In February the ESTO planning team took up the challenge of planning a conference about destination marketing in a cloud of uncertainty about travel. No small feat.
While this committee of DMO leaders, industry partners and research experts met screen-to-screen, the world quickly started re-opening around them. It became clear that the conference would need to focus on how to deal with the future and not rehash the last year, the most disruptive to travel and tourism in decades.
“This is going to be an incredible time for DMOs when we convene in Los Angeles. Putting it together mirrored what’s happening in city and state tourism offices across the country -- learning and adapting quickly under changing conditions,” said Nan Marchand Beauvois, senior vice president at U.S. Travel and general manager of ESTO.
The result: A slate of sessions full of valuable marketing insights that ESTO-goers have come to expect now girded with a focus on the industry’s recovery and long-term growth from a generation-defining pandemic.
We are confident attendees will enjoy a wide range of topics from the Peer Open Forums, mainstage presentations to the concurrent sessions that will influence their marketing strategies and help their destination rebound and grow.
This is a must-attend year. The 2021 session topics -- shaped by an incredible planning committee from across the country -- stem from destination marketing themes shaped by one of the most momentous years in our industry.
Data and Insights
Throughout the pandemic, industry partners and research providers have generously shared critical data and insights with the industry, including resident and visitor sentiment reports, travel volume trends, recovery indicators, and more. But where do we go from here? ESTO attendees can expect to learn more about data and insights for recovery and long-term growth and how to use data to inform marketing campaigns.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
The travel industry has a unique opportunity to establish a welcoming environment for visitors and residents alike. ESTO attendees will hear from destinations that have launched successful programs in diversity, equity and inclusion and learn tips for ensuring meaningful representation in marketing and advertising.
During the pandemic, destinations pivoted to support public health messaging that was directed at residents. As the world begins to travel again, what is the future of a destination’s brand? You can expect to hear from subject-matter experts and peers on how to re-establish or build destination identity and reputation.
As travel picks back up, how can destinations help inspire travelers and residents to embrace their local communities, reduce environmental impacts and honor local resources? You will hear from subject matter experts on how to ensure a robust and sustainable future for your destination.
The above themes as well as international booking trends, media and communications, destination funding models and more are helping to guide the ESTO 2021 planning process. We are confident attendees will walk away from each session with tangible takeaways that will positively influence their marketing strategies. We can’t wait to see you in L.A.!