2017 Visitor Services Summit

Visitor Services Summit

July 16, 2024 | Tampa, FL, USA

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The Visitor Services Summit is a gathering of visitor experience and community engagement professionals. Join us as we focus on re-envisioning the purpose and value of the visitor center and how we engage with our communities, visitors, and residents. Learn from your peers as we share best practices, opportunities, and new innovations.

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Schedule at a Glance

Tuesday, July 16

Networking Breakfast

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Welcome and Overview

9:00 AM - 9:15 AM

60 in 60: Exploring Case Studies, Best Practices and New Ideas

9:15 AM - 10:15 AM

Engage with the group and share your ideas!   Whether you're a seasoned tourism professional or new to visitor services, this rapid-fire high energy, 60-minute session will offer valuable insights and inspiration. We want to hear from you about cutting-edge technology, sustainable practices, unique destination marketing strategies and engaging customer experiences ensuring your get a whirlwind tour of the latest trends and successes in tourism. 

Alyssa Poulin, Facilitator

Director of Content Development

Destinations International





Unlocking the Essence of Place: Transformative Strategies in State Tourism Branding

10:15 AM - 11:00 AM

Join us for a transformative session, where innovation meets inspiration, and witness firsthand the power of strategic branding in shaping unforgettable tourism experiences. We will delve into the dynamic narrative of how a state tourism office revolutionized its brand representation, igniting a powerful transformation across multiple locations. Discover the ingenious tactics employed to seamlessly integrate brand essence into physical spaces, leveraging state-of-the-art visuals, mesmerizing renderings, and immersive experiences to captivate visitors. 

Networking Break

11:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Community Shared Value: Leveraging Your Visitor Center to Enhance Brand Awareness

11:15 AM - 12:00 PM

Discover how your visitor center can become a powerful tool for building brand awareness and fostering community engagement. In this insightful session, through a series of compelling case studies, we'll explore how destination organizations have effectively utilized their visitor centers to create shared value for residents, visitors and their local community. We'll take a deep dive into the concept of community shared value and its importance using practical strategies for transforming your visitor center into a hub of brand promotion, education, and community involvement.

Alyssa Poulin, Moderator

Director of Content Development

Destinations International

Andrew Moore

Visitor Services Manager

Travel Portland

Michelle Wilson

Sr. Director of Destination Experience

Experience Columbus 

Missy Burkett

Visitor Experience Specialist

Visit Dublin Ohio


Roundtable Discussions: Addressing Key Challenges in Visitor Services and Experience Development

12:00 PM - 12:45 PM

Join us for an illuminating session as you all dive into the challenges that keep tourism professionals awake at night when it comes to providing exceptional visitor services and experiences. In this engaging discussion, we ask you to share the critical issues facing your destinations as well as any strategies for overcoming them you've found to be successful, to ensure visitors have memorable and satisfying experiences.

Alyssa Poulin, Facilitator

Director of Content Development

Destinations International





Networking Lunch

12:45 PM - 1:45 PM

Data-Driven Destinations: Maximizing CRM Insights for Enhanced Traveler Engagement

1:45 PM - 2:30 PM

Join us for an enlightening session that delves into how destination organizations leverage their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to harness visitor center and consumer data effectively. Discover how these insights are utilized to monitor traffic, inquiries, and Request for Proposal (RFP) distribution, ultimately enhancing engagement with travelers and stakeholders alike.

Mark Lynch

Chief Client Officer


Randy Fortes

Business Development Manager


Christine McInnis

Director of Services

Visit Jackson   

Mary Byrd

Visitors Center Manager & In Market Services

Explore Ridgeland  


Networking Break

2:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Inclusive Hospitality: Making Visitor Centers and Services Welcoming for All

2:45 PM - 3:30 PM

In today's world, it is imperative that tourism destinations prioritize accessibility to ensure everyone can enjoy their experiences to the fullest. This session will provide insights into the diverse range of accessibility needs that visitors may have in order to understand how to best create inclusive environments, as well as practical strategies for designing visitor centers, services  and experiences that are inclusive and welcoming to all people with accessibility needs. 

Alan Fyall

Visit Orlando Endowed Chair of Tourism Marketing

Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida

Beth Erickson

President & CEO

Visit Loudon

Julie Schickel

Director of Visitor Services


Emily Stuck

Director of Visitor and Partner Services

Visit Fort Wayne 


Visitor Centers as a Community Hub

3:30 PM - 4:00 PM

Join us for an insightful session exploring the evolving role of visitor centers beyond their traditional purpose. This session will delve into how visitor centers can transform into dynamic community hubs, fostering local engagement, cultural exchange, and economic growth. We'll discuss innovative strategies to repurpose these spaces to serve not only tourists but also local residents, offering educational programs, community events, and collaborative initiatives.

Cynthia Eichler, CDME

President & CEO

Visit Fort Collins





Attendees by Job Level

Visitor Services Summit welcomes attendees from all job levels. Whether you're just starting out or you have years of experience under your belt, you'll find colleagues in the same career path as yourself!

  • 10%
    Entry Level
  • 44%
  • 33%
  • 13%
    Executive Level/CEO

Attendees by Budget Size

Attendees come from destinations of all shapes and sizes. Network with peers from your budget group, or meet people from cities large and small.

  • 30%
    Greater than $10 million
  • 31%
    $5-$10 million
  • 39%
    Less than $5 million

Event Location

JW Marriott Tampa Water Street: starting at US$239/night + taxes & fees

Tampa Marriott Water Street: starting at US$199/night + taxes & fees

Cutoff Date: Thursday, June 20, 2024 or when rooms sell out. Hotel booking links will be provided in your event registration confirmation email.

27.940661106797, -82.454534003545

Additional Hotels

We are pleased to offer a group block rate at several nearby properties.