Agenda

The Indiana Tourism Conference agenda is subject to change. 




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MondayMarch 11th, 2024
1:00 PM3:15 PM
Indiana Tourism Academy Presentations (Invitation Only)
Description

Indiana Tourism Academy Graduates will present their final project to the Indiana Tourism Association Board. 

3:45 PM5:30 PM
ITA Workshop I - Branding and Marketing
Description

Join Oswald Digital Marketing for an immersive experience where you'll dive into the art of crafting a compelling brand identity. From creating eye-catching creative to mapping out both organic and paid strategies, this workshop is a unique blend of information and hands-on practice. Don't just learn about branding – bring it to life and back to your community!

Speakers Fred McCool, Maggie Miller, Jayne Minick
3:45 PM5:30 PM
ITA Workshop II - GA4
Description

Join a Simpleview expert for a comprehensive conversation about Google Analytics 4 (GA4). This session will demystify GA4’s key features and provide an introduction tailored to beginners. Designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to get started with GA4, don't miss this opportunity to dive into the new metrics — like session count, engaged sessions, engagement rate and more — and learn how to communicate these features to your DMO team and partners.

Speakers Zach Brown
6:30 PM9:30 PM
Opening Reception
Description

Enjoy the complimentary opening reception at Comfort on Main Street in downtown Evansville. This unique, historic building in the heart of downtown will come to life with live music paired with a taste of Evansville's delicious food scene. Don't miss this opportunity to dance, dine, and network with your colleagues!  

This event is free but requires registration.

TuesdayMarch 12th, 2024
7:30 AM8:30 AM
7:45 AM8:30 AM
7:45 AM8:30 AM
8:30 AM9:30 AM
Keynote Session - Indiana Miracles
Description

Join lifelong Hoosier and award-winning author Philip Gulley as he shares how he has found beauty in the ordinary around Indiana. Through his years of traveling, speaking and writing, Philip's storytelling will charm attendees as he describes the everyday miracles he's encountered in our state.

Speakers Philip Gulley
9:50 AM10:40 AM
Session I - History of Tourism
Description

Join this discussion that covers innkeepers tax collection, history of Indiana tourism on a statewide level and covers the alphabet soup of the industry.   

Speakers Carrie Lambert, Jaime Bohler Smith
9:50 AM10:40 AM
Session II - Publication Panel
Description

Attendees will hear from the editors at Cincinatti Magazine, Indianapolis Monthly, Travel IN and Evansville Living. Each publication will discuss their perspectives on story pitches, deadlines and advertising.  

Speakers John Fox, Andrea Ratcliff, Stephanie Nicol, Josh Duke, Todd Tucker
9:50 AM10:40 AM
Session III - How to Win More First Time Visitors
Description

First time visitors don’t think in destinations first, they think in personal interests first. Learn to talk in the language that entices a first-time visitor to your destination.

After years of talking to 10,000 travelers per year in a mobile visitors center Josiah Brown, or the New York Sherpa as he is called, has learned how to “Sherpa” interested travelers into new destinations. Find out what words, images and stories travelers respond to and how to position your destination to benefit from first time customers.

Speakers Josiah Brown
10:45 AM11:40 AM
Session I - Brand Management and Reputation
Description

When it comes to brand and reputation management today, there seem to be more questions than answers. Pack your bags for a journey with Sam Rufo, President of nxtConcepts as she unveils the art and science behind successful brand and reputation management. Find out what not to do in a crisis. See best practices from brands that have built strong reputations by delivering on their brand promise and by engaging with their customers in meaningful ways. Finally, find out what the future holds and how to be prepared.

Speakers Samantha Rufo
10:45 AM11:40 AM
Session II - Add Some Flair to Your Events Marketing
Description

When you promote the same local festivals & special events year in and year out, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut! How can you freshen up your event marketing and entice new leisure travelers? Say goodbye to the same old same old. Leverage your special events in a new way, reach new audiences and welcome visitors to your destination in a way that will keep them coming back.

Speakers Jocelyn Vare
10:45 AM11:40 AM
Session III - Sales Roundtable
Description

Designed for ITA colleagues to network and learn from one another on the topic of sales.  

11:40 AM1:15 PM
Lunch - Sponsored by IN Indiana
Description

Hear an update from Indiana Destination Development Corporation's Secretary and CEO, Elaine Bedel.

1:15 PM2:05 PM
Session I - First & Main: The Intersection of Public Art, Tourism and Economic Development
Description

The Putnam County Mural Project’s (PCMP) first outcome, in 2019, was Indiana’s largest mural. Six murals and a mural fest later, the rural county has made public art one of its main tourism and economic development drivers. The team’s latest partnership with the Indiana Arts Commission produced an 86-page guide on “Strategies for Public Art.” Join PCMP Committee Member Alexandra Chamberlain, and Putnam County Tourism Director Eric Freeman, to discuss how public art can be an accessible asset for your community too!

Speakers Alexandra Chamberlain, Eric Freeman
1:15 PM2:05 PM
Session II - Fostering a Compassionate Culture through Relational Human Resources
Description

This session will introduce leaders to strategies and best practices that cultivate a compassionate Organization team and culture that fosters professionalism and productivity.

Speakers Jennifer Johnson
1:15 PM2:05 PM
Session III - Research Roundtable - Sponsored by Tourism Economics
Description

Designed for ITA colleagues to network and learn from one another on the topic of research.  

1:15 PM2:05 PM
Session IV - Public Relations Roundtable
Description

Designed for ITA colleagues to network and learn from one another on the topic of public relations. Speaker Sam Rufo (from the Brand Management and Reputation Session) will join the discussion.

2:05 PM2:20 PM
2:20 PM3:15 PM
General Session - Can Indiana’s Travel Industry Defy Economic Gravity?
Description

Both leisure and business travel have rebounded with impressive strength over the past year. However, recession tremors and persistent inflation loom large and threaten the continued recovery of travel. Zeek Coleman will share Tourism Economics’ latest views on the economy, the mindset of travelers, and expectations for the evolution of travel in the US and Indiana.

Speakers Zeek Coleman
3:35 PM4:25 PM
Session I - The Art of Speaking, Actually Speaking, Advocacy
Description

Destination marketing organization’s budgets are either “being attacked” or “about to be attacked”. We can’t just tell our story, now we have to sell our story. To move people you must be able to move them emotionally and be a compelling, reasonable and educated voice. Learn skills on effectively speaking as well as how to craft the message that you are bringing. This session will bring DI’s Tourism Lexicon alive while training you to think and perform like a professional speaker.

Speakers Josiah Brown
3:35 PM4:25 PM
Session II - Q&A with Small Meeting Planners
Description

Attendees will get the opportunity to hear from Indiana association meeting planners on what they are looking for, challenges they are facing and ways local tourism entities can work together with them. These meetings planners focus on events for less than #300 attendees and prioritize Indiana destinations.

Speakers Grant Carpenter, Shelli Williams, Shaun Ballard, Lane Velayo
3:35 PM4:25 PM
Session III - Attractions Roundtable
Description

Designed for ITA colleagues to network and learn from one another on the topic of attractions.  

4:30 PM5:00 PM
Advocacy Update
Description

Legislative update with Advocacy Chair, Jim Epperson, SoIN Tourism.

6:00 PM7:00 AM
7:00 PM9:00 PM
WednesdayMarch 13th, 2024
8:00 AM9:00 AM
Breakfast
Description

Breakfast for all attendees and optional roundtable discussion for communities in the path of the total solar eclipse. 

8:00 AM9:00 AM
Breakfast Eclipse Roundtable
Description

Join colleagues from around the state to share plans for the 2024 eclipse.

9:00 AM10:00 AM
INnovators- Indiana's Impactful Individuals
Description

Come learn from true innovators in our state as they share about how they have worked in their community to foster growth, partnership and collaborations. 

Speakers Ryan Weaver, Pat Koch, Brenda Myers
10:00 AM10:15 AM
10:15 AM11:15 AM
Session I - Marketing Panel of Our People
Description

Digital platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are an integral part of the marketing landscape in the tourism industry.  Hear from content creators at DMOs and attractions across Indiana about everything from content planning to video production and simple tips that can help you maximize your efforts on these important channels. 

Speakers Kyle Johnson, Jake Brown, Biz Bishop, Katie Utken
10:15 AM11:15 AM
Session II - The Ins and Outs of Festival and Event Planning
Description

Events are essential to every destination. Hear from attractions, festival organizers and DMOs who each spearhead their own events. From planning to marketing to execution, attendees will hear the successes and challenges events bring.

Speakers Brandon McClish, Douglas Weisheit, Rachael Ackley, Blake Shockley
10:15 AM11:15 AM
Session III - Executive Staff Roundtable
Description

Designed for organizations' executive staff to network and learn from one another. Speaker Jennifer Johnson (from Compassionate HR session) will join the conversation.

11:15 AM12:30 PM

Speakers

To see the list of speakers at the conference, please check out the Speakers page!

Sponsors

    Tuesday Full Day Sponsor
    Host City Sponsor
    Wednesday Lunch Sponsor
    General Session Sponsor
    Supporting Sponsor
    Conference Bag Sponsor
    Vendor Booth
  • Indiana State Festivals Association
  • Simpleview Inc.
  • Oswald Marketing
  • Indiana Arts Commission
  • Indiana Destination Development Corporation
  • Travel Indiana Magazine
  • Ohio Magazine/Long Weekends
  • TwoSix Digital
  • Tripscout
  • Advance Travel & Tourism
  • Tucker Publishing Group
  • Pulse Marketing
  • Indiana University Indianapolis
    Friend Sponsor
  • Market Street Group
  • Bookkeeping Plus, Inc.
  • Taylor Trusty