2019 Visitor Services Summit
2019 Visitor Services Summit
Sep 29, 2019
Oct 1, 2019
Kansas City map icon
date_range September 29 - October 1, 2019
location_city Kansas City, MO, USA
location_on Kansas City Marriott Downtown

Engage peers across various destinations in discussions about the transition from brick and mortar to digital, re-use of visitor services centers, the fusion of staff and volunteer management.
Hear from forward-thinking leaders and practitioners on emerging practices and case studies to exemplify what's new, what's working, and what's ahead.
Create invaluable relationships with your fellow visitor services professionals that you can rely on for advice and assistance throughout the year.


Sunday September 29, 2019
2:30pm - 5:30pm
3:00pm - 3:30pm
First Timers Welcome
4:00pm - 5:00pm
Opening Keynote: Laurie Guest
Details +
The Guest Encounter: Better Service, Better Performance, Better Results
Laurie Guest, Speaker, Trainer, Author

What happens when a “guest” (visitor) encounters your center? Every encounter makes an impression. Each encounter holds the power to nurture your relationship or nick it, to build your destination brand or bruise it. Join us for this insightful keynote that will help you identify different categories of encounters and how each impacts the bottom line, ways to self-assess and improve the customer service you're providing, and high-impact opportunities to outshine the competition. 
5:00pm - 6:30pm
Welcome Reception
Details +
Location: Kansas City Marriott Downtown
Monday September 30, 2019
7:30am - 5:00pm
8:00am - 9:00am
Networking Continental Breakfast & Gift Exchange
Details +
A gift exchange is a fun way to “break the ice” and get to know someone or…a city! Join us for the traditional Visitor Services Summit Gift Exchange during the networking breakfast. Every city is known for something. Share what you’re most proud of that represents where you come from. It could be a food item, ia bottle of wine or the always popular snow-globe!

Gift value should be no higher than US$ 20. During breakfast you will be assigned a table, and will pass your gift to the person to your left. Make it even more fun by discussing the item, or seeing if anyone at the table wants to do an exchange. You’re certain to go home with a prized possession!
9:00am - 10:30am
Welcome & General Session
Details +
Don Welsh, CEO, Destinations International

Destination Host Welcome
Jason Fulvi, CDME, President & CEO, Visit Kansas City

Becoming a Community Shared Value
Jack Johnson, Chief Advocacy Officer, Destinations International
Each year a growing number of destination organizations come under government and media scrutiny. The attacks are getting worse, more frequent, and too often, we are our worst enemy. Destination organizations must become one of their community’s shared values in a way that not only explains the value of destination promotion but connects that value and the organization to the residents of the community. This must-attend session will clearly articulate the role of a destination organization in a community, provide the starting point for the “Mission” and “About Us” statements, lay out the political argument for public support of destination promotion, and identify the ideas and ideals that form the basis of a community shared value. 

Under the Hood: A Cross-Section of Volunteer and Staff Training Programs
Facilitator: Brenda Carlson, Visitor Services Director, Visit Anchorage
You’ve got a great destination and an amazing visitor center. You’ve worked hard to hire a cadre of volunteers and staff, and your DO’s marketing efforts have provided an unending supply of visitors through your doors. How do you bring all that together to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience for your guests that will have them ready to come back before their first visit has barely started? The key? Your staff. Dust off your notebooks and sharpen your pencils because you will definitely want to learn from our three featured destinations as they take a deep dive into their training programs, and share their experiences and best practices for staff training. They are ready to share and answer your burning questions!

  • Meredith Darden, CTE, Director of Visitor Services, Visit Corpus Christi
  • Danni Melquist, Visitor Experience Manager, Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Jodi LaPierre, PDM, Director of Visitor Experiences, Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention & Visitors Bureau
10:45am - 11:00am
Networking Beverage Break
11:00am - 11:30am
WOW Awards Presentation
11:30am - 12:30pm
WOW Awards Deep Dive
12:30pm - 1:30pm
Networking Lunch
1:45pm - 2:45pm
Traveler Trends Influencing the Consumer Journey
Details +

Speaker: Robert Patterson, VP of Marketing Technologies, MMGY Global

This session will present the results of the latest MMGY Global Portrait of American Travelers® study, taking a deep dive into traveler behavior and trends, and the impact of these trends on the consumer journey. From inspiration and planning to booking and in-destination experiences, this session will provide a snapshot of where the industry is and where we are going.

2:45pm - 3:15pm
The Changing Face of the Visitors Center
Details +
Speaker: Jennifer Anderson, Manager of Visitor Center Operations, Visit Baltimore

In a world where technology continues to change the way people live, travel, eat and play, Visitor Centers are being forced to find new ways to keep people coming through the door.  Join us for this detailed look at how the Baltimore Visitor Center found unique and interesting ways to remain viable and relevant, keep visitors interested in their destination, and positively impact their bottom line.
3:15pm - 3:30pm
Networking Beverage Break
3:30pm - 4:30pm
60 Ideas in 60 Minutes
Details +
Join us at this open forum session to share your best practices, ideas and innovations around customer service, engaging with your partner community, showcasing your destination to visitors, etc.
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Networking Dinner
Details +
Location: PBR Big Sky, Power and Light District
Tuesday October 1, 2019
8:00am - 9:00am
Networking Continental Breakfast
9:00am - 10:00am
Connecting with LGBTQ Visitors: CMI's 23rd Annual LGBTQ Tourism Survey Report
Details +
Speaker: Thomas Roth, Founder, EVP, Community Marketing & Insights, San Francisco, CA

LGBTQ visitors generate more than $100 billion each year in the United States alone. Tourism and visitor professionals should be prepared to leverage the evolving demographics and behaviors of these travelers to better serve LGBTQ visitors and capture increased market share. This presentation will provide an overview of LGBTQ travelers today, focusing on CMI's 23rd Annual LGBTQ Tourism Research study, including visitor profiles and communications best practices. Insights from this research will offer an in-depth understanding of LGBTQ visitors, as well as how to effectively reach and market to this demographic.


10:00am - 10:30am
How One CVB Welcomed a Meeting of Disabled Travelers to Their Destination
Details +
Speaker: Annette Rummel, Ph.D., CDME, Trail Blazer + CEO, Great Lakes Bay Regional CVB

This important session will provide an overview of how the Great Lakes Bay Regional CVB welcomed a meeting of disabled travelers to their destination prior to it becoming universally accessible.  You will hear about how how they engaged this meeting’s attendees in helping to identify barriers within the destination, used this input to form and deploy solutions, and how they continue to work with disabled travelers as their destination matures in the area of universal accessibility.
10:30am - 11:00am
Networking Beverage Break
11:00am - 12:00pm
Shirtsleeves (Round 1)
12:00pm - 1:15pm
Networking Lunch
1:30pm - 2:30pm
Shirtsleeves (Round 2)
2:30pm - 2:45pm
Networking Beverage Break
3:00pm - 5:00pm
Learning Lab - Visit KC's Ambassador Program
Details +
Visit KC is proud of its Ambassador program and the way we train our representatives.  During this off-site, immersive activity, you will be challenged to find locations along our free KC Streetcar route that highlight the diverse neighborhoods of Downtown Kansas City. The Visitor Center will be one of the stops along the way, where you can grab a beverage and a snack and learn a little more about “How We Do Kansas City.”
5:00pm - 7:00pm
Dinner on your own
* Schedule subject to change.
Kansas City
Kansas City Marriott Downtown
Block rate: $169/night
Cutoff date: Sept. 7, 2019

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