AGENDA

Register today and don’t miss out on an action-packed conference, full of inspiring workshops, a diverse array of exhibitors and great networking opportunities.

Breakfast Sponsored by:

Registration Sponsored by:

8:00 – 9:00

REGISTRATION / BREAKFAST / EXHIBITOR SHOWCASE

How to Capitalize on the State’s Marketing Programs

Are you getting the most from Connecticut’s tourism marketing programs? Are you missing opportunities to get a business boost? In this session, you’ll discover State marketing support you may not know about. Make sure you’re taking advantage of every possible way to advance your plans, getting vigorous help from DECD specialists.

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9 :00 - 10:30

OPENING SESSION / GOVERNOR'S WELCOME/ GOVERNOR'S TOURISM AWARDS

10:45 – 11:45

SESSION 1 WORKSHOPS

Actionable Insights from the Latest Tourism Research

Get the very latest insights on the travel and tourism industry! Jerry Henry of H2R Market Research, the leader in U.S. destination attractions research, will share insights on domestic and international travel performance, New England and Connecticut travelers, emerging travel trends, and the latest travel forecasts. If you work for a hotel/resort, attraction, destination marketing organization, or any segment of the travel industry; this presentation is for you!

Jerry Henry, CEO, H2R Market Research

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Our International Visitor – Who – When – Why

This panel of international marketing experts will share market research and provide insights on how to attract the international traveler to Connecticut and your business.  Booking trends, best practices, and the makeup of our international visitor will also presented.

Jenny Rafter, Head of Global Leisure Sales, Aer Lingus

Derek E. Price, Director of North America, Expedia

Patricia Perdue, TTM, Irish Marketing Consultant

Lori Harnois, Executive Director, Discover New England

How to Turn Bloggers and Influencers into Allies

Bloggers and influencers can have huge followings — and just as big an impact on your business. More and more travelers seek out their wisdom before making reservations. Learn how to make these third-party specialists your partners. Hear the best ways to work with them…what they need to give your destination even broader exposure and drive new business to your door.

Erica Tannen, Founder, The E-List

Shawna Gale, Co-founder/Editor, Out and About Mom

Alycia Chrosniak, Founder/Freelance Writer, CT Eats Out

Crisis Management: When Bad Things Happen to Good Businesses

It's not your fault, but it's still your problem. From cyberattacks to building security, you need to be prepared for the unexpected. Hear from experts how to contain trouble before it gets beyond control and how to recover from a blot on your business' reputation. In this enlightening session, you'll think ahead about the unthinkable. In an emergency, you'll be glad you did.

Joey Barbera, ARM, Risk Management Program Specialist, CIRMA Risk Management Services

Kent Jarrell, Executive Director, APCO Worldwide

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Luncheon Sponsored by:

Foxwoods Mohegan Sun

12:00- 1:30

LUNCHEON / SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS / KEYNOTE ADDRESS

Kelly McDonald
Nationally Renowned Consumer Marketing Expert

Author of  "How to Work With and Lead People Not Like You,” Kelly McDonald brings you insights into consumer trends, drawing from experience on Toyota, Subaru, Kimberly-Clark, Nike, Harley-Davidson, MillerCoors and Sherwin-Williams.

1:30 – 2:00

DESSERT / EXHIBITOR SHOWCASE

How to Capitalize on the State’s Marketing Programs

Are you getting the most from Connecticut’s tourism marketing programs? Are you missing opportunities to get a business boost? In this session, you’ll discover State marketing support you may not know about. Make sure you’re taking advantage of every possible way to advance your plans, getting vigorous help from DECD specialists.

2:00 – 3:00

SESSION 2 WORKSHOPS

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Imaginative Pairings: Partnering Opportunities That Pop!

Cross-promotions, special events, unique packages…how many ways can your business pair up with new partners to enrich your offerings? Experts lead a workshop that will share proven principles and the latest trends in partnership promotions. Hear from peers who've seen the power of creative partnerships — especially on their sales. You'll get ideas that will fire up your creativity — and meet partners who will help bring it to life.

Kelly McDonald, Nationally Renowned Consumer Marketing Expert

The GPS for LGBTQ Business

What are LGBTQ visitors looking for in a travel experience? How can you be sensitive to unique needs? This fast-growing segment of the tourism population can be a great source of business. Learn the best ways to reach, engage and welcome LGBTQ travelers — and how to avoid messages that are turnoffs.

Lucas Grindley, President, Pride Media & Editor in Chief, The Advocate

Keeping It Real: How to Create Authentic Experiences

Travelers today, especially Millennials, are looking beyond traditional tourism. They want to live like the locals: savoring experiences that plunge them into the customs, pastimes, food, and fun of their destination. Our panel will share tips on raising the authenticity bar for your guests — and opening up new income streams for your business.

Erin Levi, Global Travel Specialist, kimkim, Inc.

Jim Keenan, Founder, Twist Brandraising

Karen Reddington-Hughes, Chairman, Woodbury Business and Economic Development Committee

Social Media 2.0: How to Get the Results You're Missing

Not for beginners: If you're already on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, learn how to take your initiatives to a higher level. This session is specifically designed for social media practitioners who've been wondering: How do we get more kick for our clicks? Learn the strategies and tactics that go beyond the basics to maximize your results.

Collin Kennedy, Senior Marketing Manager, Two Roads Brewing Co

Adam Cilley, Social Media & Analytics Manager, Mystic Aquarium

3:15 – 4:15

SESSION 3 WORKSHOPS

A Master Class in Smartphone Photography

"Your smartphone took that?!" Learn the tips and tricks to amazing photos and videos to market your business — all taken on a smartphone. Bring yours to this hands-on workshop. You'll come away with new skills. See how to take mind-blowing images that make tourists take notice — without blowing away your budget.

Julie Stauffer, Professional Photographer

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Customer Service: Enriching the Moments That Matter

Little things can mean everything to a guest. Often, the smallest interaction can be the shining moment in a visitor’s travel experience — and whether it’s a rosy glow or a dark cloud depends on your staff. How can they enrich every encounter with customers? How can they turn negative moments into positives? This session will reveal meaningful ways to make every touch point an opportunity to win the hearts of your visitors.

Eugene Brennan, Training Specialist, Foxwoods Resort Casino

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The Rules of Attraction for Cities and Towns

Connecticut cities and towns are using imagination and outside-the-box thinking to drive tourist traffic. Our panel of economic development specialists will show you how you can turn your town into a true destination.


Tim Good, President, Kent Chamber of Commerce


Delphi Very, Executive Director, Putnam Economic & Community Development

Kim Knox Beckius, Contributing Editor, Yankee Magazine

Courtney Hendricson, Vice President of Municipal Services, CERC

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Back by Popular Demand — Cvent 2.0

An educational session designed to help propel your group business strategy with discussions of new features and best practices, customizable data points, and how to leverage the Cvent tool.

Rona Wall, Regional Account Manager, Hospitality C

Reception Sponsored by:

Foxwoods

4:15 - 5:00

NETWORKING RECEPTION/EXHIBITOR SHOWCASE