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Please evaluate the 2016 South Dakota Governor's Conference on Tourism.

It really was MONUMENTAL and we’re glad so many industry members joined us. We hope everyone had a great time learning, networking and having fun! Be sure to mark your calendars now for the 2017 conference, January 17-19.

Visit SDVisit.com for videos, handouts and other information presented during the 2016 conference.

#BeMonumental

 

Why Travel Matters to South Dakota

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  • Daugaard is the 32nd Governor of the State of South Dakota. Always an advocate for South Dakota’s tourism industry, he personally promotes South Dakota as a premier vacation destination for visitors from across the U.S. and around the world. He will speak Thursday during the Awards Night Gala.

    Dennis Daugaard

    Governor

  • Michels is South Dakota’s 38th Lieutenant Governor. Previously, he represented District 18 in the South Dakota Legislature, serving as Speaker Pro Tempore and as Speaker of the House. He will emcee the Awards Night Gala.

    Matt Michels

    Lieutenant Governor

  • Jim has served as the Secretary of the Deptartment of Tourism since 2011. He is passionate about seeing the state's travel industry grow to new heights. He serves on the Executive Board of the U.S. Travel Association and the National Travel and Tourism Advisory Board.

    Jim Hagen

    Secretary of Tourism

  • Christine delivers an action-packed, content-rich program. For more than 15 years, she has motivated audiences from around the world. She is an authority on sparking innovative ideas, handling conflict, reducing stress and energizing employees. 

    Christine Cashen

    Keynote Speaker

  • Billy uses an unusual blend of comedy, music, magic, training and motivation to spread his positive attitude to audiences on five continents. He moves people to action, improved attitudes, turbocharged service and sales, and changes lives. 

    Billy Riggs

    Keynote Speaker

  • As a long time travel industry associate, Doug knows the ins and outs of destinations and has counseled DMOs around the world. He is an author of 10 books, Travel Channel host, editor and contributor for many travel publications, and speaker.

    Doug Lansky

    Keynote Speaker

  • As the President and Founder of the Family Travel Association, Rainer has dedicated himself to be an advocate for family travel as an essential part of every child’s education. He aims to establish a unified voice that will help change the way families travel. Learn more about FTA.

    Rainer Jenss

    Breakout Speaker

  • Daniel meshes his background in human resource training and hospitality management to lead workshops about how to be “China Ready.” He focuses on helping businesses understand the expectations Chinese have while traveling. Learn more about BRIC Marketing Group.

    Daniel Crain

    Breakout Speaker

  • Barry gets business owners growing again by unlocking their forgotten potential. With decades of entrepreneurial experience, Barry has discovered the formula to get stuck business owners unstuck and marching forward.

    Barry Moltz

    Breakout Speaker

  • Ross is the Founder & CEO of Matador Network, the world's largest independent travel media company. He works with brands such as Visa, General Motors, and Google, as well as destinations such as Brand USA, Visit California and Visit Utah on custom content and branded video projects. Learn more about Matador.

    Ross Borden

    Breakout Speaker

  • SMARInsights was commissioned by the Department of Tourism to provide a visitor profile to learn more about who is coming to South Dakota, what influences them to travel, and what perceptions they have about South Dakota. Learn more about SMARInsights.

    Alisha Valentine

    Breakout Speaker

  • South Dakota’s National Park Service representatives will brief attendees on how the industry can join the centennial celebrations for the upcoming 100th anniversary of the National Parks and the 75th anniversary of Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

    National Park Service

    Breakout Session

  • Michael is the Director of Industry Relations and Political Engagement for the U.S. Travel Association. He oversees the travel industry’s grassroots network for Power of Travel Coalition advocating to protect and promote travel to and within the United States. Learn more about U.S. Travel.

    Michael Jacobson

    Luncheon Speaker

  • Cait is the Director of Communications for the Project: Time Off initiative. She drives communication strategy and influencer engagement. In her first year, she’s proud to report she used every minute of her paid time off. Learn more about U.S. Travel.

    Cait DeBaun

    Luncheon Speaker

  • During a 30-year career as a lobbyist, Lorin has represented tourism, healthcare, gaming, local government and other organizations. He will provide the VIA briefing during the Destinations Luncheon.

    Lorin Pankratz

    Luncheon Speaker

1:00pm - 6:00pm
Registration

Location: Ramkota Lobby

7:00pm - 9:00pm
Opening Evening Reception

South Dakota’s beer, wine and spirits scene is growing quickly and catching the attention of our visitors. Tonight is your chance to join friends and colleagues to savor the flavors being made in our great state. So go ahead, have a taste or two, and make a toast to a monumental conference.

7:00am - 4:00pm
Registration

Location: Ramkota Lobby

Wednesday Attire: Business Logo Apparel Day

7:30am - 8:30am
Breakfast

Location: Courtyard at the Ramkota

8:00am - 5:00pm
Networking Lounge

Stop in to check email, catch up on work, or use this space as a place to hold small meetings with colleagues. 

8:45am - 10:15am
Keynote Address

 
Get What You Want With What You’ve Got – Christine Cashen

The fact is: we are all forced to do more with less – fewer staff, declining resources, and 40 hours of stuff to do in a 24-hour day. This can really wear us down and negativity can spread like wildfire. Learn how to be part of the solution, not part of the problem by taking your communication skills to the next level. Get great techniques on how to deal with difficult people and discover how to raise your energy level in a snap. Christine will share her secret to getting what you want with what you’ve got, and she’ll show you that you have what it takes to make a difference in your workplace and life. Discover practical and creative strategies for having less stress and more fun.

10:15am - 10:45am
Networking Break

Location: Ramkota Lobby

10:45am - 11:45am
Breakout Sessions #1

 
Understanding What Traveling Families Want – Rainer Jenss
Did you know that family and multigenerational travel represents more than one-third of all leisure travel and is one of the fastest growing segments in the travel industry? Find out what’s behind this important trend and what suppliers, destinations and the media can and are doing to grow their business.

You’ll hear from Rainer, the president and founder of the Family Travel Association as he unveils the results of a new groundbreaking research study on this market just released by the FTA and New York University. The FTA is a coalition of the leaders in family and multi-generational travel, including the South Dakota Department of Tourism, coming together to inspire families to travel and advocate for travel to be an essential part of every child’s education

China Ready – Daniel Crain
With the tremendous growth of Chinese travelers to the United States, it is essential that the visitor industry in South Dakota understands their expectations. The objective of this breakout session is to better educate industry partners and stakeholders to achieve cultural awareness and the knowledge necessary to provide culturally appropriate service to the Chinese visitor.

Keep Your Friends Close and Your Competitors Closer: Why Competition Helps – Barry Moltz
Most small businesses hate competition and think it stinks. They see competitors as stealing customers and forcing them to lower their prices. But having a formidable competitor can actually help your business. In this session, you will learn how competition will force you to understand who your customers are and what they want, encourage your business to innovate and collaborate, and how it can improve your customer service which will gain you more loyal followers.

12:00pm - 1:30pm
Lunch & Department of Tourism Briefing

Join the Secretary of the Department of Tourism, Jim Hagen, as he briefs attendees during this luncheon. Jim will provide a recap of the 2015 season and marketing efforts and hint at what’s ahead for 2016.

1:45pm - 2:45pm
Breakout Sessions #1 (repeat)

 
Understanding What Traveling Families Want – Rainer Jenss
Did you know that family and multigenerational travel represents more than one-third of all leisure travel and is one of the fastest growing segments in the travel industry? Find out what’s behind this important trend and what suppliers, destinations and the media can and are doing to grow their business.

You’ll hear from Rainer, the president and founder of the Family Travel Association as he unveils the results of a new groundbreaking research study on this market just released by the FTA and New York University. The FTA is a coalition of the leaders in family and multi-generational travel, including the South Dakota Department of Tourism, coming together to inspire families to travel and advocate for travel to be an essential part of every child’s education

China Ready – Daniel Crain
With the tremendous growth of Chinese travelers to the United States, it is essential that the visitor industry in South Dakota understands their expectations. The objective of this breakout session is to better educate industry partners and stakeholders to achieve cultural awareness and the knowledge necessary to provide culturally appropriate service to the Chinese visitor.

Keep Your Friends Close and Your Competitors Closer: Why Competition Helps – Barry Moltz
Most small businesses hate competition and think it stinks. They see competitors as stealing customers and forcing them to lower their prices. But having a formidable competitor can actually help your business. In this session, you will learn how competition will force you to understand who your customers are and what they want, encourage your business to innovate and collaborate, and how it can improve your customer service which will gain you more loyal followers.

2:45pm - 3:15pm
Networking Break

Location: Ramkota Lobby

3:15pm - 4:45pm
Keynote Address

Positively Magical Service – Billy Riggs

In today’s competitive business market, successful businesses know that the most effective and least expensive way to distinguish their company from the competition is to provide mind-boggling customer service. In a dazzling combination of illusions and education, world-class magician Billy reveals the secrets of rendering Positively Magical Service. Discover how to keep customers coming back again and again and how to motivate underperforming employees.

7:30pm - 10:30pm
Evening Event

Rockin' 75 Years with the Mount Rushmore Society
Join the Mount Rushmore Society as they celebrate the 75th anniversary of the completion of Mount Rushmore National Memorial! Enjoy heavy hor d’oeuvres, rocking music and more as we celebrate what this Memorial has meant to South Dakota!

7:00am - 3:00pm
Registration

Location: Ramkota Lobby

Thursday Attire: Business Casual

7:30am - 8:30am
Breakfast

Location: Courtyard at the Ramkota

8:00am - 3:00pm
Networking Lounge

Stop in to check email, catch up on work, or use this space as a place to hold small meetings with colleagues. 

8:30am - 10:00am
Keynote Address

What the Smartest Destinations Are Doing Right – Doug Lansky

Travel writer and tourism advisor, Doug Lansky, teaches hotels, tour companies, attractions, destinations, and entire industries how to think about tourism and marketing in a new way. Regardless of the level of success you have achieved in the last 10 years, much of what brought you there is unlikely to carry you to the place you want to be 10 years from now. The landscape is shifting and evolving for DMOs, which means that all who play in this arena are going to need to be prepared for shift. With international tourism now topping one billion travelers and looking to double within 15 years, many attractions are full during peak season and need to figure out how to extend their season, not grow it.  So, what is the role of the DMO?

10:00am - 10:30am
Networking Break

Location: Ramkota Lobby

10:30am - 11:30am
Breakout Sessions #2

 
Using Content to Drive Website Traffic, Social Engagement and Bookings – Ross Borden
In this session, Ross from MatadorNetwork.com will share secrets and insights into the importance of content as a driver of traffic, brand loyalty and lead-generation and discuss subjects ranging from Google Analytics to the ever changing priorities one should have in social media. Learn why content should be your single most important marketing objective for 2016 and how to seed that content to your target audience.

Who Are All These Visitors? – Alisha Valentine
How do we know who is coming to South Dakota? We ask! This session will share results from a study commissioned with SMARInsights by the Department of Tourism to provide key insights about our visitors such as who they are, how they plan, how they travel and their general perceptions of our state. Alisha brings the perspective of a destination marketer to her role in data analysis and reporting. As a former marketing director for a state travel organization, she understands the kinds of actionable information tourism clients need.

A Centennial Celebration – National Park Service
The National Park Service is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016. Travelers from around the globe are encouraged to “Find Your Park” in 2016 and beyond. South Dakota is home to six National Park Service units and, with this monumental year for both the NPS and Mount Rushmore National Memorial, it is bound to be an impactful year in terms of visitation. Learn from our NPS superintendents and their teams about what they are planning for the centennial – from parades and special events to new tours and tidbits. South Dakota’s visitor industry is encouraged to support these centennial efforts to increase visitation across the state.

11:45am - 1:30pm
Destinations Luncheon

 
Join us as we celebrate destinations across South Dakota! During this luncheon, the Visitor Industry Alliance (VIA) and the U.S. Travel Association will give updates on what’s ahead for the 2016 travel and tourism industry within South Dakota and internationally. Loren Pankratz will provide the VIA update and Michael Jacobson and Cait DeBaun will speak on behalf of the U.S. Travel Association.

1:45pm - 2:45pm
Breakout Sessions #2 (repeat)

 
Using Content to Drive Website Traffic, Social Engagement and Bookings – Ross Borden
In this session, Ross from MatadorNetwork.com will share secrets and insights into the importance of content as a driver of traffic, brand loyalty and lead-generation and discuss subjects ranging from Google Analytics to the ever changing priorities one should have in social media. Learn why content should be your single most important marketing objective for 2016 and how to seed that content to your target audience.

Who Are All These Visitors? – Alisha Valentine
How do we know who is coming to South Dakota? We ask! This session will share results from a study commissioned with SMARInsights by the Department of Tourism to provide key insights about our visitors such as who they are, how they plan, how they travel and their general perceptions of our state. Alisha brings the perspective of a destination marketer to her role in data analysis and reporting. As a former marketing director for a state travel organization, she understands the kinds of actionable information tourism clients need.

A Centennial Celebration – National Park Service
The National Park Service is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016. Travelers from around the globe are encouraged to “Find Your Park” in 2016 and beyond. South Dakota is home to six National Park Service units and, with this monumental year for both the NPS and Mount Rushmore National Memorial, it is bound to be an impactful year in terms of visitation. Learn from our NPS superintendents and their teams about what they are planning for the centennial – from parades and special events to new tours and tidbits. South Dakota’s visitor industry is encouraged to support these centennial efforts to increase visitation across the state.

2:45pm - 3:15pm
Networking Break

Location: Ramkota Lobby

3:15pm - 4:30pm
Regional Tourism Presentations

Join the four regional tourism directors as they host this session to recap 2015 marketing efforts, initiatives and partnerships. They will discuss the benefits of belonging to an association and the marketing opportunities they offer their members.

5:30pm - 7:00pm
Social

Location: Ramkota Lobby

7:00pm - 10:00pm
Awards Night Gala

Join the Governor and First Lady for an exciting and memorable event celebrating South Dakota’s visitor industry. The evening will be filled with dining, merriment, laughter and an award presentation along with a reveal of the final economic impact numbers from the year. A ticket for the Awards Night Gala is included with your conference registration. Legislators are considered registered guests. 

Gala Wear: Formal/Semi-Formal/Business Attire

Opening Reception

Tuesday, January 19

07:00PM – 09:00PM

South Dakota’s beer, wine and spirits scene is growing quickly and catching the attention of our visitors. Tonight is your chance to join friends and colleagues to savor the flavors being made in our great state. So go ahead, have a taste or two, and make a toast to a monumental conference. Attire: Casual

Rockin' 75 Years with the Mount Rushmore Society

Wednesday, January 20

07:30PM – 10:30PM

Join the Mount Rushmore Society as they celebrate the 75th anniversary of the completion of Mount Rushmore! Enjoy heavy hors d'oeuvres, rocking music and more as we celebrate what this Memorial has meant to South Dakota. Attire: Casual

Awards Night Gala

Thursday, January 21

05:30PM – 09:30PM

Join the Governor and First Lady for an exciting and memorable evening celebrating South Dakota’s visitor industry. A ticket for the Awards Night Gala is included with with conference registration. The social will be from 5:30-7 p.m. Attire: Formal/Semi-Formal/ Business Attire

The annual South Dakota Governor's Conference on Tourism is fully supported by sponsorships, registration fees, and by exhibitors. These businesses and organizations offer valuable information, expertise and opportunities for conference attendees. We appreciate their participation!

Exhibitor Booths
  • AAA Magazines
  • AAA Multimedia Marketing
  • Association of South Dakota Museums
  • Badlands National Park
  • Bed & Breakfast Innkeepers of South Dakota
  • Boomerang Management Enterprises
  • Certified Folder Display Service
  • City of Sturgis Rally & Events
  • Crazy Horse Memorial
  • Custer State Park and Resort
  • Dakotafire Media
  • Deadwood Chamber & Visitors Bureau
  • Department of Consumer Sciences, SDSU
  • Falls Agency
  • Madden Media
  • Maly Marketing
  • Maximum Promotions
  • Meredith Travel Marketing/Midwest Living
  • Midwest Meetings
  • Miles Media
  • Missouri National Recreational River
  • Mount Rushmore Society
  • Nahan Printing
  • Nanonation
  • National Park Trips
  • Omaha World-Herald
  • Pine Ridge Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Populace, Inc.
  • Prairie Berry Winery
  • PryntComm
  • Reliant Media Solutions
  • Robert Sharp and Associates
  • Rocky Mountain International
  • Rural Electric Economic Development, Inc.
  • Rush Mountain Adventure Park
  • Sanford Health
  • SD GF&P Aquatic Invasive Species Program
  • SD Small Business Development Center
  • Sisseton Promotion Board
  • South Dakota Hall of Fame
  • South Dakota Hotel & Lodging Association
  • South Dakota National Parks
  • South Dakota Newspaper Association
  • South Dakota Opportunity Group
  • South Dakota Retailers Association
  • StarTribune
  • Sturgis Buffalo Chip
  • The Wrap Agency/Clean Slate Group
  • Tourism & Hospitality Management, BHSU
  • TripAdvisor
  • Visitor Magazine
  • Wicoti Tiwahe Youth Camp
  • With the Wind Vineyard & Winery
  • Xanterra Parks and Resorts
Made in South Dakota Exhibitors
  • Belle Joli Winery
  • Folklore Foods/Dakota Maid
  • Jewelry Designs by Morgan
  • Mama Peacock, LLC
  • Pip’s Squeaky Clean Soaps
  • Prairie Moon Herbs
  • Say Anything Jewelry
  • SD Chic Beads
  • SD Historical Society Press
  • Thru Our Eyes Photos
  • Wild Idea Buffalo Company