2019 Travel Industry Conference Agenda

Grand Hotel
1505 N Broadway
Minot, ND 58703

Travel Conference Agenda

Monday, April 15

3:00-5:00 p.m.

North Dakota Tourism Roundtables

  • Social Media – Strategies, what’s hot – what’s not, and where your company should be.
  • Media Relations – Know what to pitch to media, how to pitch, to whom and how to measure.
  • Outdoor Recreation Development – Targeting outdoor media and who is on the wish list. Let’s offer more packaged adventures and how to be involved.
  • Website Listing Enhancements – How, when and why it’s important to freshen up your listing.
  • Global & Groups – Market updates, where are the opportunities, are you an active participant and what’s the benefit?
4:00-6:00 p.m. Registration and Exhibitor Setup
6:00-9:00 p.m. Opening Reception and Social at Elevation at the Minot Country Club

Tuesday, April 16 - WEAR YOUR LOGO DAY

7:45 a.m. Registration Open
9 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Sponsor Exhibits Open
8:15-9 a.m. Breakfast Buffet 
9-9:15 a.m. Welcome
9:15-10:30 a.m.

Opening Keynote Session - Jim Knight

Culture That Rocks

Kicking off the conference is an interactive session designed to highlight best practices that amp up or revolutionize a company’s culture and stay relevant in the 21st century. Key Unique Concepts will include: a clear-cut definition of Culture (finally), enhancing internal communication, delivery service differentiation, creating customer obsession, avoiding mediocrity and increasing value proposition. 

10:30-11 a.m. Break with Exhibitors
11 a.m.-12 p.m. Breakout Sessions

Session 1

Best & Worst Practices in Sports Marketing - Jon Schmieder

An ever-growing industry, the sports travel market provides ample opportunity for organizations to capitalize on the industry growth if they understand how to plan the game. Industry leading consultant, Jon Schmieder, will discuss the best and worst practices of sports tourism marketing.

Session 2

Hiring and Retaining Rock Stars - Jim Knight

Finding and holding onto great talent is commonly considered as the one true strategy to provide a great culture and unforgettable customer service. A specific culture must be created and fostered to secure commitment from the employees to stick around and deliver the desired results. This session features rapid strategies, visuals, out-of-the-box thinking and real take aways.

Session 3

Own Your Instagram - Gabriel Mejia

Gabriel was our 2014 Governor’s Award winner for Front Line Tourism Employee and now an Instagram influencer. Hear his tips from growing his 20.4K following at @stylebenderg.

12:15-1:15 p.m.

Industry Luncheon

North Dakota Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman will provide a State of the Industry update over lunch.

1:30-2:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions

Session 1

A North Dakota Approach to Outdoor Recreation

This panel will feature Melissa Baker, Director of North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department and Terry Steinwand, Director of North Dakota Game and Fish Department; moderated by Outdoor Promotions Manager Mike Jensen

Session 2

Industry Best Practices

Our industry gurus will share some of their best practices and tips for success

  • Maximize Your Google Presence - Julie Obrigewitsch, Visit Dickinson
  • Greater Grand Forks Grant Programs - Julie Rygg, Greater Grand Forks CVB
Session 3

The Trend Toward Seasonal Attractions - Matt Schanandore and Philip Hernandez

Hear first-hand how Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park’s Haunted Fort and other seasonal attractions are setting a new standard for visitation

2:45-3:45 p.m.

General Session - Karin Mast

Alexa ... Tell Me About Voice Search

Digital experts predict that by 2020, fifty percent of all search will be through images or speech. That’s an alarming statistic to many marketers who haven’t yet begun preparing for the voice search revolution. Keynote speaker Karin Mast, a hospitality marketing expert with two decades of experience in digital, for a primer on all things voice. In this session, Karin will discuss the major players in voice search, examine how it’s currently being used across the travel industry, and share tips for how brands can refresh and reformat their digital content to optimize for voice search.

3:45-4:15 Break with Exhibitors
4:15-5:00 p.m.

The Great Debates

Hear both sides to three important topics affecting destinations in this lighthearted, and thought-provoking, session. Which side will you end up on?        


  • Global marketing is too risky an investment
  • Print is dead and digital advertising is the only way to go
  • The DMO should play a role in economic development and workforce recruitment

Evening on your own.

Wednesday, April 17

7:45 a.m. Registration Open
8:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sponsor Exhibits Open
8:00-8:45 a.m. Breakfast Buffet with Exhibitors
8:45-9:45 a.m.

General Session - Dr. Terry Eckmann

Life Hacks for Living Well

Life Hacks for Living Well is designed to provide simple and easy-to-use, research-based practices to improve overall health, fitness and wellness. The number one excuse for not exercising, eating right or taking care of physical, mental and emotional health in general is “I don’t have time.” This session, presented by professional Minot speaker Terry Eckmann, will provide you with little things you can do to increase physical activity, improve healthy eating and develop a more positive attitude. Take home tools and strategies you can use to make simple lifestyle choices that can make a big difference. Participants will get the why, what and how of lifestyle practices that can boost productivity and improve quality of life.

9:45-10:45 a.m.

General Session - NDTIC goes TEDx

This session is designed to spark creative thinking and provide a taste of three important topics for destinations and businesses today.

  • Digital Marketing Trends - Brian Matson
  • Millennials Matter - Danita Bye
  • Outdoor Recreation and the Maah Daah Hey Trail - Nick Ybarra
10:45-11:15 a.m. Break with Exhibitors
11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Breakout Sessions from NDTICx Speakers

Session 1

Developing Natural Resources into Niche Adventures to Attract Visitors - Nick Ybarra and Phil Helfrich

The Maah Daah Hey Trail is the country’s longest non-motorized, single-track trail. When the U.S. Forest Service lost funding and staff to maintain the trail, a team of dedicated champions and volunteers stepped forward. 

Session 2

How to Engage and Lead a Millennial Sales Team - Danita Bye

Fresh millennial insights, combined with experience and wisdom, will be the competitive advantage that accelerates your business results and secures your leadership legacy.

 Session 3

Social Media 2.0: Advanced Use and Analytics - Brian Matson

In this session, TwoSix Digital’s Senior Director of Strategy and Education, Brian V. Matson, will walk attendees through a series of dos and don’ts to successfully leverage online media and data sources to take their digital marketing efforts to the next level. Hear his take on the Top 5 things you need to be doing with analytical data sources, digital marketing, paid social advertising and more! This session will provide practical tactics and processes that will enable attendees to start to truly leverage the immense power of today’s latest digital marketing tools for immediate impact.

12:15-1:30 p.m.

Governor's Awards Luncheon Honoring Leaders in Travel and Tourism

The Governor’s Awards for Travel and Tourism recognize the passionate and dedicated North Dakotans who have contributed to the growth of travel and tourism, our state’s third-largest industry. These awards speak to the foundation gratitude important to Governor Burgum.