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2017 Conference on Tourism a Success!

May 17, 2017
View photos from the Conference
View/download speaker presentations
Read about the RedBud Awards Gala
2017 Oklahoma Conference on Tourism a Success!

Tourism professionals from across the state gathered on May 16, 2017 for the Oklahoma Conference on Tourism, an annual event that helps Oklahoma's tourism industry work together to grow our attractions and communities. Between OTIA's Annual Meeting, eleven educational sessions, a trade show, networking opportunities, and the RedBud Awards gala, attendees had a great time!

The event kicked off on May 15, with an OTIA Board of Directors and Annual Meeting, welcoming OTIA’s newest officers and giving old friends a chance to catch up before an early morning the next day.

The beautiful Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University served as the setting for Tuesday's daytime educational schedule. Board member Kin Thompson served as emcee, beginning the opening session by welcoming attendees to the Conference and introducing Lt. Governor Todd Lamb, who spoke about his passion for Oklahoma and welcomed the Keynote Presenter, Steve Chandler of, who talked about communities coming together and “place branding” their destination.

Mid-morning, attendees were able to choose between four concurrent workshops, and all were jam packed. Steve Chandler explained the fundamental approach to branding destinations in today’s environment, “Common Sense Branding.” Mike Fullerton of Brand USA spoke about utilizing Brand USA’s marketing campaign to bring international visitors to Oklahoma. Lee Warnock of ORANGE142 covered “Digital Advertising Best Practices” and how to measure things like conversions, tract time on pages, and best utilize Google Analytics, and Stacy Tomas, PhD with OSU-HRAD went over strategies for creating new and unique packages for tourists.

Hardly a seat was empty as OTIA Chair Sandy Pantlik opened the luncheon by introducing Nelson Gumm with AAA Oklahoma, partner for the Lifetime Achievement Award which was presented at the RedBud Awards Gala later that evening. The luncheon keynote was delivered by Michael Jacobson of the U.S. Travel Association, who discussed the future of the travel industry under President Trump.

The afternoon was filled with four more concurrent workshops. Patti Beth Anderson of Good to Go gave a great presentation on making your destination place more of an attraction. Tourism Currents’ Sheila Scarborough demonstrated connecting with meeting/event planners and tour operators via social media. ORANGE142’s Lee Warnock went over the basics of search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, website blog content, and social media content development, and Jessica Bybee-Dziedzic of Saffire showed attendees the best online, smart phone & tablet tools and apps to help improve businesses and lives! 

The afternoon wrapped up with a Keynote Presentation featuring Jennifer Mullins with the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department, who showed everyone how to "Harness the Power of OTRD and Put it to Work for You" by using OTRD's resources to calibrate messaging and maximize audiences.

More than twenty exhibitors were set up throughout the building, happy to visit with conference attendees and review their products and services during the breaks. The 2017 Oklahoma Conference on Tourism would not have been made possible without the help of these exhibitors or our many wonderful partners. Thank you all so much for helping to put on a successful event. 

Thanks also to our many Silent Auction Donors:
American Road Magazine
Ardmore Tourism Authority
Armstrong Auditorium
Bartlesville Convention & Visitors Bureau
Certified Folder Display Service, Inc.
Choctaw Casino & Resort
Duncan Convention & Visitors Bureau
Edmond Convention & Visitors Bureau
Erin McDaniels/Choctaw Store
Green Country Marketing Association
Midwest Living/Meredith Travel Marketing
OKC Convention & Visitors Bureau
Okie Noodling
Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon
Oklahoma Travel Industry Association
PostOak Lodge & Retreat
The Oklahoman Media Company
True West Magazine
Tulsa Convention & Visitors Bureau
Visit Enid
Visit Stillwater
Will Rogers Memorial Museum
Woodward Convention & Visitors Bureau

The day wrapped up around 4:30, when attendees were released to make their way to the Oklahoma History Center for the annual RedBud Awards Gala. 

What's Happening
The Oklahoma Conference on Tourism is an annual event that helps Oklahoma's tourism industry work together to grow our attractions and communities. The Oklahoma Conference on Tourism is held in conjunction with the RedBud Awards.
As you may be aware, the White House released its much-anticipated infrastructure proposal on February 12, which sets the stage for action on Capitol Hill. Improving and modernizing our nation's travel infrastructure is a long-held priority that U.S. Travel shares with many elected officials. A summary of the administration's proposal is available here, and an outline of several travel-related provisions can be found here.
The hospitality industry is the driving force in Oklahoma’s economy, generating enormous tax revenues, providing jobs for hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans, and giving time and money back to their communities. OTIA members recently visited with legislators to show them the economic impact our industry has on the state and distributed an Oklahoma Hospitality Industry "At a Glance" leave-behind.
America’s travel industry remains strong and poised for growth in 2018. In this video message, U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow reflects on last year's successes and challenges and looks forward to key opportunities ahead.

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