Topping The Charts!

2019 Tennessee Governor's Conference
On Hospitality and Tourism


Wednesday 9/4/19, 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Fundamentals of Tourism Super Seminar
An Introduction to Tourism and Destination Management 

Led by a number of industry professionals, the Fundamentals of Tourism Super Seminar is specifically designed for individuals who are new to the industry (5 years or less) but is also open to industry veterans who want a refresher course in the basics of tourism and destination management.  This seminar is free for all conference attendees;  to assist us in planning, you do have to register for the Super Seminar when you register for conference.

HERE for more information on the Fundamentals Super Seminar.


Thursday 9/5/19 Breakfast Keynote

The Spirit of Hospitality
A Deep Dive into the Vital Ingredients of World-Class Customer Service

Larry Stuart
Managing Partner, LS Hospitality

When it comes to hospitality and guest and/or visitor service excellence, Larry Stuart literally wrote the book on the subject - The Spirit of Hospitality - the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to encourage others through his passion for hospitality-driven excellence and servant leadership.  In this presentation, Larry will share with us his unique leadership recipe showing how, with the right ingredients, you and your team can LOVE your customers, SERVE them unconditionally, and WIN their hearts. 





Thursday 9/5/19 Morning Breakout Session

Intellectual Property & Usage Rights In Tourism
How To Insure You Are Protected


In the world of sharing, it's easy to engage on social media, share photos, be inspired by a logo, play a song, or search for a new font.  But do you have the rights to share or use what you find?  Are you protected from others using your property?  Learn about the most common issues on intellectual property in tourism and what you should do to protect your organization and your stakeholders.  This session will cover the most commonly used intellectual property issues such as what you need to know about trademarks, logos, brands, images and copyrights; legal issues regarding sharing, such as what you put on social media, copying and pasting a picture, song, video, document, or web page; and understanding how to protect yourself when working with user-generated content.

J.P. Urban
Asst. Attorney General
TN Attorney General's Office

Leo Leung
V. P. Customer Success

Sara Beth Urban

Middle TN Manager
TN Dept. of Tourism

Alicia C. B. Widrig
General Counsel
TN Dept. of Tourism

Thursday 9/5/19 Morning Breakout Session

Striking A Chord In Your Community
Tennessee Songwriters Week Grows

Learn how to create opportunities for a successful Tennessee Songwriters Week in your community with panelists like The Bluebird Cafe’s longtime open mic night host, Barbara Cloyd. Plans are underway to expand special programming, open mic nights, in-the-rounds, songwriter showcases, educational workshops, and potential qualifying rounds in 2020. Last year, the inaugural kickoff earned 6.3 million impressions, with 30 statewide events in 17 counties and 250+ songwriter submissions.

























Barbara Cloyd
Bluebird Café

Kathy Dumont
Commodore Hotel & Music Café

Jill Kilgore
Public Relations Media Manager
TN Dept. of Tourism

Angie Wilson
Senior Director of Marketing
Visit Knoxville

Sonia Outlaw-Clark

Executive Director
West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center
Visit Brownsville

Thursday 9/5/19 Morning Breakout Session

Tourism Marketing Co-Ops
Made In Tennessee

Tennessee Tourism partners asked for more lead time to budget for TDTD marketing co-ops – we have been listening and the request has been met! Come to this breakout session to learn about eight different marketing co-op programs open to all tourism partners for 2020-2022.


The annual co-op marketing program provides all tourism partners the opportunity to leverage TDTD media investments to extend the reach of their budgets through discounted rates on marketing programs. The collective push from the state and other partners results in greater media exposure with higher impact and broader reach. Vendors include: Arrivalist, Crowdriff, Southern Living, National Geographic Traveler, Sojern, Expedia, Orange 142 and Matcha.


Will Crockett
Social Media Manager

TN Dept. of Tourism

Nekasha Pratt
Director of Marketing
TN Dept. of Tourism

Kelly Price
Connections Supervisor

Thursday 9/5/19 Morning Breakout Session

Digital Storytelling
Creative Content is King

Digital stories are a sure-fire way to get travelers interested in visiting your community. This session will help you “mine the quirks” of your community to spark digital story ideas. You’ll learn how to craft online content around your unique attractions, leverage your social media presence, get more mileage out of your existing content, and the best tips and tools to create engaging digital stories that will resonate with potential visitors.


Jessy Yancey
Managing Editor. Tennessee Home & Farm
Journal Communications

Winona Dimeo-Ediger
Journal Communications

Thursday 9/5/19 Lunch Keynote

Taking Your Online Presence
From One-Hit-Wonder to Top-of-the-Charts!

Susan Sweeney, CA, CSP
Internet Marketing Expert and Dean, eLearning University

Tourism marketing is radically changing year after year. In this mobile-dominated, hyper-automated and digitally-connected world, tourism businesses need to know how to enhance the classics and embrace new marketing opportunities to achieve and sustain online success. In this session, best-selling author Susan Sweeney will share an inspirational address that will stimulate you to re-examine your approach to everything you do online.


Thursday 9/5/19 Afternoon General Session

To Sell It, You Gotta' Say It!
Nothing Gets Done Without Communication

Sue Hershkowitz-Coore
President, High Impact Presentations

Too many people think just because they’ve emailed, phoned, or presented their destination or  hospitality business' pitch, that their message has been heard. Too many professionals believe it’s enough to provide content when really it’s all about the intent, experience, and care.  Whether it’s dealing with digital disruption, prospecting and getting results in an age of information overload, or using verbal communication skills to tell your story to connect and engage, this presentation will give you fresh, practical tools to gain the competitive advantage and be at your best! 


Thursday 9/5/19 Afternoon General Session

Great Online Gadgets, Tools, and Resources
"Bet-You-Didn't Know" Deliverables To Do More!

Susan Sweeney, CA, CSP
Internet Marketing Expert and Dean, eLearning University

In this fast-paced session Susan Sweeney, Internet marketing expert and the author of eight Internet marketing books including 101 Ways to Promote Your Web Site and Social Media for Business will take you on a whirlwind tour of the latest and greatest online tools and
resources (most of them free) that you can use to market more effectively; wow your web site, social media and mobile visitors; check on the competition;  improve your conversion; save time; and do more business!  


Friday 9/6/19 Breakfast Keynote

State of the Industry Address
Featuring Updates On The Programs of the TDTD

Mark Ezell
Commissioner, Tennessee Dept. of Tourist Development

Tennessee has enjoyed significant tourism gains over the past several years and the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development continues to work diligently to capitalize on these gains and ensure our state’s continued tourism success. Commissioner Ezell will present an informative overview of the state of the tourism industry in Tennessee, provide an update on TDTD's programs and services, and will share a glimpse of the Department's new initiatives. 


Friday 5/6 /19 Morning General Session

Connecting Industry Resources With Your Interests and Needs

Industry Leaders and Professionals

A unique addition to this year's conference!  During this session, attendees will have the opportunity to meet with leaders from various aspects of the tourism industry as well as their peers in informal discussion groups that will cover a wide variety of topics including: marketing, sales, public relations/promotion, government relations, advertising, tourism funding, and more.  In addition, this session will provide attendees with a final opportunity to meet with exhibitors to learn how their products and services can assist them in their work. 


Friday 9/6/19 Morning General Session

Accessible Travel: It's So Much More Than ADA!
Understanding How Travelers with Physical Disabilities and
Reduced Mobility Can and Do Impact Your Bottom Line

Brett Heising
Founder/CEO, BrettApproved.Com

The disability travel market is often viewed through the perspective of legal compliance but overlooked as a real opportunity for destinations, hotels, restaurants, attractions, and other travel-related businesses.  According to a study commissioned by the Open Doors Organization, adults with disabilities in the U.S. spend $17.3 billion a year on leisure and business travel. Over the two years before the study, 26 million adults with disabilities took 73 million trips.  During this presentation, Brett Heising will discuss the growing economic impact of travelers with physical disabilities, shatter some preconceived notions, discuss common issues that affect  physically challenged travelers, and explain how you can attract and properly service this emerging and potentially profitable market.


Friday 9/6/19 Lunch Keynote

Governor's Address to the Industry
Featuring the Latest Economic Impact of Tourism Figures

Bill Lee (Invited)
Governor, State of Tennessee

In his first address to the Tennessee Tourism Industry since his election in 2018, Governor Bill Lee will share his perspective on and vision for tourism in Tennessee.  During his address, Governor Lee will also be announcing the latest economic impact figures for tourism, the state's second largest industry and a major contributor to Tennessee's economic well-being.

Prospective Speakers Information:
All of the Keynote, General Session, and Breakout Educational Session speakers for the
2019 TnHTA Tennessee Governor's Conference on Hospitality and Tourism have been selected. 
If you are interested in future speaking opportunities, click HERE.

WMA and Capitol