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2018 Oklahoma Conference on Tourism a Success!

May 17, 2018
View photos from the Conference
View/download speaker presentations
Read about the RedBud Awards Gala
2018 Oklahoma Conference on Tourism a Success!

Tourism professionals from across the state gathered on May 14 and 15, 2018 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 14, with a special seminar on Destination Marketing & Management presented by Mark Thompson, Visit Plano and Cristy Morrison, Visit Stillwater. Attendees then moved to the 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. Lt. Governor Todd Lamb opened the Conference, speaking about his passion for Oklahoma and welcomed the Keynote Presenter, author Piyush Patel, who talked about ways to overhaul a company culture and make your office a place everyone loves to work.

Mid-morning, attendees were able to choose between four concurrent workshops, and all were jam packed. Jon Skelly of Journey Media explained how to identify identify the heroes, villains, and a few surprise characters as you write your organization's "story." Gary Alexander of Huddle Up Group, LLC spoke about best and worst practices of sports tourism marketing in a session sponsored by the Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau. Casey Burdsall of ADARA covered “Metrics That Matter” and how to evaluate your marketing program's success, and Lindsey Wilkes with Orange142 went over strategies for reaching audiences in the age of connected-TV devices.

Hardly a seat was empty as OTIA Chair Maria Gus and past Chair Kin Thompson opened the luncheon by introducing the keynote speaker, Pam Inman of the National Tour Association, who discussed group travel marketing tactics.

The afternoon was filled with four more concurrent workshops. Jessica Bybee-Dziedzic of Saffire gave a great presentation on maximizing your mobile marketing. Smirk New Media’s Mike Koehler demonstrated the changes in algorithm tweaks and audience expectations as related to digital marketing and social media. Madden Media’s Addy Coleman went over the basics of creating effective cooperative marketing programs, and Holly Russell of AJR Media Group showed attendees how to get the most bang for your digital advertising buck! 

The afternoon wrapped up with a Keynote Presentation featuring Jennifer Mullins with the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department, who showed everyone how to use data to track marketing effectiveness and the economic impact to Oklahoma.

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 2018 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 
  • Ardmore Tourism Authority
  • Certified Folder Display Services, Inc.
  • Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism
  • Choctaw Nation Tourism
  • City of Pauls Valley
  • CrowdRiff Inc.
  • Edmond Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Green Country Marketing Association
  • McAlester Tourism
  • Meredith Corporation
  • Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum
  • Oklahoma Travel Industry Association
  • Ponca City Chamber of Commerce
  • Saffire
  • Sapulpa Chamber & Visitors Bureau
  • Skirvin Hilton Hotel
  • The Oklahoman 
  • VisitNorman
  • 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 nomination form for the annual RedBed Awards is now available! This event recognizes Oklahoma tourism attractions, destination marketing organizations and journalists for their outstanding efforts to serve and promote Oklahoma's tourism industry. The deadline to apply for the RedBud Awards is March 1, 2019 and the ceremony will be held during the Oklahoma Conference on Tourism on May 7.
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.
Last year more than 705 million vacation days went unused. How can we help America put those vacation days to use? By encouraging them to PLAN. Research shows that individuals who plan are more likely to use all of their time off, take more vacation days at once and report greater levels of happiness at work and at home. Let's get Americans to commit their time off for the rest of the year at the start of the year! Oklahoma's destination have something to offer everyone!
Hundreds of association members recently attended an informational session on the "New Alcohol Laws Coming your Way," presented by attorney Adam Marshall with Barrow & Grimm. The 2-hour session covered the details of the new law, which goes into effect October 1. Mr. Marshall kindly shared his presentation for those who were unable to attend.

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