtual Annual Conference

This is a welcome to TACVB’s first Virtual Conference and explanation on how the day’s events will unfold.

10:00 - 10:45 AM: GENERAL SESSION

How is Your DMO/CVB Dealing with COVID

Hear from three CEOs on how their organization is dealing with COVID and how they have changed the way they are doing business.


300 Miles is Our New Backyard - Best Ways to Reach the Drive Market (on a constrained or zero budget) – Nelson Gumm, AJR Media 

Road Trips Today and for the foreseeable future: Why Texas is better positioned to reach the road tripper. Who is going? How long will they drive? What factors are they considering when searching for a destination? How far ahead can you actually plan. Learn from an expert who has been promoting in-state travel & road trips for over 27 years. Hear some of the latest road trip questions asked of visitors to AAA, and Nelson will also share insights on what you should be doing to market your destination on a tight budget.

A Look at the COVID-era Visitor Center- Kathi Weathington Hughes, Ben J. Rogers Regional Visitors Center & Crystal Fetterolf, Travel Information Center Branch Manager

During this session you will hear from Visitor Center experts from TxDOT’s Travel Information Centers and from the Ben J. Rogers Regional Visitors Center in a fun and experiential way on how COVID – 19 has impacted Texas Visitor Centers and what they have been doing to change the way they do business to better answer the needs of the new road tripper. Come have fun and tell us what you are doing at your Visitor Centers.

Connect With and Through Texas Media: Working with Travel Media to Promote Your Destination – Marika Flatt, Texas Lifestyle Magazine 

What are some of the top travel trends and 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? Now that so many tourism organizations are operating with zero or shoestring budgets - and post-COVID travel is focused on trips close to home - developing strong, lasting local and regional media relationships is more important than ever. Learn from a veteran of the travel industry (who knows both sides of the travel PR coin) to deliver a pitch that will catch the media's attention, whether it be for print, online, broadcast, or influencers.

Face of the COVID-era Meeting– Jessie States, Meeting Professionals International 

Join your peers for this critical conversation on how the Coronavirus crisis has changed the execution of meetings, events, conferences and trade shows. Look at current reopening and recovery trends with fresh data from Meeting Professionals International and discuss new guidelines for social distancing, sanitation and food delivery. Find out ways you can help meeting professionals feel safe bringing their stakeholders and attendees to your city. 
Learner Outcomes:
• Find current trends and stats about the state of the meetings industry in the COVID era.
• Discover what considerations planners are using to determine how they can safely host meetings. 
• Discuss how you can make planners feel confident booking business with you post-COVID.


How to Create a Virtual Tour for Visitors– Rose Jordan, Visit Mineral Wells 

Learn how to create a virtual tour for your destination. Rose will show you how to organize and plan the tour (she'll even share her planning template) plus how to re-purpose the tour content in your marketing. Her lessons learned will give you insights into what to do and what to avoid. Rose will also share other tour ideas to consider once you've made your first "virtual masterpiece."

Reopening Your Destination – Sara Broers, Midwest Travel Network and Travels With Sara 

Sara has been road tripping during the pandemic as things have opened up, and she has seen what is and is not working from the visitor's perspective. She'll cover tourism partner "hits and misses," share ideas for the most effective online communications and social media during reopening, and suggest steps that any DMO can take to welcome and inform visitors during uncertain times. Sara is passionate about helping all destinations come out soaring on the other side of the current pandemic.

CEO, Group Sales, Group Servicing, Marketing/PR, Social Media/Communications, and Sports...pick the peer-to-peer shirtsleeves session that best fits you for in-depth discussion about challenges and ideas specific to your DMO role.




This is a welcome to TACVB’s first Virtual Conference and explanation on how the day’s events will unfold.

10:00 - 10:45 AM: GENERAL SESSION

Destination Analysts' Coronavirus Texas Traveler Sentiment Index Study - Kimberly Vince-Cruz

Destination Analysts' Corona Virus Traveler Sentiment Index Study has tracked the sentiment, perceptions and mindset of American travelers since March of this year. This independent research provides insight into travelers’ concerns about personal finances, the perceived safety of travel activities, openness to travel information, upcoming travel plans and more. Designed specifically to support industry leaders navigate their response strategy and communicate to their stakeholders and communities, this session will also cover Texas-oriented travelers and the changing impact of travel as a lifestyle priority.


The Next Normal for Sports Events and Tourism - Al Kidd, Sports Events & Tourism Association

Following COVID-19 shut downs, several difficult weeks in quarantine, and impactful budget cuts it’s hard to imagine what the future of sporting events might look like. With every state at different re-opening stages, what changes can you expect and will they continue? How can you show your community the value of sports? Join Sports ETA President and CEO, Al Kidd, as he provides answers to these questions and shares an update on the sports events and tourism industry.

Welcoming the Black Traveler: A Conversation with the Black Travel Alliance and Visit Fort Worth - Kerwin McKenzie, Black travel Alliance & Mitch Whitten, Visit Fort Worth

Houston-based blogger Kerwin McKenzie will talk about issues facing Black travel content creators, what led to the launch of the Black Travel Alliance, and how the Alliance will help travel brands and content creators. He will also show DMOs how to take steps to better connect with Black travelers and Black content creators.

Mitch Whitten will discuss how Visit Fort Worth partnered with the city’s Black Chamber as well as artists, chefs, and influencers to develop the website Discover Fort Worth, including videos and business listings, which launched in February 2020.

Mighty "Teams of One" - Meeting the Challenge of Being the Only One Doing Your Tourism Job - Julie Smith, Stephenville Tourism and Visitors Bureau & Kelly Harris,  Somervell County Tourism

How does a one man department do everything a large department does with multiple people? How can you get everything done with a small budget? What do I have to offer? How do I get the word out? These questions will be addressed and more in this Team of “One” session. Join us to learn how “relationships”, “partnerships” and creative thinking can make you just as successful as the big cities! If you have any questions you can go ahead and send them to or and we will make sure that you have an answer during this session. No Worries! YOU can do this!

Convention Servicing Under the New Normal - Melinda Adams, Waco Convention & Visitors Bureau  & Sarah Reimer, Visit Galveston

Several cities in Texas are restricting large events more than others, and the Art of Change is something that we’re all adapting to very quickly. How do we keep attendees safe? What are our responsibilities? What do meals look like now? What are my floorplans going to look like now?

Join us as we navigate through these questions to the best of our abilities and talk about how our services teams have adapted and changed since the beginning of the year.

We’ll provide examples of tools we have created for our local partners and meeting planners that highlight attendee safety as a main priority and focus. We’ll also share resources and digital assets for meeting planners that have decided to take their events virtual or partially virtual.

Understanding the STR Report: How to Make it Work for You - Kelsey Waite, Destinations-STR

Kelsey will walk through STR reports designed for destinations, define the industry's key performance indicators and cover best practices for hotel performance data usage. She will also discuss how STR sources data, and briefly touch on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting industry results.

A Fresh Vision in an Altered Universe: Your Media Plan Today– Holly Russell, AJR Media Group 

COVID-19 has not only altered our lives, it has also impacted how today’s consumer interacts and engages with media. Now is the time to wipe the slate clean and take a fresh approach in developing and implementing your marketing strategy. If you have maintained the same media plan year after year or have only made a tweak or two, this session is for you. Faced with smaller advertising budgets, it is more important than ever to ensure you are getting your message in front of the right audience.

Here is what you can expect from this session: 
  • Learn how to utilize 1st party and 3rd party data to make educated decisions in creating an integrated media plan.
  • Tips on how to identify your target audience , as well as emerging audiences.
  • A review of research detailing how audiences are consuming media and the most impactful, effective channels to reach them at each phase of the user journey funnel.
Most importantly, you will walk away with the knowledge and confidence to implement an integrated advertising strategy that will maximize your advertising spend.


Empathy in the Workplace –Tanida Mullen,  Killeen CVB

This session is perfect for:
  • Teams Struggling with workplace dynamics
  • Mid-level to Senior Management
  • Virtual Teams

The audience will leave with:
  • Understanding the ways empathy impacts performance
  • How to develop a strategy with an empathic mind
  • Sustainable practices for team building

3:15  - 4:15 PM:

Part One of the Mineral Wells Virtual Heritage Tour

History is full of towns that were built around water, but Mineral Wells actually became famous for their water. People traveled from all over the nation to seek healing from the water and socialize around it.

In "Mineral Wells Founding History," we’ll chat with local historian Phil Garrett, and owner of the Crazy Water Bottling Company about Mineral Wells’ crazy history as the place “Where America Drinks It’s Way to Health.”

Then follow Mark Rawlings, general partner of the Baker Team, on a tour through the Baker Hotel. You’ll see the incredible progress they’ve made on the “Grand Lady”, get a glimpse into her future, and see some of her fun secrets in "Baker Hotel Progress & Historic Tour."


thursday, AUGUST 13

9:00 - 9:15 AM: WELCOME TO THE final day of our  2020 VIRTUAL ANNUAL CONFERENCE

This is a welcome to TACVB’s first Virtual Conference and explanation on how the day’s events will unfold.

general sessions

9:15 - 10:00 AM


What's Next for Tourism? - Mike Toomey, Governor Abbott’s Strike Force to Open Texas; Scott Joslove, Texas Hotel & Lodging Association; Dan Decker, Texas Travel Alliance

Hear from Industry leaders on what they think is next for Texas and the Texas Hospitality Industry as we move forward in to the COVID era of tourism for Texas.

10:00  - 10:45 aM

Same Road, New Exit - Kevin Tutt, Tutt & Daggs

Some Journeys require a detour. Staying motivated during these times is key to reaching your destination.

10:45  - 10:50 AM

Closing Remarks

11:00 AM - 12:30 pM

Part Two of the Mineral Wells Virtual Heritage Tour

Mineral Wells Military History
run time 15-20 minutes

Mineral Wells holds a significant place in military history as the place where nearly every helicopter pilot who flew in the Vietnam War was trained. A few notable pilots include Audie Murphy and Kris Kristofferson.

Join Jim Messinger, founder of the National Vietnam War Museum and Mary Creighton, local military historian as we chat about Mineral Wells’ rich military history.

Crazy Sign
run time 5-10 minutes

Though not much is known about the history of the original Crazy Sign, a revitalized downtown Mineral Wells wouldn’t be complete without it. Hear from the group of locals that raised the funds to have a replica built and placed back in downtown.

Welcome Sign
run time 5-10 minutes

Mineral Wells’ famous WELCOME sign is the second of two iconic, historic signs to be restored in as many years. And if you think the WELCOME sign looks a lot like the HOLLYWOOD sign, well, there’s good reason. Hear about the sign’s legendary story and restoration from those who gave the sign new life.

The Real Crossroads of America
run time 5-10 minutes

Did you know there’s an intersection in Texas made up of one road that runs from Canada to Mexico and one that run from California to Washington D.C.? There is, and it’s in the heart of Mineral Wells, Texas.


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Texas Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus
PO Box 1256
Denton, TX  76202
Phone: 940-999-1002
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