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Saturday, August 6
TIME & LOCATION SESSION
11:00am to 4:00pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Welsh Lobby
Other
11:00 am to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Welsh Lobby
Other
11:00am to 4:00pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Other
11:00 am to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Other
Sponsored by Simpleview

Currently celebrating 10 years as the reigning Beer City USA titleholder, Grand Rapids has also been voted America’s Best Beer City, Beer Scene and Beer Town in national polls. We’ll visit Founders Brewing Company, the brewery that pioneered the city’s modern-day beer reputation, to explore the Founders story – and the many ways we boost tourism through beer. Includes beer tastings.  Transportation provided.

1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Networking
Sponsored by Simpleview

There haven’t been any actual rapids in the Grand River that flows through downtown Grand Rapids in over 100 years. Learn about the community’s project to restore the river, return the rapids to Grand Rapids, and how a destination asset study and community collaboration is helping broaden support for this effort to enhance the natural, cultural, and commercial appeal of downtown’s riverfront. Includes a walking tour of the riverbanks and a cool craft beverage following the tour.

 

1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Networking
Sponsored by Simpleview

The 1969 installation of a massive Alexander Calder sculpture in downtown Grand Rapids jumpstarted a vibrant public art program that eventually led to the creation of ArtPrize® – the most attended public art event in the world, held in downtown Grand Rapids every other year. Take an exclusive guided walking tour featuring ArtPrize pieces that remain in downtown to learn how art put Grand Rapids on the global map. Afterwards, enjoy a beverage (on us!) at a local downtown spot for an art-filled recap.

 

1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Networking
1:30 pm to 5:00 pm
Amway Grand Plaza
Imperial Ballroom
Closed Meeting
Sunday, August 7
TIME & LOCATION SESSION
7:00 am to 9:30 am
Amway Grand Plaza
Ford Presidential Boardroom
Closed Meeting
8:30am to 11:00am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Overlook Level Lobby
Other

ESTO gives back to the communities we visit. This year, ESTO registrants will create literacy kits for youngsters in the Grand Rapids community. Did you know 1 in 6 children who were not reading proficiently in third grade did not graduate from high school on time?  As these children progress to adulthood, they are more likely to be unemployed or earn below the poverty level. Additionally, the link between low literacy and crime is undisputed.   Nearly 85% of delinquent children and 75% of adult prison inmates are functionally illiterate. Reading at grade level by the end of third grade is therefore critical to the success of children and the community. ESTO volunteers will be supporting the important work of the Community Literacy Initiative in cooperation with the Heart of West Michigan United Way.

Join your ESTO colleagues in doing something meaningful for the Grand Rapids community all while enjoying the comradery ESTO is known for. Kick off your ESTO 2022 Sunday morning at ESTO Cares, at the Convention Center.  

Grab your ticket now and let's all do out part.

8:30 am to 11:00 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Overlook Level Lobby
Other
8:30am to 5:30pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Welsh Lobby
Other
8:30 am to 5:30 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Welsh Lobby
Other
8:30am to 5:30pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Other
8:30 am to 5:30 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Other
11:00am to 12:30pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom CD
Other
11:00 am to 12:30 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom CD
Other
12:30pm to 2:00pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Other
12:30 pm to 2:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Other
2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Peer Open Forum
2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
River Overlook EF
Peer Open Forum
2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
River Overlook AB
Peer Open Forum
2:30pm to 4:00pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook EF
Peer Open Forum

An informal, interactive and informative discussion on current issues, challenges and opportunities. Topics include industry headwinds such as workforce, inflation, diversity, equity and inclusion as well as opportunity areas for industry growth such as engaging local community and resident stakeholders.

2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook EF
Peer Open Forum
2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom C
Peer Open Forum
2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom D
Peer Open Forum
2:30pm to 4:00pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook CD
Peer Open Forum
2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook CD
Peer Open Forum
2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery DEF
Peer Open Forum
2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery ABC
Peer Open Forum
Brand Marketing
2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
River Overlook CD
Peer Open Forum
Brand Marketing
2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook GH
Peer Open Forum
4:10 pm to 4:30 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Secchia Lobby
Break
Sponsored by Destination Analysts

Join us as we explore what the future may hold, as forecasted by industry “futurists” behind the latest “Future Of” report commissioned by Delaware North: The Future of Recreation, Travel and Hospitality (FORTH). Brandon Presser, a noted travel writer, author, TV host and executive editor of FORTH, will provide an overview of the report and join in a panel discussion with Jerry Jacobs, Jr., CEO of Delaware North, and Amir Eylon, President and CEO of Longwoods International, followed by audience questions and discussion.

5:00 pm to 6:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom A-B
Keynote
6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Gillette Bridge
Networking
8:00 pm to 11:30 pm
Amway Grand Plaza
Rendezvous Lobby Bar
Networking
Monday, August 8
TIME & LOCATION SESSION
7:00am to 4:00pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Other
7:00 am to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Other
7:45 am to 8:30 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
Networking
8:30am to 9:00am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
General Session
8:30 am to 9:00 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
General Session
Sponsored by Matador Network

CREATE THE FUTURE in TOURISM - You are about to enter the greatest window of opportunity in your tourism career. So what great potential lies so close within your grasp? Post-pandemic, people make up for lost time, tourism habits change, and we end up in a period of chaos and opportunity that has a remarkable impact on your tourism destination. In this high energy keynote, New York Times Bestselling author Jeremy Gutsche will walk you through seven tactics of disruptive thinking, designed to help you win in times of chaos, and overlay how these play out in multiple scenarios of the post-pandemic tourism future.

9:00 am to 10:00 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
Keynote
10:00 am to 10:20 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Secchia Lobby
Break
10:00am to 4:00pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Welsh Lobby
Other
10:00 am to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Welsh Lobby
Other
Data & Insights

Unless you apply your data and insights to actual outcomes for your community, you’re just looking at bar charts and pie graphs. Destinations now have the opportunity to utilize real time insights from events, movements and spending for the betterment of the community, the improved experience for the visitor and the transformation of the organization. If these tools are available, which DMOs are using them the best?

This session will have destinations tell their story about completely new insights and how they evolved the DMO and created outcomes for the residents, the visitors and their stakeholders.

10:30 am to 11:30 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
River Overlook CD
Concurrent Session
Data & Insights
Brand Marketing

Generation Z is already significantly influencing the travel industry through their preferences and spending habits—and there’s an even bigger wave to come. Shaina Zafar (Gen Z), Chief Marketing Officer of JUV Consulting, in conversation with Matthew Landkamer (Gen X) of Whereabout, will share data and insights into this values-driven and highly engaged generation.

10:30 am to 11:30 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery DEF
Concurrent Session
Brand Marketing
PR/Communications

There was a time when a reporter’s job was to seek out the facts of a story without consideration of personal opinion. That ethic to be fair and balanced is being replaced today by click-bait conjecture and “advocacy journalism”. It could be argued that we’ve entered the “fake news” era. The result is a marketplace lacking trusted information sources and full of skeptical consumers. In this session, communications strategist Maury Giles and veteran destination marketer David Lorenz will chart ways to break through the clutter of ill-informed and ill-intentioned “fake news” that too often unfairly damage the reputation of a destination. We will discuss marketing and communications strategies to get ahead of the issue before it happens and to respond to the impact afterward. Attendees will be invited to share issues and seek out advice.

10:30 am to 11:30 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery ABC
Concurrent Session
PR/Communications
10:30 am to 11:30 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook CD
State Tourism Staff
Brand Marketing

The pandemic has accelerated the importance of re-evaluating your KPIs in terms of community value. Join this panel of experts representing destinations that have been going through the process over the years, learn from them what they have found along the journey and what successes and challenges they have met along the way.

10:30 am to 11:30 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
River Overlook AB
Concurrent Session
Brand Marketing

From county government to destination marketing organizations to private sector businesses, there's a long list of stakeholders that play a crucial role in the success of the state's tourism industry. As the state tourism office, it is our mission to market the destinations and attractions our stakeholders represent; however, maintaining relationships, creating opportunities for collaboration, and "fairly" promoting the numerous tourism products can be challenging.
Learn how to leverage social media, co-op marketing, and international/domestic sales to manage expectations and prove the value of the state tourism office.

10:30 am to 11:30 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook EF
State Tourism Staff
Sponsored by MMGY Global

We've all had to become experts at pivoting with change these past few years, and that's why it's critical to develop plans for an unknown future. That means not just succeeding in challenging environments, but also capturing what's been working. In this multi-session program, Shawn will lead a discussion among DMO executives on their chief challenges and explain how to build a strategic plan that not only holds team members accountable but also pivots when change enters the picture.

10:30 am to 12:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook AB
CEO
11:45am to 12:45pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery and Secchia Lobby, Riverwalk and Ballroom Veranda
Networking
11:45 am to 12:45 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery and Secchia Lobby, Riverwalk and Ballroom Veranda
Networking
12:50pm to 1:30pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
General Session
Sponsored by AJR Media

Remarks by President and CEO of Brand USA, Chris Thompson and Tripadvisor. 

12:50 pm to 1:30 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
General Session
Sponsored by AJR Media

One of the reasons why we are experiencing a mental health crisis is due to the fact that we all put so much pressure on ourselves to "put on a happy face", be positive, or give the impression that we have it all together. But what we fail to realize is that "happiness" actually SHOULDN'T be the end goal, and in fact, the constant pursuit of happiness can lead to unhappiness. In this session, Danielle will address the difference between what it means to be truly thriving vs. simply being happy. And she will talk about ways we can create space for our own humanity and all the emotions that are associated with an authentically fulfilling life.

1:30 pm to 2:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
General Session
2:40 pm to 3:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Secchia Lobby
Break
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook AB
CEO
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Brand Marketing
3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery ABC
Concurrent Session
Brand Marketing
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

We know that diversity, equity, and inclusion is an important and necessary part of an organizations growth strategy, but most destinations do not know where or how to get started. This interactive session will answer the question, “What if my destination is not very diverse?” and will provide participants with strategic ways to begin their EDI roadmap in an authentic manner that aligns with company culture, community values, and the visitor experience. Participants will also learn the critical components of developing a 3-year EDI strategy, how to get started, and critical conversations that need to take place to develop a sustainable EDI strategy.

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery DEF
Concurrent Session
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Data & Insights

We all know research is an indispensable tool, but do we always know the best tactics to use at each stage of the consumer funnel? We know there are powerful KPIs to be shared with our teams and stakeholders, but how do we select the best ones for the job? Join two veteran Research Rockstars as they break down research best practices from the top of the funnel to the bottom.

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
River Overlook AB
Concurrent Session
Data & Insights
3:00pm to 4:00pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook CD
Concurrent Session
Data & Insights

Customer data comes in all shapes, sizes, and systems. There is first-party, second-party, third-party and the newest addition —zero-party data. With the demise of the third-party cookie mere months away, destinations must shift their data strategies in order to remain successful. In this session, we will hear from subject matter expert, Gray Lawry of Miles Partnership, and destination partners to hear how they leverage a diverse set of a data within their marketing mix. This session seeks to help attendees define and differentiate between zero-, first-, second-, and third-party data,; understand the limitations of first-party data and how to make it more useful by leveraging second- and third-party data providers; and provide tips for increasing the volume of first-party data within a DMO’s tool kit.

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook CD
Concurrent Session
Data & Insights
Sponsored by MMGY Global

Wellbeing, A New Performance Metric: Happy, thriving, engaged employees are the key to sustainable business growth. And therefore, it's crucial that your organization understands what wellbeing means and how to measure it. Thriving employees leads to optimal performance.

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook EF
CEO
8:00 pm to 11:30 pm
Amway Grand Plaza
Rendezvous Lobby Bar
Networking
Tuesday, August 9
TIME & LOCATION SESSION
7:30am to 2:00pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Other
7:30 am to 2:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Other
8:15 am to 9:00 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
Networking
Sponsored by Crowdriff

Regardless of which research we subscribe to; the outlook is bleak: employees coast-to-coast are transitioning jobs at rates we haven’t seen since the Vietnam War. And while many of us think this is a threat to our workplace culture and organizational success, the truth is that the opportunity has never been greater to establish a one-of-a-kind culture that attracts and keeps an incredible team. Instead of calling it ‘The Great Resignation’, perhaps it should be called ‘The Great Reconfiguration’. After all, people aren’t leaving the workforce, they’re aligning with a lifestyle that suits them. This is where the secret to building great teams lies. 

In this head-scratching, insight-filled, and unexpectedly funny keynote, workplace culture and future of work expert Eric Termuende takes us on a journey filled with out-of-the-box ideas that are budget-free and immediately actionable as we work to not just survive ‘The Great Resignation’ but thrive through it. Just because there is a national talent shortage, doesn’t mean our team has to have one too.

 

In this presentation, attendees will learn:

  • What it means to ‘plant your flag’ and how to do it
  • How to tell a better story to attract top talent
  • Why the best defense is a good offense and how to retain your best people
  • Where your best recruiters are (hint* they’re closer than you think) and how to give them the free tools they need to build the team
  • What cilantro teaches us about workplace culture and attracting top talent
9:00 am to 10:00 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
Keynote
10:00 am to 10:20 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Secchia Lobby
Break
Brand Marketing
10:30 am to 11:30 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
River Overlook AB
Concurrent Session
Brand Marketing
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
10:30 am to 11:30 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook CD
State Tourism Staff
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Brand Marketing

Generation Z is already significantly influencing the travel industry through their preferences and spending habits—and there’s an even bigger wave to come. Shaina Zafar (Gen Z), Chief Marketing Officer of JUV Consulting, in conversation with Matthew Landkamer (Gen X) of Whereabout, will share data and insights into this values-driven and highly engaged generation.

10:30 am to 11:30 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
River Overlook CD
Concurrent Session
Brand Marketing

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, travelers sought out safe experiences at parks, trails, lakes and rivers, small town Main Streets and wide-open spaces. Hear from states that developed digital tools using Bandwango to draw visitors to rural locations, incentivize visits to off-the-beaten path destinations and their plans for keeping the momentum going for rural tourism.

10:30 am to 11:30 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook EF
State Tourism Staff
Brand Marketing
10:30 am to 11:30 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery ABC
Concurrent Session
Brand Marketing
Sponsored by MMGY Global

We've all had to become experts at pivoting with change these past few years, and that's why it's critical to develop plans for an unknown future. That means not just succeeding in challenging environments, but also capturing what's been working. In this multi-session program, Shawn will lead a discussion among DMO executives on their chief challenges and explain how to build a strategic plan that not only holds team members accountable but also pivots when change enters the picture.

10:30 am to 12:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook AB
CEO
12:15pm to 1:15pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
Networking
12:15 pm to 1:15 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
Networking
Presented and Sponsored by Expedia Group Media Solutions

In a celebration of creativity and innovation in travel marketing, this session pays homage to the ever-popular reality show, Shark Tank. You’ll hear from some of the brightest minds from DMOs large and small as they pitch their next great marketing campaign to four destination marketing experts: the travel “Sharks.”  

 Like entrepreneurs featured on the original show, these destination marketers will have only a few minutes to pitch their campaign strategies to the Sharks before they’re put on the spot to answer questions and defend their ideas. In the end, each Shark can only pick one DMO to back. Who will get an “offer,” and who will leave the tank empty handed?  

 Join to hear how your peers are thinking about crafting their destination’s next great campaign–free from heavy editing and scripted drama. 

1:15 pm to 2:30 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
General Session
2:30 pm to 2:50 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Secchia Lobby
Break
Sponsored by MMGY Global

The workplace of the future is either something we can wait for or intentionally design. In this session, leaders from all corners of the country will discover and create best practices regarding workforce development and share their experiences and learning with respect to talent attraction, remote/hybrid working leadership, and engagement. Facilitated by workplace expert Eric Termuende, this session will be full of conversation, debate, and discussion and we understand regional nuances, generational trends, and where our teams get their best work done.

Together, we’ll discuss:

  • Where our people will be working in the year to come 
  • How to lead/manage remote teams 
  • New strategies to attract top talent 
  • Significant personnel changes over the past two years, what worked and what didn’t 
  • How burnout has been mitigated/managed
3:30 pm to 4:30 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook CD
CEO
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Destinations of all sizes and geographies are recognizing the importance of integrating EDI principles into all aspects of their organization. This conversational session will use examples from a wide range of destination organizations to showcase how they authentically incorporate EDI practices into meetings and events, marketing, internal operations, and community engagement activities. We will explore how these destinations started the initiatives, their decision-making process, how they measure success, and how they navigated challenges along the way. These best practices will provide participants with ideas on how to adapt, measure, and implement inclusive strategies into their destination organization.

3:30 pm to 4:30 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery DEF
Concurrent Session
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Data & Insights

Unless you apply your data and insights to actual outcomes for your community, you’re just looking at bar charts and pie graphs. Destinations now have the opportunity to utilize real time insights from events, movement and spend for the betterment of the community, the improved experience for the visitor and transformation of the organization. If these tools are available, which DMOs are using them the best?

This session will have destinations tell their story about completely new insights and how they evolved the DMO and created outcomes for the residents, the visitors and their stakeholders.

3:30 pm to 4:30 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
River Overlook EF
Concurrent Session
Data & Insights
3:30pm to 4:30pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery ABC
Concurrent Session
Brand Marketing

No longer just dance trends for Gen Z, TikTok has quickly grown to become an addictively watchable, creative, and vibrant space where creators and brands reach an increasingly diverse audience. Destinations need to be part of the conversation.

3:30 pm to 4:30 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery ABC
Concurrent Session
Brand Marketing
Marketing Technology

A DMO’s website is one of the most important points of contact between a destination and its visitors. The website is an essential and impactful marketing tool. It’s imperative for DMO’s to incorporate research on user behavior, SEO best practices and functional (but creative) design principles when re-designing or building their website. Learn from a panel of experts on all three of these topics and find out how they are all fundamental for the future of DMO websites.

3:30 pm to 4:30 pm
River Overlook AB
Concurrent Session
Marketing Technology
6:30 pm to 7:15 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Secchia Lobby
Networking
7:15 pm to 9:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
Other