2023 Conference Schedule

The 2023 Full Program Schedule will be announced in the fall!

2023 Digital Marketing Program

Over the last year, there have been a wide variety of changes in the digital marketing landscape. We’re here to help you stay up to date on trends, build useful skills, and employ digital strategies that achieve your goals.
The *** indicates classes specifically designed to help destination marketers AND local businesses, attractions, and experiences.

2023 Day 1


8:00 am Registration 

8:30 am Networking & Introductions 

9:00 am Welcome 

9:15 am 2023 Tourism & Destination Marketing Trends 
Keynote Presentation, Sarah Benoit

10:15 am Break

10:30 am Concurrent Breakout Sessions

  1. TBD
  2. Six Easy Steps to Refresh, Reimagine, and Retool Your Brand
    Michelle Owens, Director of Visit Hendersonville, and Barbara Karasek, CEO of Paradise Advertising & Marketing Inc.
    Visit Hendersonville and Paradise present a case study with examples and first-hand perspectives, plus six easy steps to refresh, reimagine, and retool your destination’s brand. From brand image, creative, and messaging, to website integration, and partner and stakeholder collaboration, the Visit Hendersonville insights and six key takeaways will be beneficial for destinations of any size and with varying levels of internal and external resources.
  3. Top Social Media Advertising Trends for Tourism & Travel
    Olivia Ward, OnWard Digital Media 
    Social media advertising spending is projected to reach $227 billion in 2024, how can your destination stand out from other advertisers? Attend this session to learn how to effectively reach and convert visitors by leveraging the top social media advertising trends for travel and tourism.  

11:45 am Lunch

12:00 pm Sponsor Panel 

1:15 pm Concurrent Breakout Sessions

  1. The ABC’s of Data Literacy
    Kristin Thompson, Zartico 
    Many of us feel obligated to become instant data experts, but are secretly uncomfortable with the basics– What does “data” really mean, and how do we actually master the key skill of data literacy? Get the quick start guide to how to understand and communicate data. Leave with confidence in how to deal with the data in your life.
  2. Preparing for and Dealing with the Unexpected
    Chris Cavanaugh, Magellan Strategy Group
    September 11. The Great Recession. A global pandemic. So-called “black swan” events have had a devastating impact on us in the last two decades. No amount of preparation could have prepared the tourism sector (or the world) for any of those events, but there are certain steps you can take to prepare for more modest changes in the environment. We’ll discuss strategies and tactics that you can implement and some of the weak signals in the marketplace that will impact your business.
  3. Zapier Basics & Effective Marketing Automation – Learning Lab
    Sarah Benoit, JB Media Institute, and Jake Kennon, JB Media Group
    Automation is a powerful strategy when it comes to making your marketing more efficient and effective, but making the right choices about automation can be difficult and confusing. Zapier is a tool that allows many brands to connect various software programs together without sacrificing the personalization they need to stand out and succeed online. Join Sarah and Jake as they explore Zapier, a tool used to make marketing and communication simpler for marketers and their audiences. Learn how you can make automation work for you so you save time, but still build authentic relationships.

2:30 pm Break

2:45 pm Concurrent Breakout Sessions

  1. Google Analytics 4 – Learning Lab
    with Sarah Benoit, JB Media Institute
    In 2023 Google Analytics 4 was the biggest change to happen to the platform since its beginning. If you are familiar with Universal Analytics, you’ve had to shift your mindset, approach, and literal plans for website tracking in order to adjust to the changes that have happened, especially when it comes to conversion reports. Join Sarah as she takes you on a live tour of the new GA4 system and discusses how you can make the most out of this tool going forward. Bring your computer and log in to your own account to get the most out of your experience.
  2. SEO and Google Ads Strategy
    Justin Belleme, JB Media Group
    Most organizations approach Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-per-click efforts such as Google Ads separately. This session explores the benefits of combining SEO and PPC strategy for both paid Google Ads accounts and for free non-profit Google Ad Grant accounts.
    Combining these efforts by choosing solid SEO topics for your Google Ads landing pages amplifies the impact while guaranteeing qualified traffic to the new pages from the paid ads. The team at JB Media has over 10 years of ongoing experience on projects where we manage both SEO and PPC with great results. This approach can be especially powerful for non-profit organizations who have access to the $10,000 per month in free PPC advertising from the Google Ads Grant.
  3. TBD

4:00 pm Closing Remarks

4:15 pm Adjourn

4:30 – 6:30 pm DIY Awards Celebration & Cocktail Hour sponsored by Magellan Strategy Group

2023 Day 2

Tuesday, Nov. 14th

8:00 am Networking

9:00 am Concurrent Breakout Sessions

  1. Microsoft Advertising Best Practices
    with Peter Frisa, JB Media Group
    Google Ads has been the most dominant platform for Search Engine Marketing for quite some time, however, as of recent, Microsoft has been making major power moves to improve their platform, Microsoft Ads, providing serious competition now.  There are some really big opportunities that you will be able to gain using Microsoft Ads instead of Google Ads. If you wish to learn more about the differences between the platforms, and how some of the new advanced features could help your advertising efforts, then you don’t want to miss this presentation.
  2. The Ethics and Uses of AI – Learning Lab
    Justin Belleme, JB Media Group

    In this session and learning lab, we will begin with a brief discussion of the recent developments and ethical concerns related to AI related to content marketing and digital advertising. We will then shift to a practical and tactical review of some of the most common ways that AI tools and tactics are already being used in the marketing world including how AI will impact:
    – Content strategy, research, and planning
    – Content development and optimization
    – Digital advertising – Advertising copy and headlines
    – Digital advertising – Optimization
    – Graphic design and video production
  3. Tourism Product Development as a Marketing Strategy
    Chris Cavanaugh, Magellan Strategy Group
    For many communities, the creation of new experiences that drive visitation, spending, and satisfaction have become a critical focus of destination leadership organizations. But these new experiences can also serve as storytelling platforms and as opportunities to generate viral content. This session will present different forms of tourism product development (no matter the size of your community) and address ways to use these investments as enhancements to your marketing plans.

10:15 am Break

10:30 am Presentations

  1. Make Your Local Events Memorable, Shareable, and Impactful
    John Hornsby, Hornsby Creative and Peak Promo
    If you’ve been navigating the event world without a clear roadmap, join this session as we explore how to create remarkable local event experiences that resonate, captivate, and leave a lasting mark. Led by seasoned event branding and strategy expert, John Hornsby of Hornsby Creative, this session is designed to give you a compass in the chaotic event landscape. Gain clarity on crafting events that matter and magnify your region’s allure.
    – Learn to develop events that amplify your town’s charm, aspirations, and mission.
    – Learn to allocate resources wisely to achieve harmony in your event calendar.
         – Understand how metrics can be your guiding light.
    Infuse your strategies that resonate with your community.
         – Explore targeted attendee engagement through device IDs, paid digital ads, QR codes, and more.
    Leave this session with renewed clarity to help you elevate your town’s eventscape. 
  2. Video Storytelling for Small Towns & Local Businesses
    Bob Peck, Mountainwater Films
    Video can be used in a wide variety of ways when it comes to marketing, communications, and sales. There are so many options it can feel daunting to focus on specific stories, topics, attractions, or businesses. Join Bob from Mountainwater Films and discover actionable strategies and insights to create unique video content that will effectively promote your small town as a must-visit gem. Attract travelers seeking authenticity, unique charm, and off-the-beaten-path adventures.
  3. TBD

11:45 am Lunch

12:00 pm DEI Panel with Equity Over Everything

1:30 pm Concurrent Breakout Sessions

  1. TBD
  2. How to Talk about Tourism in Your Community
    Chris Cavanaugh, Magellan Strategy Group
    To paraphrase the great late comedian, Rodney Dangerfield, too many tourism leaders get no respect within their own hometowns or are even neglected entirely. Indeed, this often extends to the entire visitor economy.  We’ll discuss how to talk the talk and walk the walk in your community, and share what works, what doesn’t, and what messages people are most receptive to. This session will be an opportunity to learn from each other and make sure you have a seat at the table as opposed to being on the menu.
  3. Ask an Expert Q & A
    Justin Belleme and Sarah Benoit, JB Media Institute
    Digital marketing, communications, and advertising require that creatives and professionals accept the challenge of an ever-changing, always-evolving industry where everyone uses the same tools, but we never use them exactly the same way. Join digital strategists Justin and Sarah and get the opportunity to ask them anything. Need a new, results-oriented approach to your social media ads? Feeling behind on the changes happening in SEO? Not sure how to increase conversions from your email marketing? Planning a website redesign but unsure of the checklist you need to make sure you communicate properly with your design team? The JB Media team is here for you.

3:00 pm Closing Remarks and Adjourn 


I loved the Tracking and Reporting Class with Sarah… she dove in and showed you realtime how Google Analytics worked and what you should be looking for.


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