2017 program and speaker presentations

Monday, April 17

2:30 p.m.-5 p.m.

Industry Meetings

4-6 p.m.

Registration and Exhibitor Set Up

6-8 p.m.

Opening Reception and Social at the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum 

8:30-10:30 p.m.

Entertainment at the Radisson Hotel


Tuesday, April 18 

7:45 a.m.

Registration Open

8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.

Sponsor Exhibits Open

8:30-9:15 a.m.

Breakfast Buffet with Exhibitors

9:15-9:30 a.m.


9:30-10:30 a.m.

General Session

Imagineering the Future – Joe Tankersley

The future does not exist. It is not some destination out on the horizon waiting for you to show up. It is yours to create. The process of creating a better tomorrow begins with the stories we tell ourselves about what is possible. This presentation will show you how to use the tools of foresight and narrative to create your best tomorrow.

10:30-11 a.m.

Break with Exhibitors

11 a.m.-12 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

  • Creating a Strategic Narrative - Joe Tankersley

This session will give participants the chance to put the techniques of Imagineering the Future to work. It will include exercises in trend clustering, critical imagination and story development. Participants will create and share strategic narratives exploring possible opportunities for the future of tourism in North Dakota.

  • Top 10 Time Management Tips for Dealing with Email - Cindy Solberg

Did you know most people spend over three hours a day on email? If you are spending too much valuable time on email, this session is for you! Discover 10 strategies to reduce email volume, improve email quality and manage your inbox like a productivity pro.

  • Tapping into the Group Travel Market - Shebby Lee

The potential for group travel - especially in challenging economic times - is unlimited. As a specialist in out-of-the-way destinations, Shebby Lee has 30 years of experience to share on how best to market and serve this market. Included will be how to get started, tips on "do's" and "don'ts" and growing your business.

12:15-1:15 p.m.


Industry Update Luncheon with Research Highlights – North Dakota Tourism Staff and Commerce Commissioner Jay Schuler

1:30-2:30 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

Using STR hotel performance data, we will take a look into North Dakota's unique market compared with the rest of the US and Canada. The focus will be on the current hotel performance trends, and where STR projects the market will go.

Our industry gurus will share some of their best practices, wins and successes. Featuring Nicole Holden from the F-M CVB and their Destiny Award winning Visit Fargo Visitors Guide, Julie Rygg from the Greater Grand Forks CVB and their annual Canadian visitor survey, Matt Schanandore from Fort Abraham Lincoln and their social media strategies and Suzie Kenner from Devils Lake Tourism and their media relations partnerships.

  • "Our People, Our Story" Travel & Tours - Mike Mabin and Sonja Tanner

This session delves into the topic of offering more Native American tourism experiences. Mike and Sonja will provide attendees with information on lessons learned by Sonja's 20+ years of experience in offering cultural tours. Additionally, attendees will learn about plans to offer similar tours in North Dakota in conjunction with the recently formed ND Native Tourism Alliance.

2:45-3:45 p.m.

General Session

The Evolution of Media Consumption - moderated by Melissa Luebbe and featuring Jodi Duncan of Flint Group, LaRoy Kingsley of KKBOLD, Mike Pierce of Odney and Renee Cook of Sundog

How has technology changed the way we consume media and the way marketers buy media? Get the insights with this innovative panel.

3:45-4:15 p.m.

Break with Exhibitors and beer and wine reception

4:15-5 p.m.

General Session

Redefining the Female Traveler with Generational Insights - Melissa Luebbe

Get a detailed look into travel trends and behaviors, specifically calling out statistical differences between generations (millennials, Gen X, boomers), moms and Hispanic women.  We focus on women’s vacation preferences, involvement with vacation planning resources and culinary tourism activities.


Evening on your own


Wednesday, April 19

7:45 a.m.

Registration Open

8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Sponsor Exhibits Open

8-8:45 a.m.

Breakfast Buffet with Exhibitors

8:45-9:30 a.m.

General Session

The Economic Impact of Travel in North Dakota – Chris Pike

How does visitor spending, trips to North Dakota, jobs and tax generation benefit the state? Tourism Economics will present findings from the 2015 Tourism Satellite Account research, along with county-level impacts of visitor spending.

9:30-10:15 a.m.

General Session

What can the Changing Location of Computing Devices Tell Us about Travel Advertising - Cree Lawson

We've moved from a world where people travel from computer-to-computer to a new mobile world where consumers carry a computer with them wherever they go. What can the movements of those computers - especially those which have seen ads promoting North Dakota - tell us about the way advertising inspires visitation?

10:15-10:45 a.m.

Break with Exhibitors

11:00 a.m.-Noon

General Session at the Historic Belle Mehus Auditorium

Make Your Marketing as Legendary as Your Destination - Daniel Lemin

Is your marketing as Legendary as your destination? Digital platforms open new dimensions for prospective travelers to learn about you, but are you making the most of that opportunity? This closing keynote will inspire you to explore all the facets of digital marketing and make it as Legendary as your destination. We will journey across the street to the Historic Belle Mehus Auditorium for this energetic presentation.

12:15-1:30 p.m.

Governor's Awards Luncheon Honoring Leaders in Travel and Tourism with Governor Doug Burgum

The Governor’s Awards for Travel and Tourism recognize the passion and dedication of North Dakotans who have contributed to the growth of travel and tourism, our state’s third-largest industry. Speaking and presenting the 2017 awards are North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum.