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.
Sunday, March 31
- Noon – 6:00 p.m.Registration Open
- Noon – 6:00 p.m.Exhibitor & Silent Auction SetupEXHIBIT HALL
- 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.Meet and Greet with Visit NC teamCONCOURSE
Are you new to Visit NC 365? Stop by on Sunday afternoon to meet our team and see how to get the most out of Visit NC and the annual tourism conference.
- 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.PR RoundtablesMEETING ROOMS 106 - 108
PR practitioners and media representatives meet for fastball pitching at its finest. The lineup of writers, editors and producers includes Jason Frye (Southern Living, Dallas Morning News), David Hardy and Deborah Holt Noel (UNC-TV’s “North Carolina Weekend”), Elizabeth Hudson (Our State editor-in-chief), Lilit Marcus (CNN travel editor), Scott Mason (WRAL-TV’s “Tar Heel Traveler”), Diana Oates (PureWow, Conde Nast Traveler), Lynn and Cele Seldon (AJC, AAA pubs) and Edmund Vallance (AFAR, LA Times). Pre-registration required. Indicate your interest on the conference registration form and the PR team will contact you.
- 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.Party on the Pier: Opening Reception
Sponsored by: Wilmington & Beaches CVB & Cape Fear Craft Beer AlliancePIER 33
Join the Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau as host of the opening reception to be held at Pier 33 Entertainment Venue at the Port City Marina. Located on the award-winning riverfront, this brand-new waterfront event venue is the perfect setting to enjoy coastal tastings, beverages and one of the area’s hottest bands performing a variety of classic rock, country, R&B, pop, soul, and funk. See you on the pier!
Monday, April 1
- 6:45 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.Registration Open
- 7:30 a.m.Exhibitor Marketplace & Silent Auction openEXHIBIT HALL
- 7:30 – 8:30 a.m.Facilitated Networking Breakfast with Exhibitors – Regional DiscussionEXHIBIT HALL ROUNDTABLES
Grab your breakfast and head over to the networking area for regional discussions.
- 7:30 – 8:30 a.m.Networking Breakfast with ExhibitorsEXHIBIT HALL
- 8:45 – 10:15 a.m.Opening Keynote: Ingrid Fetell Lee, The Aesthetics of Joy
Sponsored by: ON Services, a GES CompanyGRAND BALLROOM
An emerging body of research shows that there is a clear link between our surroundings and our mental health. Yet nearly all the advice on how to find happiness ignores this fact. Designer Ingrid Fetell Lee founded The Aesthetics of Joy in 2009 to shed light on the relationship between our environment and our emotions and shares inspiration for living a more joyful life through design. She has been featured as an expert on design and joy by outlets such as the New York Times, Wired, PRI's Studio 360, CBC's Spark, and Fast Company, and her 2018 TED talk received a standing ovation. Lee was formerly Design Director at global innovation firm IDEO and was a founding faculty member in the Products of Design program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She holds a Master's in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute and a Bachelor's in English and Creative Writing from Princeton University.
- 10:30 – 11:45 a.mVisit NC Co-Op PresentationMEETING ROOMS 106-108
Join Visit NC and its marketing agency, LGA, as they unveil the cooperative marketing opportunities planned for 2019-2020. Learn about all the programs available, how to extend your limited marketing dollars in collaboration with Visit NC, and have time to follow up with Visit NC staff, agencies and media partners for more details or to sign-up for your 2019-2020 co-op programs.
- 11:55 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.Visit NC Awards Luncheon
Sponsored by: Meredith Publishing, Inc.GRAND BALLROOM
Celebrate industry achievements with the presentation of the annual Tourism Winners Circle Awards and Esse Quam Videri Award. These awards recognize communities, organizations, events and people that have enhanced the North Carolina tourism industry.
- 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.Concurrent SessionsMEETING ROOMS 105-108Insider tips from Visitor Services: How to best work with the Welcome and Inquiry/Call CentersMEETING ROOM 105
North Carolina’s nine Welcome Centers hosted 9,418,982 visitors in 2018 and booked about 19,200 room nights for visitors. The Inquiry and Call Center received roughly 110,209 inquires and mailed 178,022 NC Travel Guides to potential visitors. While attending this session, you’ll learn the best way to interact and utilize these valuable front-line resources.
Visit NC Host: Heidi Walters
Moderator: Wally Wazan, NC Department of Commerce, Visitor Services
Presenters: Kat Littleturtle, I-95 South Welcome Center; Vicki Sealock, I-26 West Welcome Center; Teresa Smith, NC Department of Commerce, Call CenterFestival for the Rest-of-all: Maximizing FestivalsMEETING ROOM 106
As an important economic driver in communities, this breakout explores the best way to host and maximize event impact. Explore event challenges, best practices in working with the stakeholders; and how to successfully promote events to your target audience.
Visit NC Host: Amanda Baker
Moderator: Lynn Fuhler, Flying Compass, Inc.
Presenters: Alison Baringer English, Azalea Festival; Lorrie Love, Outer Banks Visitors Bureau; Stephanie Saintsing, NC Association of Festivals and EventsShared Lodging to Commercial Lodging: A look inside the big forces shaping the NC lodging industryMEETING ROOM 107
Learn more about current trends in the lodging industry, both in the commercial lodging sector and shared economy sector. Hear from STR and AirDNA on recent trends in statewide lodging and an outlook for 2019 and beyond.
Visit NC Host/Moderator: Marlise Taylor
Presenters: Jennifer Foster, Destinations – STR; Kellen Kruse, AirDNA; Jason Sprenkle, Key DataCome Hear NC: How Music Builds Community & Boost Cultural TourismMEETING ROOM 108
North Carolina residents hold music close to their hearts and support it in all aspects of community - from festivals, fiddler’s conventions and powwows to live music in arenas, theatres and clubs across the state. Private and public sector leaders understand that music - especially traditions rooted in N.C.’s history like bluegrass, blues, and jazz - are important assets for cultural tourism development.
Visit NC Host/Moderator: Mark Shore
Presenters: William Lewis, PineCone; Scott Peacock, GRCVB; Angie Chandler, Blue Ridge National Heritage Area; Carroll V. Dashiell, Jr., East Carolina University; Wayne Martin, N.C. Arts Council; Catherine Oliva, N.C. Department of Natural & Cultural Resources
- 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.Concurrent SessionsMEETING ROOMS 105-108So You Want to Be Famous: Location Managers Talk about Site SelectionMEETING ROOM 105
Film NC’s program creates job opportunities for North Carolinians by recruiting productions, motion picture studios, film, television and commercial professionals to North Carolina, and collaborates with the regional film commissions to promote and encourage filmmaking across the state. Explore what it takes for productions to film in your area and how to best position your sites for location managers.
Visit NC Host/Moderator: Guy Gaster
Presenters: Johnny Griffin, Wilmington Regional Film Commission; Mary London Stewart, Location ManagerFestinomics: Event Impact StudiesMEETING ROOM 106
Events continue to be an important economic driver, but just how much impact does your annual festival contribute to tourism? Learn how to conduct an event impact survey and what the results mean for event promotion.
Visit NC Host: Marlise Taylor
Presenter: Whitney Knollenburg, North Carolina State University - Parks, Recreation & Tourism ManagementCrafting Your Message: Real News in a Fake News WorldMEETING ROOM 107
These days, it’s impossible to get your message out to potential visitors without knowing how to craft it in the current media landscape. Bring your best questions to ask a panel of experts from LGA and JPR about how public relations and social media work together to create unified messages. Come away with answers about what makes the most harmonious messages for social media, digital outlets, and traditional media.
Visit NC Host: Nick Parker
Presenters: Dana Boone, Luquire George Andrews; Chelsey Lutz Kirby, J Public Relations; Kelly Renz, J Public RelationsGeneral Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – Info and ImpactsMEETING ROOM 108
Customers care about their privacy and expect businesses to respect that. It is the responsibility of every business to protect customer privacy and build rules into their organization to adhere to GDPR. Learn how to manage your data more effectively, internally and externally, in this ever-changing environment.
Visit NC Host: Heidi Walters
Presenters: Joe Dickinson, Smith Anderson; Lena Kleininger, Lieb Management; Lisa Purpura, Luquire George Andrews
- 1:30 – 4:00 p.m.Executive Track for CEOsEMBASSY SUITES SALON 1
New this year, we’ve designed a concurrent session just for executives. If you run a DMO, this one’s for you. Economic and workforce consultant, Ted Abernathy is the managing partner of Economic Leadership, LLC, a consultancy that is currently working in more than a dozen states. They are experienced practitioners collaborating with data-geeks and leadership gurus to create realistic and personalized strategies for you. You must sign up in advance to attend. The first hour session will provide a future trend analysis. The second hour session will discuss board management and how to make volunteer boards more effective.
- 4:15 – 5:15 p.m.Legislative UpdateGRAND BALLROOM
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. Hear more and ask questions about new laws and proposed legislation that affect your business and community.
Participants: Brian Lewis, NCTIA; Lynn Minges, NCRLA; Kara Weishaar, T&T Coalition
- 5:15 – 6:15 p.m.Reception with Exhibitors & Silent AuctionEXHIBIT HALL
Join us for happy-hour with exhibitors featuring North Carolina wines and craft beers. Beverages provided by NC Craft Brewers Guild.
Open night to explore Wilmington & Beaches.
Tuesday, April 2
- 6:45 a.m. – NoonRegistration
- 7:30 a.m.Exhibitor Marketplace & Silent Auction openEXHIBIT HALL
- 7:30 – 8:30 a.m.Facilitated Networking Breakfast – Budget Discussion
Sponsored by: Explore AshevilleEXHIBIT HALL ROUNDTABLES
Grab your breakfast and head over to the networking area for budget discussions.
- 7:30 – 8:30 a.m.Networking Breakfast with Exhibitors
Sponsored by: Explore AshevilleEXHIBIT HALL
- 8:45 – 10:00 a.m.Keynote: Dustin Garis
Sponsored by: ArrivalistGRAND BALLROOM
Throughout his disruptive career at some of the world’s most respected companies, The Coca-Cola Company, Procter & Gamble and others, Dustin Garis has become known as “Chief Troublemaker” and "The Indiana Jones of Marketing" for his innovative approach to brand-building and corporate entrepreneurship. Dustin shares his world-renowned futurist perspective unlike any other, because he practices what he preaches. He didn't just field the most extensive futurist research expedition of its kind, he embarked on the journey himself, spanning 45 countries across six continents. From this, he uncovered the most powerful global trends that will impact the future of travel for both leisure and business. This includes discovering the "Life Profit" concept, which redefines the way people measure their lives...not in dollars, but rather by richness of memorable experiences. It's the single greatest determining factor for where people travel and how those destinations become sensational.
- 10:00 – 10:30 a.m.Break with Exhibitors & Silent AuctionEXHIBIT HALL
Silent Auction closes.
- 10:30 – 11:45 a.m.Visit North Carolina Update: Going ForwardGRAND BALLROOM
Don’t miss 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 and then we’ll provide an exciting preview of new marketing initiatives for 2019-20. Learn how your organization will benefit from Visit North Carolina’s commitment to connecting, attracting and retaining audiences.
- 11:45 a.m. – NoonBreak with Exhibitors
Pick up silent auction items.
- Noon – 1:00 p.m.Visit NC 365 Closing Luncheon
Sponsored by: UNC-TVGRAND BALLROOM
During a special presentation at the Visit NC 365 Conference closing luncheon, UNC-TV will show how it’s changing the ways it’s engaging with communities, producing compelling stories for multiplatform distribution and showcasing the state. Find out how you can partner with UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina to share the important stories about your community.