NC

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The annual Visit North Carolina 365 Conference is the state’s premier travel industry event. Bringing together more than 500 of the state’s tourism industry leaders, the conference provides opportunities to catch up on the latest trends and issues facing the travel industry, hear insights from industry experts and network with other travel and tourism professionals.

Visit NC respects the seriousness of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the complexities that organizations and governments now face in combatting this virus. While we are continuing to monitor the situation, the conference agenda is being updated continually to include sessions relating to the COVID-19 and its impact on the travel industry.

We recommend that attendees take the standard precautions that are recommended every year when traveling during the flu season. Those precautions are even more valuable this year.

When traveling, please follow these common-sense recommendations:

  • Do not travel if you are sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw it away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
  • If you feel well, it is not necessary to wear a facemask. Facemasks are most effective when used by people who are already ill to prevent them from spreading viruses and other germs.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Sunday, March 22

Noon - 6:00 p.m.Registration Open
Noon - 6:00 p.m. Exhibitor & Silent Auction Setup
GRAND BALLROOM C
3:30 - 4:30 p.m.Marketing Co-Op Presentation

Sponsored by: Meredith Travel/Southern Living

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6:15 p.m. Buses begin departing from the Vanderbilt Wing for the opening reception.
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.Opening Reception

Craft and creativity will take the spotlight at the Opening Reception hosted by Explore Asheville and set in the Asheville Art Museum's new state-of-the-art building which reopened in November 2019 after a $24 million renovation and expansion. Come celebrate the art of makers with heavy hor d ourves, wine provided by Biltmore and beer provided by Asheville's first craft brewery, Highland Brewing Company. Guests will have the opportunity to explore the museum's collection in the expanded gallery space with guided docent tours, and don't forget to check out the rooftop sculpture terrace with views of downtown architecture and the surrounding mountains. The central location will be a perfect spot to start your evening and convenient to downtown dining and nightlife.

Sponsored by: Explore Asheville

ASHEVILLE ART MUSEUM DOWNTOWN

Monday, March 23

6:45 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.Registration Open
7:00 a.m.Exhibitor Marketplace & Silent Auction open EXHIBIT HALL
7:30 a.m. - 7:50 a.m.Welcome Breakfast GRAND BALLROOM AB
7:50 a.m. - 8:45 a.m. Visit NC Going Forward

Visit North Carolina’s going forward update. We’ll take you back through the year as we review our strategy to connect with domestic and international audiences. Then we’ll provide an exciting preview of new marketing initiatives for 2020-21 and go over the current situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19). Learn how your organization will benefit from Visit North Carolina’s commitment to connecting, attracting and retaining audiences.

GRAND BALLROOM AB
8:45 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.Break with Exhibitors
9:15 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. Opening Keynote–Shane Snow
DREAM TEAMS: THE SCIENCE OF BREAKTHROUGH COLLABORATION

This brilliant and entertaining keynote performance will change the way you think about people, progress, and collaboration. Shane takes audiences on a rollicking adventure, revealing the secrets of the world’s most successful teams and coalitions in history.

You’ll learn about the surprising factor behind most failed mergers and marriages; how a certain method of fighting is more useful than brainstorming; how leveraging “cognitive diversity” helps groups outmatch competitors; the science of becoming open-minded—and the outsize effect it has on group success; and the counter-intuitive truths about becoming better team players ourselves.

GRAND BALLROOM AB
10:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Break with Exhibitors
GRAND BALLROOM C
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. Breakouts: 4 total

Heritage Tourism

Many areas have great stories to tell but don’t know where to start, particularly when it comes to the African American story. Discover ways of documenting your assets that will also assist you in promoting an authentic Heritage Tourism experience.

Visit NC Host: Andre Nabors

Presenters: Angela Thorpe, NC African American Heritage Commission; Sarah Bryan, NC Folklife Institute
TAFT


Crisis/Disaster Research

The need for quick data after a crisis such as COVID-19 or a natural disaster is crucial, but how do you go about getting the data and what can you do to be prepared before a crisis? Marlise Taylor, Director of Research for Visit NC, and Lori Pennington-Gray, Ph.D., director of the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative at the University of Florida, will present several case studies on recent research performed by Visit NC and other tourism marketing agencies to help fill your toolbox with remedies for current and future situations that you may encounter, as well as best practices for being prepared to administer crisis research quickly.

Visit NC Host: Marlise Taylor

Presenters: Marlise Taylor, Director of Research for Visit NC; Lori Pennington-Gray, Ph.D., director of the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative at the University of Florida
HOOVER


Hospitality Workforce Development

In North Carolina more than 230,000 people are employed in tourism industry, while nationwide there are more than 14 million. That number is growing. Business leaders understand that for their industry to grow, they must invest in developing their employees today. Are you finding it more challenging finding qualified employees for your hotels, restaurants and attractions? Once you have them, train them, how do you keep them? There are several new solutions in the market. Come hear what the experts are doing in North Carolina.

Visit NC Host: Heidi Walters

Presenters: Lynn Minges, President & CEO, NC Restaurant & Lodging Assn.; Danielle Frazier, President & CEO, Charlotte Works; Emily Swartzlander, Family Forward NC
EISENHOWER


PR Crisis Communication

Learn from public relations experts on the best practices for dealing with a crisis. From hurricanes to COVID-19, get best practices for communicating to partners and visitors in crisis situations.

Visit NC Host: Eleanor Talley
ROOSEVELT

11:55 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. Visit NC Awards Luncheon

Celebrate industry achievements with the presentation of the annual Tourism Winner’s Circle Awards and Esse Quam Videri Award. These awards recognize communities, organizations, events and people that have enhanced the North Carolina tourism industry.

Sponsored by: UNC-TV

GRAND BALLROOM AB
1:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. Marketing and Research Track
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Importance of Good AND Timely Occupancy Tax Data to Strategic Marketing

Learn how crucial accurate and timely occupancy tax information is to Visit NC’s research program and to local destination trend reports. Hear from Marlise Taylor, Director of Research for Visit NC and Chris Cavanaugh, Magellan Strategies about how tax data is reported and what trends are showing in terms of collections across the state. This session will help you make the most of the data available.

Visit NC Host: Marlise Taylor

Presenters: Marlise Taylor, Director of Research for Visit NC; Chris Cavanaugh, Magellan Strategy Group
EISENHOWER

1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Best Uses in ROI Studies

There are many different types and ways to implement a ROI study. Explore Asheville and Visit Elizabeth City will present an overview of their ROI studies and why they are important to the partner research toolbox. The session will also provide attendees with an overview of how Visit NC uses ROI data and how partners can use these types of studies to justify and support your budget and strategic marketing plans. We’ll talk methodology, vendor selection, study results, and follow up.

Visit NC Host: Dana Grimstead

Presenters: Marla Tambellini; Vice President of Marketing/Deputy Director of Explore Asheville; Corina Ferguson, Executive Director of Visit Elizabeth City; Scott Gilmore, LGA
HOOVER

2:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. Transition Break
2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.Importance of Good AND Timely Occupancy Tax Data to Strategic Marketing

Learn how crucial accurate and timely occupancy tax information is to Visit NC’s research program and to local destination trend reports. Hear from Marlise Taylor, Director of Research for Visit NC and Chris Cavanaugh, Magellan Strategies about how tax data is reported and what trends are showing in terms of collections across the state. This session will help you make the most of the data available.

Visit NC Host: Marlise Taylor

Presenters: Marlise Taylor, Director of Research for Visit NC; Chris Cavanaugh, Magellan Strategy Group
EISENHOWER

Best Uses in ROI Studies
There are many different types and ways to implement a ROI study. Explore Asheville and Visit Elizabeth City will present an overview of their ROI studies and why they are important to the partner research toolbox. The session will also provide attendees with an overview of how Visit NC uses ROI data and how partners can use these types of studies to justify and support your budget and strategic marketing plans. We’ll talk methodology, vendor selection, study results, and follow up.

Visit NC Host: Dana Grimstead

Presenters: Marla Tambellini; Vice President of Marketing/Deputy Director of Explore Asheville; Corina Ferguson, Executive Director of Visit Elizabeth City; Scott Gilmore, LGA
HOOVER

1:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. Executive track: Why would anyone want to be led by you?

Whether we’re leading a small team, a large organization or attempting to positively influence the perspective of others, taking time to get clear on why anyone would want to be led by us marks the difference between an ordinary leader and an extraordinary leader. The truth is, followership is earned—it’s not an entitlement. We can’t be a great leader if we don’t give people a great reason to follow us. In this lively and interactive session, our speaker will share a valuable framework that will help leaders at all levels to further strengthen their leadership effectiveness by clarifying their leadership point of view and bringing greater purpose to their role as a leader.

Topics Include:
  1. The six universal truths of leadership and how to use them to shape your leadership point of view.
  2. The importance of discerning and then balancing leadership “doing” and “being” as a way to strengthen impact.
  3. How to navigate the gap between the leadership culture and employee culture that exists in every organization.
Participants participate in small group breakouts to apply the principles shared during the session.

Moderator: Trever Cartwright, Coraggio Group
WILSON
1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. PR track
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.Media Forum

Get perspective from top media locally and nationally with a round-up of timely topics impacting the travel industry and media landscape. Expect an intense and engaging discussion about travel trends, politics, the economy and the industry. Walk away with media and industry insights to shape and engage planning for 2020 and beyond.
ROOSEVELT

2:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. Transition Break
2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Public Relations Pitch

Bring on the story ideas and be prepared to take the mic. Pitch to a local and national media panel for some on the spot media advice. No buzzer, no timer, no spotlight. Just pitch the media about what makes a destination coverage worthy. Inspire a visit or a story or come to hear what peers are pitching.
ROOSEVELT

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.Public Relations Reception

Share inspiration, tips and ideas with public relations peers. Chat with local and national media in a relaxed reception for PR Track attendees only.
TAFT

3:45 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.Break with Exhibitors
GRAND BALLROOM C
4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.Legislative Update

This interactive session provides up-to-date information on North Carolina’s political and economic landscape and how it affects the state’s tourism industry. An election year could mean big changes in leadership. Come hear more and ask questions about new laws and proposed legislation that affect your business and community.

Panelist: Brian Lewis, NCTIA; Lynn Minges, NCRLA; Kara Weishaar, T&T Coalition

Moderator: Berkley Young, Young Strategies GRAND BALLROOM AB
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. The Great Gatsby Extravaganza

Inspired by the dawning of the new roaring ‘20s and F.Scott Fitzgerald’s time at the Grove Park Inn we will celebrate in style. Come dressed to impress and take a step back in time bringing alive the Roaring '20s and the Jazz Age. All guests are encouraged to wear Gatsby ‘20s fashion.

Sponsored by: ON Services, a GES Company; Explore Asheville CVB; Hickory Metro CVB; Luquire George Andrews; Meredith Travel Group/Navigate Media; UNC-TV
SEELY PAVILION

Tuesday, March 24

7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.Breakfast with Exhibitors

Grab Breakfast with the Exhibitors.

GRAND BALLROOM C
9:15 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.Keynote

Storytelling With Purpose
Although access to audiences has never been easier, competition for attention has never been greater. The key to standing out isn't just good messaging and well-executed creative but basing your communications in stories and actions that really matter. Paolo Mottola, director of content & media at REI and storytelling instructor at the University of Washington, shares insights about how to find and develop the stories that meaningfully engage and create lasting impressions with audiences.

GRAND BALLROOM AB
10:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.Break with Exhibitors
GRAND BALLROOM C
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. Breakouts: 3 total

Marketing

Take a deeper dive with Allison Schult, as she speaks with three destinations in the state who are thinking outside the box to overcome marketing challenges.

Visit NC Host: Allison Schult
Presenters: Wright Tilley, Watauga County TDA; Donna Bailey-Taylor, Johnston County VB; Andrew Schmidt, Greenville- Pitt Co. CVB

EISENHOWER

How to Encourage Diversity in Travel

Diversity and inclusion plays a critical role in the building and marketing of powerhouse brands. Redefine the rules of marketing through a diverse and inclusive lens to encourage diversity in travel.

Visit NC Host: Dana Grimstead

Presenters: Rhonda Moret, Elevated Diversity; Will Hare Durham CVB

HOOVER

Promoting Your Area Through Arts and Music

What makes your area unique? Practically every town, county or region has the potential for tourism, but many only see the more obvious options such as tickets attractions or annual events. Should an area create a themed trail to promote murals or painted barns? Are there only-in-your-county signature music sites that visitors don’t know about? Should there be a festival created to spotlight a certain aspect? The groundwork of bringing together partners and finding funding involves a lot of work – but the benefits of potential visitors can reward the whole county or region.

Visit NC Host: Kathy Prickett

Presenters: Angie Chandler, Blue Ridge National Heritage Area; Billy Maupin, Yep Roc Records; Rebecca Moore, NC Arts Council

ROOSEVELT
11:55 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.Closing Luncheon

The Hickory Metro area is authentically well crafted from our bourbon to our furniture and everything in between. The Visit Hickory Metro team and our regional partners are very excited to invite you to dine with us family-style. On behalf of Alexander, Caldwell, Catawba & Burke counties we will be featuring homegrown ingredients and recipes with a “local favorite” inspired menu. Blackberry wine cake is one of the highlights from our region representing the region’s annual NC Blackberry Festival and something you won’t want to miss. Join the Visit Hickory Metro team and partners in toasting one last goodbye, until next year, 2021, when we gather in Hickory.

Sponsored by Hickory CVB

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