Agenda

Governor's Conference Logo

April 15–17, 2018

Big Sky Resort | Big Sky
50 Big Sky Resort Rd.
800.548.4486


Agenda

The following agenda is a work in progress and subject to change. Click here to download a printer-friendly PDF.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

NOON–8:00 PM | REGISTRATION

Location: Meadowlark
Sponsor: National Geographic


2:005:00 PM | FAMILIARIZATION TOURS

Included with the cost of registration. Pre-register to guarantee a space. Transportation will be provided from the Radisson Colonial Hotel.

Dungeons & Domes (Capacity: 35)

Come explore Helena’s rich history from the heights of the Montana State Capitol dome to the depths of the original jail cells in the Myrna Loy Center. From the Myrna, the group will continue on to the Montana Club with a tour from acclaimed Montana historian Ellen Baumler. Ellen will guide us through all six floors of Helena’s original gentleman’s club, ending with drinks in the basement event room, the Rathskellar.

Fired Up Downtown (Capacity: 30)

Fire up your chakra in downtown Helena before the conference begins! We’ll begin at the Dancing Lotus Center located in the historic Last Chance Gulch walking mall with a 30-minute introductory yoga class. After stretching out and breathing deep, our next stop will be the Painted Pot, where attendees will paint Montana-shaped ceramic pieces that will be fired and returned by the end of the conference. From here, we’ll head to the Great Northern Town Center and satisfy our taste buds with Bad Betty’s Barbecue smoked meats as well as a sampling from the newly re-branded Gulch Distillers. We will also stop in to Helena’s new printmaking studio, the Territorial Press.

Boulder & Brew (Capacity: 30)

A great way to work out your muscles after driving to Helena. Attendees will get to experience Helena’s brand new indoor climbing facility, Stonetree Climbing Center. From introductory level routes for beginners to more technical routes for more experienced climbers looking for a challenge, this tour is open to all ability levels. Certified instructors will be present for assistance. After exploring our new climbing and bouldering center, we’ll head across the street to the newly expanded Lewis and Clark Brewing Company for a tasting and tour. Comfortable climbing clothes recommended. Climbing shoes will be provided, as well as changing rooms if needed.

Guns & Greatness (Capacity: 35)

Celebrate the greatness of those who served and gave it all for our country. The Montana Military Museum displays the history of units deployed to conflicts around the world from Fort William Henry Harrison and around the state. It features impressive exhibits on the origins of the Special Forces, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and other information related to U.S. Army operations. Camp Rimini, the training ground for the famous World War II dog sled teams, is featured along with tanks, weapons, and a World War I troop railcar. After experiencing the museum, we will head over to the Full-Crew Interaction Simulation Trainer, where you will have the opportunity to experience the same training as those in the military receive.


5:306:30 PM | FIRST-TIME ATTENDEES "PRECEPTION"

Presenters: Dax Schieffer, Director, Voices of Montana Tourism; Sean Becker, Division Administrator, MOTBD; Jan Stoddard, Sales and Constituent Services Bureau Chief, MOTBD
Location: Capitol
Sponsor: Arrivalist

If you're attending the Governor's Conference for the first time, then you're invited to this exclusive "preception" to the Welcome Reception. After a brief introduction to the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development, learn how to get the most from the Governor's Conference before enjoying time to chat with MOTBD staff and other first-time attendees.


7:0010:00 PM | WELCOME RECEPTION: GOVCON

Location: Grand Ballroom
Sponsor: Glacier Park Inc.

Enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres, a costume contest, and live entertainment at this superhero-themed opening social event of the 2017 conference. Helena’s own Vanilla Gorilla will perform classic rock and country music to dance to. A photo booth and selfie spots will be available to capture the memories.

Dress up like your favorite character from the comics or your own Montana-themed character. Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes from the following categories:

  • Best Hero
  • Best Villain
  • Best Duo
  • Best Group
  • Most Original

Monday, March 13, 2017

7:30 AM–5:30 PM | REGISTRATION

Location: Meadowlark
Sponsor: National Geographic


8:309:45 AM | FEATURE PRESENTATION: THE SHARING ECONOMY AND THE FUTURE OF MOBILITY

Presenter: Brian Gebhardt, General Manager, Uber Montana
Location: Capitol/State
Sponsor: Xanterra

The sharing economy continues to influence tourism worldwide, and it's growing in Montana. Uber has been at the forefront of the sharing economy since 2009 and is now reinventing how people move throughout towns and cities. Listen to one of its key, regional executives address the latest sharing economy and urban mobility trends and opportunities, future predictions, and insights from Uber's launch in Montana.


9:4510:15 AM | EXHIBIT BREAK

Location: Back Lobby/Natatorium
Sponsor: Town Pump


10:1511:30 AM | FEATURE PRESENTATION: MANAGING THE CHALLENGES OF MOTHER NATURE

Moderator: Dr. Norma Nickerson, Director, Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research (ITRR)
Presenters: Brant Oswald, Brant Oswald Fly Fishing Services; Eileen Ryce, Division Administrator, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Fisheries Division; Leslie Feigel, Executive Director, Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce; Jeremy Sage, Economist, ITRR; Ryan Weiss, Public Access Specialist, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation
Location: Capitol/State
Sponsor: Montana State Parks/Montana State Parks Foundation

Montana is known for its spectacular unspoiled nature, but sometimes nature is unpredictable. This session will examine the August 2016 Yellowstone River closure as a case study for natural events disrupting tourism and recreation. Hear the details of the incident, how it affected the surrounding communities, and how to minimize any negative impacts of future disruptions resulting from natural events.


11:45 AM1:00 PM | MONTANA-GROWN LUNCHEON 

Presenter: Dan Wenk, Superintendent, Yellowstone National Park
Location: Grand Ballroom
Sponsor: Sojern

Special guest Dan Wenk will discuss the future of Yellowstone National Park.


1:154:15 PM | RESOURCE LAB

Location: Gallery
Sponsor: Destination Analysts

The Resource Lab will be full of experts representing a variety of programs and subjects. It will be open by appointment (15 minute time slots) during the breakout sessions or first-come, first-served during the exhibit breaks.


1:152:15 PM | BREAKOUT SESSIONS

MARKETING - Bots Don't Visit Montana; Humans Do

Moderator: Joe Ramler, Senior Economist, Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development
Presenter: Dr. Augustine Fou, Cybersecurity and Ad Fraud Researcher, Marketing Science Consulting Group, Inc.
Location: State
Marketing Track Sponsor: Rocky Mountain International

In this interactive session presented by video conference, hear about digital ad fraud and how it is wasting billions of advertisers' dollars. More importantly, learn how the fraudulent activity of bots — fake traffic, fake impressions, fake clicks — mess up your analytics. Independent ad fraud researcher Dr. Augustine Fou, a.k.a. "bot hunter," will share real-life case examples from his consulting work. Learn how to analyze your analytics for telltale signs of bots, take specific steps to protect yourselves from this kind of fraud and optimize your marketing to bring more humans to arrive in Montana!

EXPERIENCE - From Big Island to Big Sky (Also Offered Monday at 2:45 PM)

Presenters: Kainoa Daines, Director of Sales, Oahu Visitors Bureau; Keya Birdsbill-Camel, Water People Tours; Tim Ryan, Heritage Education Northwest; Toby and Liz Werk, Blue Heaven Guest Ranch; Rose Williamson, Indian Battle Tours
Location: Lewis
Experience Track Sponsor: Adara

The mountains and prairies of Montana may be a far cry from the beaches and palm trees of Hawaii, but both states are working to incorporate their cultural identities into their tourism products. Hear success stories and explore possible future applications.

TRENDS - Are You China Ready?

Moderator: Marlee Iverson, Travel Trade Manager, MOTBD
Presenters: Marysue Costello, Executive Director, West Yellowstone CVB; Rick Hoeninghausen, Director of Marketing and Sales, Xanterra; Jenn Thomsen, Assistant Professor of Society and Conservation, University of Montana
Location: Helena
Trends Track Sponsor: Voices of Montana Tourism

Are you seeing an increase of travelers from the Pacific Rim? China is projected to become the largest source market of international travel to the United States by 2019. Attend this session to learn from a panel of Montana businesses that are already being impacted by this new source market and how they are adjusting to better facilitate the visitor experience.

BUSINESS - Strength in Numbers: Creating Financial Value

Presenters: Lorene Hintz, Business Advisor, Billings Regional Small Business Development Center; Anya Petersen-Frey, Regional Director, Bozeman Regional Small Business Development Center
Location: Clark
Business Track Sponsor: Montana Small Business Development Center Network

Numbers aren't sexy, but understanding how to use your financials to make business decisions can be fun and give you a leg up on the competition. Join us for an interactive session that will allow you to play with numbers and see how small changes can have big impacts.

BUSINESS - High Impact Marketing on a Shoestring Budget (Also Offered Tuesday at 10:45 AM)

Presenter: Brandon Orr, Regional Director, Helena Regional Small Business Development Center
Location: Governor
Business Track Sponsor: Montana Small Business Development Center Network

Don't have the cash to spend on large marketing initiatives? No problem—there are plenty of high impact, low cost marketing options you can implement that effectively reach your target market and spread your marketing dollars. Learn best practices and strategic approaches to market on a shoestring budget.


2:152:45 PM | EXHIBIT BREAK

Location: Back Lobby/Natatorium
Sponsor: Explorer Media Marketing - NW Travel & Life Magazine + NW Digital Network


2:453:45 PM | BREAKOUT SESSIONS

MARKETING - Managing Your Online Reputation

Presenter: Phillip Giudice, Northwest Senior Sales Executive (DMO), TripAdvisor
Location: Clark
Marketing Track Sponsor: Rocky Mountain International

Business listings and user reviews at travel websites such as TripAdvisor significantly influence traveler perception. Learn how to manage your online reputation, get more reviews, respond to reviews, understand the most important factors driving traveler engagement and generally be the best possible steward of your third-party website content.

EXPERIENCE - Hike, Bike, and Wheel into Montana: Attracting and Serving the Active Visitor

Presenters: Kassia Randzio, Community Engagement Manager, Montana Wilderness Association; Melinda Barnes, Executive Director, Bike Walk Montana; Joe Stone, Joe Stone Foundation
Location: State
Experience Track Sponsor: Adara

Today’s travelers are looking for active vacations, ones where they can hike or bike all day and relax with great food and drinks at night. How can you build identity around the natural and cultural amenities in your region in order to attract more active visitors? And what can you do to prepare for them? Hear best practices and success stories from several organizations.

EXPERIENCE - From Big Island to Big Sky (Also Offered Monday at 1:15 PM)

Presenters: Kainoa Daines, Director of Sales, Oahu Visitors Bureau; Keya Birdsbill-Camel, Water People Tours; Tim Ryan, Heritage Education Northwest; Toby and Liz Werk, Blue Heaven Guest Ranch; Rose Williamson, Indian Battle Tours
Location: Lewis
Experience Track Sponsor: Adara

The mountains and prairies of Montana may be a far cry from the beaches and palm trees of Hawaii, but both states are working to incorporate their cultural identities into their tourism products. Hear success stories and explore possible future applications.

TRENDS - Tourism Outlook, Economics, and Activities: The Nonresident Visitor (Also Offered Tuesday at 10:45 AM)

Presenters: Dr. Norma Nickerson, Director, Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research (ITRR); Jeremy Sage, Economist and Associate Director, ITRR; Kara Grau, Associate Director of Economic Analysis, ITRR
Location: Governor
Trends Track Sponsor: Voices of Montana Tourism

Dr. Norma Nickerson and her staff will present ITRR's 2017 outlook for Montana’s tourism and recreation industry, plus two additional studies: How tourism impacts and is impacted by the economy and visitors in northeast Montana (Missouri River Country) as a case study for future understanding of Montana regional tourism; and what activities participated in by nonresidents in Montana provide us with the higher spending visitors.

BUSINESS - Employee Retention: The Real Cost to Your Business's Bottom Line

Presenter: Julie Jaksha, Regional Director, Butte Regional Small Business Development Center
Location: Helena

Business Track Sponsor: Montana Small Business Development Center Network

Happy employees ensure your business thrives! In this course, you will learn how to create a positive corporate culture by identifying larger business goals. Get tips on hiring smarter, keeping employees engaged, and handling employees' concerns or complaints before they interrupt production.


3:454:15 PM | EXHIBIT BREAK

Location: Back Lobby/Natatorium
Sponsor: Adara


4:155:30 PM | INDUSTRY NETWORK BREAKOUT

Attendees will divide into groups by industry segment for a focused and guided conversation about opportunities and challenges for their specific part of the tourism and recreation industry.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Location: Capitol

Recommended for attendees representing: bed and breakfasts, campgrounds/RV parks, hotels/motels

ATTRACTIONS

Location: State

Recommended for attendees representing: art galleries, museums, state/national parks and monuments

DESTINATIONS

Location: Lewis

Recommended for attendees representing: dude/guest ranches, resorts, ski areas

FOOD, BEVERAGE AND RETAIL

Location: Helena

Recommended for attendees representing: breweries/distilleries/wineries, gift shops, restaurants

RECREATION

Location: Governor

Recommended for attendees representing: guides, nonprofit organizations related to recreation/public lands, outfitters

VISITOR SERVICES

Location: Clark

Recommended for attendees representing: tour guides, transportation, visitor information centers


7:009:00 PM | MONTANA TOURISM AWARDS BANQUET

Presenter: Governor Steve Bullock
Location: Grand Ballroom
Sponsor: Hoffman York. Wine provided by Certified Folder Display Service, Inc.

Special guest Governor Steve Bullock will deliver brief remarks before awarding the winners of the 2017 Montana Tourism Awards.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

8:0011:45 AM | REGISTRATION

Location: Meadowlark
Sponsor: National Geographic


9:0010:15 AM | FEATURE PRESENTATION: MONTANA BRAND RESEARCH

Presenters: Erin Francis-Cummings, President/CEO, Destination Analysts; Jenny Pelej, Marketing Bureau Chief, MOTBD; Raylee Honeycutt, Consumer Marketing Manager, MOTBD
Location: Capitol/State
Sponsor: Adara

In 2016, MOTBD contracted with Destination Analysts to research Montana’s brand and audience. Hear the results and how these findings are being incorporated into the upcoming warm season marketing campaigns.


10:1511:45 PM | RESOURCE LAB

Location: Gallery
Sponsor: Destination Analysts

The Resource Lab will be full of experts representing a variety of programs and subjects. It will be open by appointment (15 minute time slots) during the breakout sessions or first-come, first-served during the exhibit breaks.


10:1510:45 AM | EXHIBIT BREAK

Location: Back Lobby/Natatorium
Sponsor: Town Pump


10:4511:45 AM | BREAKOUT SESSIONS

MARKETING - The Montana Brand

Presenters: Dave Hanneken, Executive Creative Director, Hoffman York; Jan Stoddard, Sales and Constituent Services Bureau Chief, MOTBD
Location: Governor
Marketing Track Sponsor: Rocky Mountain International

Take the MOTBD research results to a deeper level by understanding the competitive landscape and "awareness" challenge, what is the profile of the high potential visitor, and where and how to reach them.

EXPERIENCE - Exploring the Intersection of Heritage, History, and Tourism

Moderator: Pam Gosink, Executive Director, Montana Dude Ranchers' Association
Presenters: Molly Kruckenberg, Research Center Manager, Montana Historical Society; Dr. Sally Thompson, Cultural Heritage Consulting; Kris Komar, Bitterroot Cultural Heritage Trust
Location: State
Experience Track Sponsor: Adara

Kris Komar, representing the Bitterroot Cultural Heritage Trust, will discuss the convergence of three national historic trails (Lewis and Clark, Nez Perce, and Ice Age) and how the Bitterroot is developing tourism around them. Molly Kruckenberg will introduce attendees to the Montana Historical Society's new app and website, ExploreBig: Montana's Historic Places, which shares the history and architecture of buildings, neighborhoods, and cultural sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Finally, Dr. Sally Thompson will demonstrate the potential for tourism development along heritage trails of Montana through “history mysteries.”

TRENDS - Virtual Reality and 360 Imagery as Marketing Tools and Experiences

Presenters: Keith Brown, Montana Adventure Stop; Pat Doyle, Marketing and Communications Manager, Montana State Parks; Tim Lewis, InsideMT 
Location: Helena
Trends Track Sponsor: Voices of Montana Tourism

Learn the basics of virtual reality and 360-degree video, then hear how some Montana businesses are using these technologies both for promotion and as a visitor experience - and how you might, too.

BUSINESS - High Impact Marketing on a Shoestring Budget (Also Offered Monday at 1:15 PM)

Presenter: Brandon Orr, Regional Director, Helena Regional Small Business Development Center
Location: Lewis
Business Track Sponsor: Montana Small Business Development Center Network

Don't have the cash to spend on large marketing initiatives? No problem—there are plenty of high impact, low cost marketing options you can implement that effectively reach your target market and spread your marketing dollars. Learn best practices and strategic approaches to market on a shoestring budget.

TRENDS - Tourism Outlook, Economics, and Activities: The Nonresident Visitor (Also Offered Monday at 2:45 PM)

Presenters: Dr. Norma Nickerson, Director, Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research (ITRR); Jeremy Sage, Economist and Associate Director, ITRR; Kara Grau, Associate Director of Economic Analysis, ITRR
Location: Clark
Trends Track Sponsor: Voices of Montana Tourism

Dr. Norma Nickerson and her staff will present ITRR's 2017 outlook for Montana’s tourism and recreation industry, plus two additional studies: How tourism impacts and is impacted by the economy and visitors in northeast Montana (Missouri River Country) as a case study for future understanding of Montana regional tourism; and what activities participated in by nonresidents in Montana provide us with the higher spending visitors.


12:00 PM1:30 PM | MONTANA-GROWN LUNCHEON & SHARK TANK

Location: Grand Ballroom
Hosted by: Montana Small Business Development Center Network
Sponsors: Big Sky Economic Development, Montana Department of Transportation Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program, Northwestern Energy, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, Washington Corporations, Accelerate Montana - University of Montana, Bear Paw Development Corporation, Flathead Valley Community College, Headwaters RC & D Area, Montana State University - Jake Jabs College of Business, Stewart Title


Small businesses are the lifeblood of the tourism and recreation industry. What better way to celebrate their impact than by welcoming three entrepreneurs to the Governor's Conference stage? Enjoy Montana-grown foods while you watch the Montana SBDC's annual Shark Tank live pitch business plan competition.

More than 25 contestants applied, 15 contestants presented, but only three contestants will compete to win a $5,000 first place prize, a $2,500 second place prize, and a $1,000 third place prize to make their dream a reality! Each contestant will have three minutes followed by six minutes of Q & A. Cheer on the 2017 Shark tank finalists!


MONTANA OFFICE OF TOURISM AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT | MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
301 S. PARK AVE. | P.O. BOX 200533 | HELENA, MT 59620-0533 |  T: (406) 841-2870 |  F: (406) 841-2871 | TDD: (406) 841-2702