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 may be subject to change.

Breakout Session Tracks

To help you maximize your Governor's Conference experience, we've organized breakout session content into four optional tracks: MARKETING, DESTINATION DEVELOPMENT, RESEARCH & TRENDS, and BUSINESS. Each track features three unique breakout sessions. Attend all three of a single track, or mix and match from multiple tracks.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

9:00 AM–NOON | TOURISM ADVISORY COUNCIL MEETING

Location: Lamar/Gibbon


NOON–8:00 PM | REGISTRATION

Location: Firehole Lounge

Sponsor: Windfall


2:005:00 PM | FAMILIARIZATION TOURS

Included with the cost of registration. Pre-register to guarantee a space. Transportation will be provided from Big Sky Resort.

The Gallatin Way to Yellowstone (Capacity: 35)

Big Sky is rich in history, particularly in the development of the Gallatin Canyon as a result of tourism to America’s first national park: Yellowstone. Join us for an excursion to the 110-year-old 320 Guest Ranch homestead to hear about the history of the Gallatin Way, otherwise known as US 191, with long-time local and author Duncan Patton. His new book, "The Gallatin Way to Yellowstone," will be released in late May 2018, so join us for an insider’s sneak peek. Later, quench your thirst with a spectacular view of the Gallatin River with drinks at the Gallatin Riverhouse Grill. You will truly find yourself in paradise with a view.

Homesteads to Huntley (Capacity: 35)

Learn how Big Sky evolved from frontier homesteads and sheep ranches to a summer and winter outdoor recreationist’s dream—all under the visionary guidance of native Montana journalist Chet Huntley. Join us as we follow in the footsteps of history, with a stop at the Historic Crail Ranch Homestead Museum and then on to Lone Peak Cinema to view the documentary "Homesteads to Huntley" in the heart of Big Sky’s Town Center. The theater hosts a full bar, so feel free to enjoy a libation during the event. The tour concludes at Beehive Basin Brewery, a local watering hole we think Chet might have enjoyed, before returning to the lodge that still today bares him name.

Big Sky Trail Trek (Capacity: 35)

Join Visit Big Sky, the Gallatin River Task Force, and Big Sky Community Organization for a guided hike to the iconic Ousel Falls. This 1.6-mile round trip hike meanders through impressive woods over the scenic Gallatin River and ends at the 100-foot waterfall. Learn about the ecological history of the area with your guides, and stop to take plenty of photos along the way. Afterward, enjoy a refreshing beer at one of Big Sky’s local breweries, Lone Peak Brewery.

Ranch and Relaxation (Capacity: 50)

Named as one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World, Lone Mountain Ranch is full of Big Sky spirit. Join us to unwind your body and mind with vinyasa style yoga in the original B-K Lodge with breathtaking views of the spectacular wilderness. Following the relaxation session, experience some warm and welcoming hospitality with ranch-style spirits and locally sourced, farm-to-table hors d’oeuvres on the outdoor patio of The Saloon.


3:305:30 PM | BED & BREAKFAST ASSOCIATION MEETING

Location: Lamar/Gibbon


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

Presenters: Dax Schieffer, Director, Voices of Montana Tourism; Jan Stoddard, Industry Services and Outreach Bureau Chief, MOTBD

Location: Gallatin

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: LET THE GAMES CONTINUE!

Location: Missouri Ballroom

Sponsor: Pursuit

The 2018 Winter Olympics might’ve ended in February, but the games continue at the 2018 Governor’s Conference! (After all, Big Sky is one of Montana’s premier destinations for winter sports.) Enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres, music, games, and a costume contest.

Shane Doyle will share the gift of a hand drum honor song for the opening ceremony before party-style games begin, with the traditional gold, silver, and bronze medals up for grabs. Create a team with your friends or members of your organization/community, or come as an individual participant or spectator. Sign up on-site to participate.

Dress up like a Winter Olympics athlete or spectator for a chance to win the costume contest. Prizes will be awarded for the best individual participant, team, and spectator costumes. You don’t have to participate in the games to participate in the costume contest.

A photo booth complete with Winter Olympics backgrounds and props will be available to capture the memories from atop the podium.

Monday, April 16, 2018

7:30 AM–5:30 PM | REGISTRATION

Location: Firehole Lounge

Sponsor: Windfall


8:309:45 AM | FEATURE PRESENTATION: TALK TRIGGERS - TURN YOUR CUSTOMERS INTO VOLUNTEER MARKETERS

Presenter: Jay Baer, President, Convince and Convert

Location: Missouri Ballroom

Sponsor: Xanterra

In this fast-paced, timely, dynamic presentation, Jay combines expert marketing strategy with his customer experience excellence framework, to showcase how any business can turn customers into advocates.

With hilarious and poignant storytelling, Jay teaches attendees the three primary ways to use customer experience to trigger word-of-mouth marketing, illustrates mistakes to avoid, and inspires audiences to put new strategies into practice immediately.


9:4510:15 AM | EXHIBIT BREAK

Location: Yellowstone Conference Center Hall

Sponsor: Town Pump

Enjoy a snack while you network with exhibitors and other attendees, or stop by the Resource Lounge.


9:4510:15 AM | RESOURCE LOUNGE

Location: Firehole Lounge

Sponsor: Destination Analysts

Meet and greet with experts representing a variety of programs and subjects.


10:1511:15 AM | BREAKOUT SESSIONS

MARKETING - International Market Update

Moderator: Marlee Iverson, International Travel Trade Manager, MOTBD

Presenters: Jenni Bridgman, Account Director, KBC PR and Marketing (United Kingdom); Caroline Davidson, Principal/Director, Davidson Communications (Australia, New Zealand); Mako Sakaguchi, Representative, State of Montana Japan Trade Office (Japan); Susanne Schmitt, Account Manager, Lieb Management (Austria, Germany, Switzerland)

Location: Dunraven/Obsidian

Marketing Track Sponsor: Rocky Mountain International

MOTBD's international representatives work closely with tour operators and media from their respective markets. This session features updates from UK, Australian, German, and Japanese representatives on the latest travel trends of international visitors, as well as a Q & A session. Learn what appeals to international visitors and best practices to reach them.

MARKETING - The Six Steps to a Successful Digital Marketing Plan (Also Offered Monday at 2:45 PM)

Presenter: Aaron Nissen, Digital Marketing Strategist, Simpleview

Location: Amphitheater

Marketing Sponsor Track: Rocky Mountain International

The most successful digital marketing plans include six steps: research > creation > optimization > amplification > testing > reporting and analysis. This session will focus on the most challenging part of the digital marketing cycle: creation and amplification. Take your digital marketing plan to the next level with a mix of new and traditional strategies designed to encourage engagement, build influencers, and grow your online audience.

DESTINATION DEVELOPMENT - Destination Development Recipes for Success

Moderator: Jan Stoddard, Industry Services and Outreach Bureau Chief, MOTBD

Presenters: Becky Garland, President, Blackfoot Pathways - Sculpture in the Wild; Linda Haywood, Women for a Better Sanders County; Alan Myers-Davis, Director of Development, Whitefish Legacy Partners; Kevin O’Dwyer, Artistic Director/Curator, Blackfoot Pathways - Sculpture in the Wild; Heidi Van Everen, Executive Director, Whitefish Legacy Partners; Cary Woodruff, Director of Paleontology, Great Plains Dinosaur Museum

Location: Lake/Canyon

Destination Development Track Sponsor: Arrivalist

Destination development via tourism product and infrastructure development is increasingly recognized as vital to long-term sustainability. Learn from the stories of four very different (but all successful) destination development initiatives that have made an impact in their communities.

RESEARCH & TRENDS - The Latest in Montana Tourism: Trends, Economic Outlook, Spending, and the Value of Recreational Trails (Also Offered Tuesday at 10:15 AM)

Presenters: Dr. Norma Nickerson, Director, Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research (ITRR); Dr. Jeremy Sage, Economist and Associate Director, ITRR; Kara Grau, Assistant Director of Economic Analysis, ITRR

Location: Lamar/Gibbon

Research & Trends Track Sponsor: Pandora

The team at the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research will walk you through the latest Montana travel findings, including a look back at 2017, the outlook for 2018 and visitor spending, as well as a brief view of the value recreational trails can provide local communities and economies.

BUSINESS - Buy the Numbers: Understanding Cash Flow and Break Even

Presenters: Shandy Hanks, Regional Director, Wolf Point SBDC; Julie Jaksha, Regional Director, Butte SBDC

Location: Cheyenne

Business Track Sponsor: Montana Small Business Development Center Network

A business needs to know how much to produce in order to cover its costs and make a profit. This course will discuss the importance of understanding the financial health of your business through break even and cash flow analysis.


11:30 AM12:45 PM | KEYNOTE LUNCHEON 

Presenters: Casey Lozar, Business Technical Assistance Bureau Chief, MOTBD; Beth Shumate, Division Administrator, Montana State Parks; Rachel VandeVoort, Director, Montana Office of Outdoor Recreation

Location: Missouri Ballroom

Sponsor: Sojern

Hear the latest updates from tribal tourism, Montana State Parks, and the new Office of Outdoor Recreation.


1:002:15 PM | FEATURE PRESENTATION: AN OUTDOOR LIFE IS A LIFE WELL LIVED - IT'S ALSO GOOD FOR THE HEART, SOUL, AND THE ECONOMY

Presenter: Marc Berejka, Director of Government and Community Affairs, REI

Location: Missouri Ballroom

Sponsor: Montana State Parks

The folks at REI believe that a life outdoors is a life well lived. That ethos has infused the co-op since its founding 80 years ago. It remains core to its now 16 million members and across the 150 stores in its fleet.

An increasing body of evidence is demonstrating why the outdoors is so good for you—so good for us. Research shows us that time in the outdoors improves our physical and mental health. Access to the outdoors binds us more tightly together as a community. It increases our sense of commitment to the long-term health of our natural surroundings.

Economic analysis also shows that the outdoors attracts not only tourists to great destinations, but also businesses, knowledge workers, and retirees. The outdoor recreation economy recently was found to make up over two percent of national GDP.

Mr. Berejka will walk through some of the more recent, compelling research and speak to how the outdoors is emerging as a strong, sustainable contributor to economic health in both urban and rural settings.


2:152:45 PM | EXHIBIT BREAK

Location: Yellowstone Conference Center Hall

Sponsor: Town Pump

Enjoy a snack while you network with exhibitors and other attendees, or stop by the Resource Lounge.


2:152:45 PM | RESOURCE LOUNGE

Location: Firehole Lounge

Sponsor: Destination Analysts

Meet and greet with experts representing a variety of programs and subjects.


2:453:45 PM | BREAKOUT SESSIONS

MARKETING - The Six Steps to a Successful Digital Marketing Plan (Also Offered Monday at 10:15 AM)

Presenter: Aaron Nissen, Digital Marketing Strategist, Simpleview

Location: Amphitheater

Marketing Track Sponsor: Rocky Mountain international

The most successful digital marketing plans include six steps: research > creation > optimization > amplification > testing > reporting and analysis. This session will focus on the most challenging part of the digital marketing cycle: creation and amplification. Take your digital marketing plan to the next level with a mix of new and traditional strategies designed to encourage engagement, build influencers, and grow your online audience.   

DESTINATION DEVELOPMENT - Becoming Film Friendly to Attract Production (and Revenue) to Your Community

Moderator: Allison Whitmer, Commissioner, Montana Film Office

Presenters: Will Brewster; Gayle Fisher, Executive Director, Central Montana; Deb Kowalzek, General Manager, Yellowstone Pioneer Lodge; Rob Story

Location: Dunraven/Obsidian

Destination Development Track Sponsor: Arrivalist

Film, including commercials, television, and features, is a year-round, multimillion-dollar business in Montana. A warm welcome and expert assistance may help your community to be "film friendly." Hear from Montana location scouts and resident experts on how to translate your grand vistas and close-up adventures into revenue.

RESEARCH & TRENDS - Engagement Redefined: Capturing Attention in Our Voice-First, Audio-Led World

Presenter: Laura Fernandez, Director of Tourism, Pandora 

Location: Lake/Canyon

Research & Trends Track Sponsor: Pandora

We live in a world where voice is the new touch thanks to advancements in technology such as smartphones, smart speakers, smart TVs, and connected cars. Seventy-nine percent of audio consumption now takes place where visuals cannot reach consumers. Laura Fernandez, Director of Tourism at Pandora, will discuss what this means for marketers and why DMOs need to embrace new technologies to drive visitation.

BUSINESS - Tax Reform: Be in the Know!

Presenters: Lorene Hintz, Business Advisor, Billings SBDC; Dena Johnson, Regional Director, Billings SBDC

Location: Lamar/Gibbon

Business Track Sponsor: Montana Small Business Development Center Network

This course will give insight into the new tax law and how it could affect your business. It will discuss strategies to help you optimize your plan with best practices going forward.

BUSINESS - Optimizing Your Online Presence (Also Offered Tuesday at 10:15 AM)

Presenters: Alex Evans, Regional Director, Miles City SBDC; Jason Nitschke, Regional Director, Great Falls SBDC

Location: Cheyenne

Business Track Sponsor: Montana Small Business Development Center Network

This course discusses best practices as well as details related to setting a budget, understanding your customer, where to locate online, and how to craft a message that motivates action.


3:454:15 PM | EXHIBIT BREAK

Location: Yellowstone Conference Center Hall

Sponsor: Town Pump

Enjoy a snack while you network with exhibitors and other attendees, or stop by the Resource Lounge.


3:454:15 PM | RESOURCE LOUNGE

Location: Firehole Lounge

Sponsor: Destination Analysts

Meet and greet with experts representing a variety of programs and subjects.


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. Feel free to choose whichever segment you best identify with.

DESTINATIONS AND ATTRACTIONS

Location: Dunraven/Obsidian

LODGING AND HOSPITALITY

Location: Amphitheater

OUTDOOR RECREATION

Location: Lake/Canyon

TRIBAL TOURISM

Location: Lamar/Gibbon

VISITOR SERVICES

Location: Cheyenne


6:007:00 PM | MONTANA TOURISM AWARDS RECEPTION

Location: Missouri Ballroom

Sponsor: Visit Big Sky

As anticipation builds for the 2018 Montana Tourism “Oscars” Awards Banquet, Visit Big Sky invites you to get the star treatment in the "Green Room Pre-Awards Reception." The Green Room is a staple of any Hollywood awards ceremony—a place where celebrities can mix and mingle before the big event. Enjoy Green Room goodies that’ll give you a taste of Big Sky and make you feel like a star!


7:009:00 PM | MONTANA TOURISM AWARDS BANQUET

Presenter: Lt. Governor Mike Cooney

Location: Missouri Ballroom

Sponsor: Hoffman York

Special guest Lt. Governor Mike Cooney will deliver brief remarks before the Oscars-style presentation of the 2018 Montana Tourism Awards. Some attendees choose to dress up for this celebratory event, but no specific attire is requested.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

7:3011:15 AM | REGISTRATION

Location: Firehole Lounge

Sponsor: Windfall


8:309:45 AM | FEATURE PRESENTATION: DISCOVER THE MOMENT

Presenters: Erin Francis-Cummings, President/CEO, Destination Analysts; Emily Dold, VP/Media Director, Hoffman York; Raylee Honeycutt, Consumer Marketing Manager, MOTBD

Location: Missouri Ballroom

Sponsor: Adara

See how science and creativity come together to make the state’s tourism marketing campaigns a success. MOTBD and its partners will present on audience research, creative decisions, and fine-tuned media strategies that have built the most recent tourism marketing campaigns.


9:4510:15 AM | EXHIBIT BREAK

Location: Yellowstone Conference Center Hall

Sponsor: Town Pump

Enjoy a snack while you network with exhibitors and other attendees, or stop by the Resource Lounge.


9:4510:15 AM | RESOURCE LOUNGE

Location: Firehole Lounge

Sponsor: Destination Analysts

Meet and greet with experts representing a variety of programs and subjects.


10:1511:15 AM | BREAKOUT SESSIONS

MARKETING - Crisis Communications in a Wild World

Presenters: Lisa Jones, President, LJ Communications; Brian Schott, President, Buckshot Enterprises

Location: Dunraven/Obsidian

Marketing Track Sponsor: Rocky Mountain International

The public relations team of Lisa Jones and Brian Schott have learned the ropes of crisis communications over the past 20 years. But 2017 took the cake for the most challenging year in Whitefish. It included the threat of a Neo Nazi armed march through town, historic wildfires impacting businesses and visitors, and cyber terrorist death threats to school staff and students. This seasoned duo will share PR lessons and tips on how to deal with your crisis du jour and share 10 steps for any business or organization to prepare for crisis communications.

DESTINATION DEVELOPMENT - Agritourism: Connecting Tourists to Agricultural Experiences

Moderator: Steph Hystad, Marketing Officer, Montana Department of Agriculture

Presenters: Chris Christiaens, Special Projects, Montana Farmers Union; Dr. Pat McGlynn, County Extension Agent, Montana State University Flathead County Extension; Kaleena Miller, Program Manager, Alternative Energy Resources Organization; Trina Smith, Guest Services Supervisor, B Bar Ranch; Lonie Stimac, Made in Montana Program Manager, MOTBD; Leslie Witter, Owner, Root to Rise Gardens

Location: Lake/Canyon

Destination Development Track Sponsor: Arrivalist

Agritourism is the intersection of agriculture and tourism, two of Montana’s leading industries. 2017 was a big year for this emerging industry: HB342 added agritourism to the state’s inherent risk clause, and AERO published an agritourism resource manual for beginning operators. So what is agritourism, what does success look like, and how can you encourage and promote agritourism in your community? Join us to learn best practices from B Bar Ranch and Root to Rise and get ideas from resource specialists to develop this growing tourism opportunity.

RESEARCH & TRENDS - Montana Insights from Arrivalist

Presenters: Matt Clement, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, Arrivalist; Joe Ramler, Senior Economist, MOTBD; Benjamin Gill, Economist, MOTBD

Location: Lamar/Gibbon

Research & Trends Track Sponsor: Pandora

Real-time analytics tools are gleaning new insights into the state’s tourism marketing strategy. Learn how the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development is utilizing research tools like Arrivalist to craft and analyze effective and efficient marketing strategies.

RESEARCH & TRENDS - The Latest in Montana Tourism: Trends, Economic Outlook, Spending, and the Value of Recreational Trails (Also Offered Tuesday at 10:15 AM)

Presenters: Dr. Norma Nickerson, Director, Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research (ITRR); Dr. Jeremy Sage, Economist and Associate Director, ITRR; Kara Grau, Assistant Director of Economic Analysis, ITRR

Location: Amphitheater

Research & Trends Track Sponsor: Pandora

The team at the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research will walk you through the latest Montana travel findings, including a look back at 2017, the outlook for 2018 and visitor spending, as well as a brief view of the value recreational trails can provide local communities and economies.

BUSINESS - Optimizing Your Online Presence (Also Offered Monday at 2:45 PM)

Presenters: Alex Evans, Regional Director, Miles City SBDC; Jason Nitschke, Regional Director, Great Falls SBDC

Location: Cheyenne

Business Track Sponsor: Montana Small Business Development Center Network

This course discusses best practices as well as details related to setting a budget, understanding your customer, where to locate online, and how to craft a message that motivates action.


11:30 AM12:45 PM | KEYNOTE LUNCHEON

Location: Missouri Ballroom

Sponsor: Hagadone Digital

The spotlight is on Montana’s tourism regions for the closing luncheon of the 2018 Governor’s Conference.


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