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Plan now to attend the 2017 South Dakota Governor's Conference on Tourism.

This conference is dedicated to visitor industry marketing, education and trends. By attending, you'll have the opportunity to network with more than 600 of your peers from across South Dakota and the United States. The conference kicks off Tuesday evening, January 17, with the opening reception. The full conference begins Wednesday morning with a keynote session and it runs through Thursday’s Awards Night Gala.

Learn more about all of our speakers by clicking on their photos, below. In the days ahead, check this site for additional information and updates.

For information about how to become a sponsor or exhibitor, visit SDVisit.com.

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. The Governor will speak Thursday during the Awards Night Gala.

    Dennis Daugaard

    Governor

  • Michels is South Dakota’s 38th Lieutenant Governor. 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 Department of Tourism since 2011. He is passionate about seeing the travel industry in South Dakota 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 will provide the annual tourism briefing on Wednesday.

    Jim Hagen

    Secretary of Tourism

  • Jonah is a marketing professor who has spent 15+ years studying how social influence works and how it drives products and ideas to catch on. Dr. Berger examines the behavioral science that underlies the behaviors of consumers and individuals for why some products/ideas get more word of mouth than others. See more about Jonah.

    Jonah Berger

    Keynote Speaker

  • Laurie is a member of the National Speakers Association and is a Certified Speaking Professional who blends real-life examples with proven action steps. Laurie’s humor and wisdom will make you want to visit her ideas daily. Learn more about Laurie.

    Laurie Guest

    Keynote Speaker

  • Clayton is considered one of the travel industry’s top minds in destination marketing and strategic planning. He is responsible for MMGY Global’s overall vision and global day-to-day management. See more about MMGY Global.

    Clayton Reid

    Keynote Speaker

  • Melissa is the National Director for Meredith Travel Marketing. As an industry leader in tourism content marketing, Melissa and her team deliver public sector tourism partners best-in-class marketing programs across many media platforms. See more about Meredith Travel Marketing.

    Melissa Luebbe

    Breakout Speaker

  • Phil is a Senior Sales Executive on the Destination Marketing team at TripAdvisor. He has executed custom, digital marketing campaigns for more than 300 DMOs spanning the United States. See more about TripAdvisor.

    Phil Giudice

    Breakout Speaker

  • Bob has been developing media strategies for clients in markets around the world for 20 years. At MMGY Global, Bob works with traditional and digital media groups to develop plans for reaching consumer markets and key travel intermediaries. Learn more about MMGY Global.

    Bob Frohoff

    Breakout Speaker

  • George brings more than two decades of experience in tourism destination marketing and research to the Longwoods team and its clients. He has consulted with numerous state tourism offices as well as many CVBs. Learn more about Longwoods International.

    George Zimmermann

    Breakout Speaker

  • Mike is the director of public affairs at Brand USA, the nation’s public-private partnership dedicated to increasing international visitation to the United States through marketing and promotional efforts. Learn more about Brand USA.

    Mike Fullerton

    Luncheon Speaker

1:00pm - 6:00pm
Registration

Location: Ramkota Lobby

7:00pm - 9:00pm
Opening Reception

(More details coming soon.)

6:30am - 8:30am
Breakfast

Location: Courtyard at the Ramkota

7:00am - 4:00pm
Registration

Location: Ramkota Lobby

Wednesday Attire: Business Logo Apparel Day

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. 

8:30am - 8:45am
Opening Remarks

Join us as we set the foundation for the 2017 conference.

8:45am - 10:15am
Keynote Address

 
Why Things Catch On – Jonah Berger

Ever wonder why some destinations catch on and become popular? Or why people talk about some locations more than others? This talk reveals the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission. Discover how six basic principles drive popularity and learn how to leverage these ideas to bring in more visitors.

10:15am - 10:45am
Networking Break

Location: Ramkota Lobby

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

Building Out the Perfect Marketing Mix – Bob Frohoff
Small businesses, major CVBs, and destinations all have the same questions when considering marketing strategy: “What are the best mediums to reach our audience with our budget?” In this session, Bob will unlock the secret to the most effective media mix and share the latest media usage trends.

Using Research to Build the Future – George Zimmermann
Join George as he presents Longwoods International’s findings on the large scale ROI study recently conducted measuring the effectiveness of the South Dakota Department of Tourism’s advertising. Hear also how consumers in our target markets perceive our destination and how the marketing we do impacts economic development efforts.

If You Build It, They Will Come – Innovation Panel
Building for the Future is being done all over South Dakota in many ways. Learn from a few of our industry partners and colleagues on what they are doing to stay ahead of the game and guarantee they are staying relevant and top of mind for travelers in the years ahead.

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 2016 season and marketing efforts and hint at what’s ahead for 2017.

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

Building Out the Perfect Marketing Mix – Bob Frohoff
Small businesses, major CVBs, and destinations all have the same questions when considering marketing strategy: “What are the best mediums to reach our audience with our budget?” In this session, Bob will unlock the secret to the most effective media mix and share the latest media usage trends.

Using Research to Build the Future – George Zimmermann
Join George as he presents Longwoods International’s findings on the large scale ROI study recently conducted measuring the effectiveness of the South Dakota Department of Tourism’s advertising. Hear also how consumers in our target markets perceive our destination and how the marketing we do impacts economic development efforts.

If You Build It, They Will Come – Innovation Panel
Building for the Future is being done all over South Dakota in many ways. Learn from a few of our industry partners and colleagues on what they are doing to stay ahead of the game and guarantee they are staying relevant and top of mind for travelers in the years ahead.

2:45pm - 3:15pm
Networking Break

Location: Ramkota Lobby

3:15pm - 4:45pm
Keynote Address

Life in the Espresso Lane – Laurie Guest

This fast-paced, fun and interactive program will give you tools to plan for the future of your organization and you’ll leave with a renewed sense of energy for your job. You’ll learn practical mental lattes, ideas you can serve yourself any time you need to get your perk on.

7:00pm - 10:30pm
Evening Event

Building Our Future on Our Historic Past
2017 marks the bicentennial of Fort Pierre. The community invites attendees to don their favorite Western wear, cross the river to Drifters Event Center and celebrate this special anniversary year.

6:30am - 8:30am
Breakfast

Location: Courtyard at the Ramkota

7:00am - 4:00pm
Registration

Location: Ramkota Lobby

Thursday Attire: Business Casual

8:00am - 4:00pm
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

Conventional Wisdom in Travel Marketing – Clayton Reid

In the travel industry, we are all sometimes guilty of following age-old conventions that lead us to miss market opportunities. In his keynote presentation, MMGY CEO Clayton Reid will discuss key insights about travelers, travel trends and marketing technology that might require thinking about your brand differently.

10:00am - 10:30am
Networking Break

Location: Ramkota Lobby

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


Building Better Service, One Encounter at a Time – Laurie Guest
Many businesses feel they already have customer service under control. Laurie has found that in most cases, businesses are not making the most of their customer encounters or taking advantage of opportunities that cost nothing, but have a huge impact on their bottom-line. This session will highlight key areas and tools needed to ensure your business is scoring high in customer engagement.

Redefining the Female Traveler – Melissa Luebbe
Get a detailed look into travel trends and behaviors, specifically calling out statistical differences between generations (millennials, Gen X, boomers), women and moms. This session will focus on women’s vacation preferences, engagement with vacation planning resources, and culinary tourism activities.

Building Your TripAdvisor Reputation – Phil Giudice
Each month, millions of travelers come to TripAdvisor to plan and book their perfect vacation. In this reputation management session you will learn tools and tricks to ensure that your business maintains a strong reputation on TripAdvisor, and how those ideas can be applied across your entire business.

11:45am - 1:30pm
Destinations Luncheon

Join us as we celebrate destinations across South Dakota! During this luncheon, the U.S. Travel Association, Brand USA and the Visitor Industry Alliance (VIA) will give updates on what’s ahead for travel and tourism in 2017.

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


Building Better Service, One Encounter at a Time – Laurie Guest
Many businesses feel they already have customer service under control. Laurie has found that in most cases, businesses are not making the most of their customer encounters or taking advantage of opportunities that cost nothing, but have a huge impact on their bottom-line. This session will highlight key areas and tools needed to ensure your business is scoring high in customer engagement.

Redefining the Female Traveler – Melissa Luebbe
Get a detailed look into travel trends and behaviors, specifically calling out statistical differences between generations (millennials, Gen X, boomers), women and moms. This session will focus on women’s vacation preferences, engagement with vacation planning resources, and culinary tourism activities.

Building Your TripAdvisor Reputation – Phil Giudice
Each month, millions of travelers come to TripAdvisor to plan and book their perfect vacation. In this reputation management session you will learn tools and tricks to ensure that your business maintains a strong reputation on TripAdvisor, and how those ideas can be applied across your entire business.

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 2016 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 - 9:30pm
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 a presentation of awards, along with a reveal of the final economic impact numbers from 2016. 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 17

7:00PM – 9:00PM

(Check back, more details to be shared soon.) Attire: Casual

Building Our Future on Our Historic Past

Wednesday, January 18

7:00PM – 10:30PM

2017 marks the bicentennial of Fort Pierre. The community invites attendees to don their favorite Western wear, cross the river to Drifters Event Center and celebrate this special anniversary year. Attire: Casual (Western wear encouraged)

Awards Night Gala

Thursday, January 19

5:30PM – 9:30PM

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 Multimedia Marketing
  • Badlands National Park
  • Bed & Breakfast Innkeepers of South Dakota
  • Boomerang Management Enterprises
  • Casey Peterson & Associates
  • Certified Folder Display Service
  • Crazy Horse Memorial
  • Custer State Park & Reorts
  • Deadwood Chamber & Visitors Bureau
  • DESIGNWORKS
  • Embroidery & Screen Works
  • H&A Media Group/AAA Magazines
  • Maly Marketing
  • Maximum Promotions
  • Meredith Travel Marketing/Midwest Living
  • Michels Communications
  • Midwest Meetings
  • Miles Partnership/Brand USA Originals
  • Miner Brewing Company
  • Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
  • Missouri National Recreational River
  • Nahan Printing
  • Nanonation, Inc.
  • Pine Ridge Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Prairie Berry Winery
  • Rapid City Regional Airport
  • Robert Sharp & Associates
  • RootsRated
  • Rural Electric Economic Development, Inc.
  • SD Small Business Development Center
  • Sisseton Area Chamber of Commerce
  • South Dakota Hall of Fame
  • South Dakota Hotel & Lodging Association
  • South Dakota Magazine
  • South Dakota National Parks
  • South Dakota Newspaper Association
  • South Dakota Opportunity Group
  • South Dakota Retailers Association
  • StarTribune
  • STR
  • Sturgis Buffalo Chip
  • Tourism and Hospitality Management, BHSU
  • Watertown Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Xanterra Parks and Resorts
Made in South Dakota Exhibitors
  • ...by Christie
  • Canaan Creations
  • Designs by Sharon
  • Dove Creek Designs
  • Joyce Wheeler Books
  • Mama Peacock, LLC
  • Molly Noem Fulton
  • RE ->
  • The Adventure Seekers Saga
  • Thru Our Eyes Photos
  • White Owl Wings