Skip to main content

GRAND RAPIDS

TAKE A LOOK AT THIS YEAR'S PROGRAM

PLEASE NOTE: We ask that all ESTO sponsors refrain from attending the DMO Hot Topics session and peer open forums to foster an environment of collaboration for staff from DMOs and state tourism offices. Thanks for your understanding!

Reset All
Print Friendly and PDF
Saturday, August 6
TIME & LOCATION What’s on Tap
Sponsored by Waymack and Crew

The Destiny and Mercury Awards Lounge makes its fourth-annual return for you to take a look at each finalist's submissions, media files, and judges' comments. Stop by the lounge, located in the Grand Gallery Foyer, to view the top three finalists from each category in the digital gallery. Award winners will be announced on Tuesday, August 9 at ESTO's Awards Dinner and Presentation. 

The ESTO Awards enable states and destinations to showcase their creative accomplishments and foster the continued development of imaginative marketing and profitable promotional programs and campaigns in destination marketing. The Destinations Council's Destiny Awards recognize marketing and promotion at the city, local and regional level. The National Council of State Tourism Directors' Mercury Awards recognize state and territory destination marketing and promotion.

11:00 am to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Other

Experience Grand Rapids invites ESTO attendees to join in celebrating the 10th anniversary of Grand Rapids winning the Beer City USA title. Visit the Grand Rapids Beer Garden in DeVos Place Convention Center on Saturday, August 6, Sunday, August 7, and Monday, August 8 for the debut of Pure Michigan Pils, a pilsner beer brewed exclusively for ESTO 2022 by Grand Rapids’ Harmony Brewing Company.

• Malamiah Juice - 8:30am -11am
• Pure Michigan Pils beer - 11am - 5pm

Enjoy live music – and get a free, limited-edition Beer City USA t-shirt as a souvenir.
Get a free, limited-edition Beer City USA t-shirt as a souvenir.

11:00 am to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Other

Pack Elephant, presented by Experience Grand Rapids, will host a pop-up shop experience featuring a unique collection of handmade and small batch products all made by Michigan’s popular, business and artisan makers. ESTO attendees will have the opportunity to purchase these items at the conference or have them shipped home.

The pop-up shop will be open at various hours during the conference:

  • Saturday from 11am - 4:00pm
  • Sunday, 10am - 5:30pm
  • Monday10am - 4:00pm.

Make a BIG impact by supporting Michigan makers from diverse backgrounds.

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
Pre-Registration Required Here

PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED 
Registration closes on July 22. Secure your spot by registering here.

Beer City USA - Crafting a Destination Brand
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.

Read more on what to expect in our blog post!

1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Off-Site, Check-in: Grand Gallery Lobby
Other
Sponsored by Simpleview
Pre-Registration Required Here

PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED
Registration closes on July 22. Secure your spot by registering here.

The Grand River – Restoring the Rapids
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.

Read more on what to expect in our blog post!

1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Off-Site, Check-in: Grand Gallery Lobby
Other
Sponsored by Simpleview
Pre-Registration Required Here

PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED 
Registration closes on July 22. Secure your spot by registering here.

The Power of Art – Creating a Scene
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.

Read more on what to expect in our blog post!

1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Off-Site, Check-in: Grand Gallery Lobby
Other
Sponsored by Simpleview
Pre-Registration Required Here

PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED 
Registration closes on July 22. Secure your spot by registering here.

Beer City USA - Crafting a Destination Brand
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.

Read more on what to expect in our blog post!

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Off-Site, Check-in: Grand Gallery Lobby
Other
Sunday, August 7
TIME & LOCATION What’s on Tap
8:00am to 11:00am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Overlook Level Lobby, Registration Required
Other
Register Here

Coffee and donuts will be served at 8:00 am. Experience Grand Rapids will also be hosting bloody marys and mimosas for ESTO Cares attendees. ESTO Cares project will begin at 8:30 am.

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. 

Register here.

8:00 am to 11:00 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Overlook Level Lobby, Registration Required
Other

Experience Grand Rapids invites ESTO attendees to join in celebrating the 10th anniversary of Grand Rapids winning the Beer City USA title. Visit the Grand Rapids Beer Garden in DeVos Place Convention Center on Saturday, August 6, Sunday, August 7, and Monday, August 8 for the debut of Pure Michigan Pils, a pilsner beer brewed exclusively for ESTO 2022 by Grand Rapids’ Harmony Brewing Company.

  • Malamiah Juice -  8:30am -11am
  • Pure Michigan Pils beer - 11am - 5pm

Enjoy live music – and get a free, limited-edition Beer City USA t-shirt as a souvenir.

Get a free, limited-edition Beer City USA t-shirt as a souvenir.

8:30 am to 5:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Foyer
Other
Sponsored by Waymack and Crew

The Destiny and Mercury Awards Lounge makes its fifth-annual return for you to take a look at each finalist's submissions, media files, and judges' comments. Stop by the lounge, located in the Grand Gallery Foyer, to view the top three finalists from each category in the digital gallery. Award winners will be announced on Tuesday, August 9 at ESTO's Awards Dinner and Presentation. The ESTO Awards enable states and destinations to showcase their creative accomplishments and foster the continued development of imaginative marketing and profitable promotional programs and campaigns in destination marketing. The Destinations Council's Destiny Awards recognize marketing and promotion at the city, local and regional level. The National Council of State Tourism Directors' Mercury Awards recognize state and territory destination marketing and promotion.

8:30 am to 5:30 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery 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

Pack Elephant, presented by Experience Grand Rapids, will host a pop-up shop experience featuring a unique collection of handmade and small batch products all made by Michigan’s popular, business and artisan makers. ESTO attendees will have the opportunity to purchase these items at the conference or have them shipped home.

The pop-up shop will be open at various hours during the conference:

  • Saturday from 11am - 4:00pm
  • Sunday, 10am - 5:30pm
  • Monday10am - 4:00pm.

Make a BIG impact by supporting Michigan makers from diverse backgrounds.

10:00 am to 5:30 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Welsh Lobby
Other
Presented by Destinations Council
Sponsored by BVK

PLEASE NOTE: We ask that all ESTO sponsors refrain from attending the DMO Hot Topics session to foster an environment of collaboration for staff from DMOs and state tourism offices. Thanks for your understanding!

Join the hot topics discussion and learn how the Advisory Board is working on your behalf to address current issues.

  • Introducing the Website Metrics Dashboard – finally, a comparison tool to help analyze the performance of your website. The DMO Digital Performance Dashboard aims to help DMO marketers understand and create digital benchmarks for website performance and email marketing. This dashboard aggregates and helps synthesize data from participating DMOs across the country and across different platforms to establish true industry metrics for marketing activity. Participants are also able to break down the data by device usage and make data comparisons by region.
     
  • Talent Management: Retention and Acquisition – a discussion featuring practical solutions on how your DMO can be more competitive.

Don't forget - if you represent a city destination and your organization is a U.S. Travel Association member, that makes you a member of Destinations Council! Learn more here.

11:00 am to 12:30 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom CD
Other
Sponsored by Fuseideas

How do you take an overlooked Minnesota destination, featuring a very well-known medical clinic, and create a revitalized identity and brand strategy, to attract group sales and more? All while navigating large civic projects, competing agendas and “multiple stakeholders”? Join us and find out, as FUSEIDEAS’ Nick Landry takes us through the research, analysis and insights that took Rochester, MN from “Rah Rah Rochester” to “America’s City of Care and Innovation.”

The Solutions Hubs (formerly Innovation Hubs) offer 15-minute presentations that provide DMOs hands-on education and marketing insights. Attendees will have the opportunity to attend all six presentations in any order.

12:30 pm to 2:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Other
12:30 pm to 2:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Other
Sponsored by Madden Media

Guess who gets 50% more engagement and 1200% more shares than you? The Creator Economy. The good news, they can be our allies in building valuable audience connections. Learn how the creator economy is powering brand affinity and inspiration that takes consumers from a like to a visit IRL to your destination.

The Solutions Hubs (formerly Innovation Hubs) offer 15-minute presentations that provide DMOs hands-on education and marketing insights. Attendees will have the opportunity to attend all six presentations in any order.

12:30 pm to 2:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Other
Sponsored by Epsilon

Destination marketers are tasked with boosting visitation and driving local economic impact. With a crowded MarTech and AdTech landscape along with misleading KPIs, destination marketers need to not only justify spend and prove marketing impact, but also maximize digital media performance and drive real business outcomes for their destinations. Every Destination is unique and so are the visitors it attracts. A demand engine allows destinations to create travel demand and invite best visitors to have the largest impact on the local economy.

During this session, we’ll discuss how you can create a hyper-efficient, outcome-driven demand engine for your destinations that attracts the right visitors – all while proving that every dollar spent on marketing efforts yields positive economic impact. Additionally, we’ll dive deeper into the three fundamental demand stages.

Key learnings will include how to:

  • Acquire net new visitors
  • Identify hand raisers ready to travel in your consideration set
  • Maintain current share of vacation by retaining past/loyal visitors
  • Measure the direct, unmodeled impact for every dollar invested

The Solutions Hubs (formerly Innovation Hubs) offer 15-minute presentations that provide DMOs hands-on education and marketing insights. Attendees will have the opportunity to attend all six presentations in any order.

12:30 pm to 2:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Other
Sponsored by Nativo

In the new, uncharted era of travel: Good storytelling always prevails. Brand content has a tremendous impact. So why is it so hard to scale, measure and most importantly, draw insights from? In this session, Nativo’s Travel Team will explore the magic of combining the art of storytelling with the science of distribution technology and how destination marketers can use this technology to drive real, measurable impact in 2022 and beyond. You’ll walk away with a clearer (no fluff) understanding of why branded content is the ultimate consideration-building tool for destination marketers, how to scale and measure your existing content, and how to set up your content strategy to break through the competitive clutter for lasting ROI.

The Solutions Hubs (formerly Innovation Hubs) offer 15-minute presentations that provide DMOs hands-on education and marketing insights. Attendees will have the opportunity to attend all six presentations in any order.

12:30 pm to 2:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Other
Sponsored by ADARA

Sustainability is a global topic. The UN itself has outlined 17 Sustainability Development Goals. But how do we make it more practical…more than just theories and abstract ideas? Join us as Adara’s Zeek Coleman takes the conversation from the ivory tower to the board room, with common sense action items using travel data, credit card data and cookieless technology.

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
Beverages in POF Rooms
Break

Join us for an informal and informative conversation as we deconstruct what it means to advocate for the travel industry and hear how industry communications and grassroots play critical roles in furthering our industry narrative and policy agenda. Hear why it matters for travel organizations to engage local and state officials and the value in initiating and fostering relationships with your elected officials. Advocacy can seem complicated and like there’s its own set of rules…so come learn best practices for breaking through the noise, hear from your peers on what’s worked for them, learn about the resources that exist from U.S. Travel and discover how you can easily move from the advocacy sidelines to the playing field.

PLEASE NOTE: We ask that all ESTO sponsors refrain from attending the peer open forums to foster an environment of collaboration for staff from DMOs and state tourism offices. Thanks for your understanding!

2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook CD
Peer Open Forum

In today's complex tourism landscape, Destination Development activities are an increasingly important aspect of a destination marketing organization's (DMO) strategy. Destination Development is essential to fostering robust destinations that offer authentic, world-class experiences for all travelers, while preserving, enhancing, and celebrating local assets. Investments in this work are also critical to building awareness of the value of tourism within local communities and can be leveraged to retain and increase your funding. In this session, attendees will be encouraged to share strategies to successfully leverage Destination Development activities to strike a healthy balance of driving tourism, enhancing local quality of life, and protecting natural areas for years to come.

PLEASE NOTE: We ask that all ESTO sponsors refrain from attending the peer open forums to foster an environment of collaboration for staff from DMOs and state tourism offices. Thanks for your understanding!

2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
River Overlook EF
Peer Open Forum

If you would like to ensure that your organization is headed in the right direction, ESTO's travel trade Peer Open Forum is the place for you. During this structured yet informal session, we will discuss high-level issues, share successes, critique ideas related to the international and domestic travel trade, and provide insights from all levels of state and city, local and regional DMOs. This forum provides an exceptional platform to participate in focused discussions, build your network of industry advisers and broaden your educational scope. Learn from your peers, bring trends to the table for discussion, share your knowledge and find out what makes other trade sales and development teams tick.

PLEASE NOTE: We ask that all ESTO sponsors refrain from attending the peer open forums to foster an environment of collaboration for staff from DMOs and state tourism offices. Thanks for your understanding!

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 including 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.

PLEASE NOTE: We ask that all ESTO sponsors refrain from attending the peer open forums to foster an environment of collaboration for staff from DMOs and state tourism offices. Thanks for your understanding!

2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook EF
Peer Open Forum

2021 was a rough year for us all. In this session, we will talk about the challenges faced, critical pivots, budgeting in uncertain times, crisis communications and more. This peer open forum will mix group and open discussion to help us learn best practices from industry peers.

PLEASE NOTE: We ask that all ESTO sponsors refrain from attending the peer open forums to foster an environment of collaboration for staff from DMOs and state tourism offices. Thanks for your understanding!

2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom C
Peer Open Forum

The extraordinary challenges of the pandemic and the ongoing evolution of the DMO's role have changed how we market and advertise. As we enter into post-COVID campaigns and always-on approaches, you can’t just reuse the 2017 playbook. In this peer open forum, we will discuss the strategies and opportunities that are born of the challenges of the last few years allowing us to connect with consumers on a meaningful level. This peer open forum will be an interactive and engaging platform; come ready to engage and share your best ideas.

PLEASE NOTE: We ask that all ESTO sponsors refrain from attending the peer open forums to foster an environment of collaboration for staff from DMOs and state tourism offices. Thanks for your understanding!

2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom D
Peer Open Forum

Reconnect with public relations DMO pros – Travel is back! It is time to collaborate in person with your peers to tackle the biggest PR challenges facing DMOs. Join this group for a helpful and transparent conversation around today’s hottest PR topics – including a deeper dive into DEI, with an emphasis on accessibility inclusion in travel, working with content creators and sharing tips to maximize engagement, managing media outcomes and expectations with our stakeholders as more outlets come and go and learn the latest on measuring PR value.

PLEASE NOTE: We ask that all ESTO sponsors refrain from attending the peer open forums to foster an environment of collaboration for staff from DMOs and state tourism offices. Thanks for your understanding!

2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery DEF
Peer Open Forum

During the pandemic and now into recovery, our overall PR/communications strategies have had to be adaptable to changing circumstances and often consider competing interests. With leisure travel booming, encouraging sustainable travel practices and building an increasingly inclusive visitor environment have become a sharper focus. Other equally essential segments, including rebuilding convention and meetings business and international visitation, still need work. So how are we reaching our desired audiences with clear and consistent messages? How are we measuring our impacts? When is the right time to pivot? Join your tourism communications colleagues from across the country to connect and discuss what’s working and what isn’t and share new strategies and future PR trends in the travel industry moving forward.

PLEASE NOTE: We ask that all ESTO sponsors refrain from attending the peer open forums to foster an environment of collaboration for staff from DMOs and state tourism offices. Thanks for your understanding!

2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery ABC
Peer Open Forum

Partnerships never go out of style and provide a competitive edge to the travel industry. Let’s get creative and discuss how these partnerships are creating new opportunities for inventive approaches to grant funding, workforce development, sports tourism and so much more. By empowering others and reaching beyond your borders, you too can boost your tourism economy and make the visitor experience more meaningful.

PLEASE NOTE: We ask that all ESTO sponsors refrain from attending the peer open forums to foster an environment of collaboration for staff from DMOs and state tourism offices. Thanks for your understanding!

2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
River Overlook CD
Peer Open Forum

Join us to learn effective strategies and successful ideas implemented at Welcome and Visitor Centers. Through interactive and candid conversation, attendees will share best practices utilized at their state or city entities. The session will also tackle topics such as brochure distribution flow, digital marketing, visitation foot traffic, safety/security and other important topics.

PLEASE NOTE: We ask that all ESTO sponsors refrain from attending the peer open forums to foster an environment of collaboration for staff from DMOs and state tourism offices. Thanks for your understanding!

2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook GH
Peer Open Forum

Crypto, NFTs, gaming, blockchain, and the metaverse fall under the umbrella of Web3 (short for Web 3.0), and the opportunities today are as transformational as the emergence of Web 2.0 almost two decades ago. This working group welcomes anyone curious about how brands are leveraging Web3 to grow their audiences and generate funding/revenue in new ways. The end goal is to cut through the noise and confusion to identify strategies that our industry can adopt for destination development and marketing in collaboration with our communities.

PLEASE NOTE: We ask that all ESTO sponsors refrain from attending the peer open forums to foster an environment of collaboration for staff from DMOs and state tourism offices. Thanks for your understanding!

2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Peer Open Forum
4:10 pm to 4:30 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Secchia Lobby
Break
4:35pm to 4:50pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
General Session

Join us for a battle of speed and wits in our Pecha Kucha series. We kick off this inaugural event with "innovation in your destination". Rate each presenter in the ESTO 2022 mobile app and the winner with the highest rating will be crowned at the Destiny and Mercury Awards Dinner and Presentation.

4:35 pm to 4:50 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
General Session
Sponsored by Destination Analysts

Join us as we explore what the future may hold, as forecast 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 AB
Keynote
Sponsored by Brand USA

Welcome to ESTO 2022! Kick off the week by connecting with colleagues and friends while enjoying light hors d'oeuvres and drinks available. The reception takes place 6:00-7:30 p.m. on the Gillett pedestrian bridge adjacent to the DeVos Place Convention Center and Amway Grand Hotel. 

 

6:15 pm to 7:45 pm
Secchia Lobby
Networking
Sponsored by Zartico

Each guest will receive two (2) $10 drink tickets that can be used at Rendezvous Lobby Bar, IDC and Wolfgang Puck located in the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. Tickets can be used towards any drink order. Lost tickets will not be replaced.

8:00 pm to 11:00 pm
Amway Grand Plaza
Rendezvous Lobby Bar
Networking
Monday, August 8
TIME & LOCATION What’s on Tap
Sponsored by Waymack and Crew

The Destiny and Mercury Awards Lounge makes its fifth-annual return for you to take a look at each finalist's submissions, media files, and judges' comments. Stop by the lounge, located in the Grand Gallery Foyer, to view the top three finalists from each category in the digital gallery. Award winners will be announced on Tuesday, August 9 at ESTO's Awards Dinner and Presentation. The ESTO Awards enable states and destinations to showcase their creative accomplishments and foster the continued development of imaginative marketing and profitable promotional programs and campaigns in destination marketing. The Destinations Council's Destiny Awards recognize marketing and promotion at the city, local and regional level. The National Council of State Tourism Directors' Mercury Awards recognize state and territory destination marketing and promotion.

7:00 am to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Other
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

Experience Grand Rapids invites ESTO attendees to join in celebrating the 10th anniversary of Grand Rapids winning the Beer City USA title. Visit the Grand Rapids Beer Garden in DeVos Place Convention Center on Saturday, August 6, Sunday, August 7, and Monday, August 8 for the debut of Pure Michigan Pils, a pilsner beer brewed exclusively for ESTO 2022 by Grand Rapids’ Harmony Brewing Company.

  • Pure Michigan Pils beer – 11:45am – 12:50pm & 4pm-5pm

Get a free, limited-edition Beer City USA t-shirt as a souvenir.

7:00 am to 5:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Foyer
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

As a thank you, Jeremy has included tons of extra freebies here!

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 a multiple scenarios of the post-pandemic tourism future.

9:00 am to 10:00 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
Keynote
10:00am to 10:20am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Overlook Level Lobby
Break
10:00 am to 10:20 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Overlook Level Lobby
Break

Pack Elephant, presented by Experience Grand Rapids, will host a pop-up shop experience featuring a unique collection of handmade and small batch products all made by Michigan’s popular, business and artisan makers. ESTO attendees will have the opportunity to purchase these items at the conference or have them shipped home.

The pop-up shop will be open at various hours during the conference:

  • Saturday, 11am - 4:00pm
  • Sunday, 10am - 5:30pm
  • Monday, 10am - 4:00pm.

Make a BIG impact by supporting Michigan makers from diverse backgrounds.

10:00 am to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Welsh Lobby
Other
Marketing
Sponsored by Gray Media

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
All Access
Marketing
Data & Insights
Sponsored by Gray Media

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.

10:30 am to 11:30 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
River Overlook AB
All Access
Data & Insights
PR/Communications
Sponsored by Gray Media

Thanks for attending! Read more about the six marketing best practices you should consider when planning.

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 social media 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 damages 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
All Access
PR/Communications
Data & Insights
Sponsored by Gray Media

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 CD
All Access
Data & Insights
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.

10:30 am to 11:30 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
River Overlook EF
All Access
Marketing Technology
Sponsored by Gray Media

What’s the secret to successful implementation of a statewide strategic plan? How do other state tourism teams maintain momentum behind strategic initiatives over time? In this session, a panel of state tourism executives will share their experiences of effective plan implementation across a variety of channels including marketing and brand, partner engagement, and operations. Session attendees will also have an opportunity to engage in facilitated group discussions to advance their own approaches to strategic plan management and implementation.

10:30 am to 11:30 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook CD
State Tourism DMO
Sponsored by Gray Media

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

Gather for the announcement of the State Tourism Director of the Year followed by remarks and an awards presentation by Brand USA. Stay tuned! The winners might surprise you.

12:50 pm to 1:45 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 employees put so much pressure on themselves to put on a happy face, ""be positive"", and give the impression that they have it all together. But what people fail to realize is that ""happiness"" actually SHOULDN'T be the end goal. In this session, I address the difference between really thriving vs. just being happy. And we talk about ways employees can give more space for their humanity and all the emotions that are associated with an authentically thriving life."

1:50 pm to 2:20 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
General Session
2:25pm to 2:40pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
General Session

Join us for a battle of speed and wits in our Pecha Kucha series. We kick off this inaugural event with "innovation in your destination". Rate each presenter in the ESTO 2022 mobile app and the winner with the highest rating will be crowned at the Destiny and Mercury Awards Dinner and Presentation.

2:25 pm to 2:40 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
General Session
2:40pm to 3:00pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Overlook Level Lobby
Break
2:40 pm to 3:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Overlook Level Lobby
Break
Marketing

When our campaigns run smoothly, our agencies are heroes. When they are not, our agencies can become our favorite punching bags. But is that always their fault? Or are we just not managing them properly? A well-managed agency, one that is properly informed and given the right parameters, can be the difference between a successful campaign and a failure. But do our teams always know how to do this? This session will include frank discussions between DMO marketing executives and their agencies about how we give them their marching orders, how they manage things on their end, and what are the client requests that drive them absolutely crazy.

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery ABC
All Access
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
All Access
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
PR/Communications

Demands on DMO public relations and communications pros are… extensive. Are we comms strategists, media relations practitioners, content creators, brand shapers, crisis response managers, industry ambassadors – all of the above? It’s exciting and it’s a lot, requiring focus, skill and flexibility. Join a collegial discussion on PR’s critical role in today’s environment, informed by an expert panel of senior communicators representing the city, state and agency level, led by U.S. Travel’s head of communications.

 

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
River Overlook AB
All Access
PR/Communications
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.

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
River Overlook CD
All Access
Data & Insights
3:00pm to 4:00pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
River Overlook EF
All Access
Data & Insights

In this session we will be diving into NFTs and Blockchain technology. We’ll delve into what this technology is, what it does, how to use it, and what it means. In addition, we discuss the evolution of blockchain and NFTs, how we got here, and where we potentially are going. Finally, we’ll look into some case studies and shift the conversation on possible applications of NFT and blockchain technology within cities and organizations.

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
River Overlook EF
All Access
Data & Insights
3:00pm to 4:00pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook CD
All Access
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 on 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
All Access
Data & Insights
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook GH
CEO
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
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
Sign-up for exclusive discounts Here

Discounts for our Attendees

We’ve arranged discounts at several local restaurants, attractions, and other businesses to help you truly experience the city while you’re here. These savings are not available to the general public – they’re our way of saying thank you for making the trip to Grand Rapids. Redeem your discounts simply by presenting the digital coupon on your phone. It’s that easy! Sign up at experiencegr.com/exclusives.

5:30 pm to 11:59 pm
Downtown Grand Rapids
Other
Sponsored by Zartico

Each guest will receive two (2) $10 drink tickets that can be used at Rendezvous Lobby Bar, IDC and Wolfgang Puck located in the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.Tickets can be used towards any drink order. Lost tickets will not be replaced.

6:30 pm to 11:00 pm
Amway Grand Plaza
Rendezvous Lobby Bar
Networking
Tuesday, August 9
TIME & LOCATION What’s on Tap
Sponsored by Waymack and Crew

The Destiny and Mercury Awards Lounge makes its fifth-annual return for you to take a look at each finalist's submissions, media files, and judges' comments. Stop by the lounge, located in the Grand Gallery Foyer, to view the top three finalists from each category in the digital gallery. Award winners will be announced on Tuesday, August 9 at ESTO's Awards Dinner and Presentation. The ESTO Awards enable states and destinations to showcase their creative accomplishments and foster the continued development of imaginative marketing and profitable promotional programs and campaigns in destination marketing. The Destinations Council's Destiny Awards recognize marketing and promotion at the city, local and regional level. The National Council of State Tourism Directors' Mercury Awards recognize state and territory destination marketing and promotion.

7:30 am to 2:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Lobby
Other
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
8:40am to 8:55am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
General Session

Join us for a battle of speed and wits in our Pecha Kucha series. We kick off this inaugural event with "innovation in your destination". Rate each presenter in the ESTO 2022 mobile app and the winner with the highest rating will be crowned at the Destiny and Mercury Awards Dinner and Presentation.

 

8:40 am to 8:55 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
General Session
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
10:00am to 10:20am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Overlook Level Lobby
Break
10:00 am to 10:20 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Overlook Level Lobby
Break
10:30am to 11:30am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery DEF
All Access
PR/Communications
Sponsored by Near

Hear from industry colleagues on what advocacy means and why it is so important for furthering the travel industry’s narrative and policy goals at the destination level. Learn what it means to capitalize on all of the components of advocacy and how you can easily and effectively engage your local and federal policymakers.

 

10:30 am to 11:30 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery DEF
All Access
PR/Communications
PR/Communications
Sponsored by Near

What if you could peel back the mind of the meeting planner to get honest, real-time insights on what makes them tick? What marketing actually resonates long-term? What do they engage with? And what do they need from destination organizations?  Don’t miss this first-ever meetings marketing session, Confessions of a Meeting Planner, for a revealing panel discussion around these questions and more. Find out how you can effectively leverage the $40 billion meetings & convention industry.

10:30 am to 11:30 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
River Overlook EF
All Access
PR/Communications
Marketing
Sponsored by Near

When our campaigns run smoothly, our agencies are heroes. When they are not, our agencies can become our favorite punching bags. But is that always their fault? Or are we just not managing them properly? A well-managed agency, one that is properly informed and given the right parameters, can be the difference between a successful campaign and a failure. But do our teams always know how to do this? This session will include frank discussions between DMO marketing executives and their agencies about how we give them their marching orders, how they manage things on their end, and what are the client requests that drive them absolutely crazy.

10:30 am to 11:30 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
River Overlook AB
All Access
Marketing
Marketing
Sponsored by Near

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
All Access
Marketing
Marketing
10:30 am to 11:30 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery ABC
All Access
Marketing
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Sponsored by Near

Join this discussion to learn the latest efforts regarding what states are doing to attract and retain workers. This session will kick off with a case study on how one state is working together with multiple state agencies to attract and retain workers. Learn how New Hampshire is using overall workforce data to develop strategies and change policy to be relevant in today’s competitive workforce.

Topics will include:
• Efforts towards Paid Family and Medical Leave program,
• The State’s Referral Program and marketing campaigns aimed at workforce recruitment
• CDL licenses to assist with supply chain shortages,
• A pilot program to assist with workforce at their State Parks

10:30 am to 11:30 am
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook CD
State Tourism DMO
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Sponsored by Near

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 DMO

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 GH
CEO
11:45am to 1:15pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
Networking
11:45 am to 1:15 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
Networking
1:15pm to 1:30pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
General Session

Join us for a battle of speed and wits in our Pecha Kucha a series. Vote for your favorite presenter each round. The winner will be crowned at the Destiny and Mercury Awards Dinner and Presentation.

1:15 pm to 1:30 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
General Session
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.

1:30 pm to 2:30 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
General Session
2:30pm to 2:50pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Overlook Level Lobby
Break
2:30 pm to 2:50 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Overlook Level Lobby
Break
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Sponsored by InflightFlix

According to data reported by Global Economics of Disability in 2020, people and families impacted by disabilities spend $120 Billion annually on travel. Yet, this group of travelers has historically been underrepresented and underserved by the tourism community. In this session, we will learn key insights on motivation, perceptions and travel booking behaviors of travelers with mobility impairment from a recent study conducted by MMGY Travel Intelligence. And, we will engage in a discussion about how destination organizations can embrace these communities at both the city and state level.

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
River Overlook CD
All Access
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
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.

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook EF
All Access
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Data & Insights
Sponsored by InflightFlix

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.

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery DEF
All Access
Data & Insights
PR/Communications
Sponsored by InflightFlix

Thanks for attending! Read more about the six marketing best practices you should consider when planning.

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 social media 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 damages 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.

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
River Overlook EF
All Access
PR/Communications
Marketing
Sponsored by InflightFlix

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.

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery ABC
All Access
Marketing
Marketing Technology
Sponsored by InflightFlix

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.

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
River Overlook AB
All Access
Marketing Technology

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

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Grand Gallery Overlook CD
CEO

This session will provide an objective overview of Web3 (short for Web 3.0) today, and the opportunities for destination leaders to capitalize on the future of the internet. We’ll share real-world case studies about how other industries are capitalizing on crypto, NFTs, blockchain and the metaverse to expand their customer base and revenue streams. And, we’ll provide takeaways from an earlier ESTO work group that identified strategies for leveraging Web3 to optimize destination development and marketing in new ways.

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Grand Gallery Overlook GH
CEO

Summer in Pure Michigan is all about freshwater experiences and soaking in the beauty of the great outdoors as locals and visitors head to sugar-sand beaches and lakeside cottages for long summer days of fun in the sun. As the sun sets on ESTO 2022, don your best nautical-chic attire to capture the spirit of a moonlight cruise on a Great Lake,

6:30 pm to 7:15 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Secchia Lobby
Other

Join Experience Grand Rapids and Pure Michigan at the 2022 Destiny and Mercury Awards - Dockside in Pure Michigan gala as we celebrate the year’s best destination marketing and promotion, and the visionaries behind the successes. This year’s theme is “Setting the Sandbar” – a nod to the appeal of freshwater recreation in Michigan. From the Grand River that runs through downtown Grand Rapids to the Great Lakes that frame the state, there are endless outdoor opportunities for swimming, fishing, exploring trails, and boating. Come dressed for a dinner cruise gala!

7:15 pm to 9:00 pm
DeVos Place Convention Center
Steelcase Ballroom
Other