2021 Marketing & Communications Summit hero image

Virtual Event | April 29, 2021

Join your fellow marketing and communications colleagues as we navigate the realities of re-branding and re-envisioning destinations in the aftermath of the pandemic, the economic crisis and civil unrest around the globe. The focus of the half-day event will be on innovation, community engagement, and managing brand and destination assets, all woven through the filter of equity, diversity and inclusion.

Content Focus

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Members: US$195 | Non-members: US$295

Schedule at a Glance

Schedule subject to change.
Welcome Remarks
1:00 PM - 1:15 PM ET
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Join President & CEO Don Welsh for a welcome to the summit.

Sponsored by: Miles Partnership
Creating a More Inclusive Community With Whole Brand Thinking
1:15 PM - 1:55 PM ET
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In 2020, lines between the personal and professional blurred more than ever — not only in how people adjusted their daily routines, but in the growing realization that what we do at work can impact societal issues. More and more employees today desire to align their personal values with those of their employers. Modern brands are taking both notice and action to reap the benefits of what happens when they align internal values, beliefs and behaviors with making a positive impact in becoming a more inclusive world. Join this session for an enlightening conversation on tactics and best practices to help develop and implement strategies in your destination for impactful results for both residents and visitors.

  • Adam Miller, Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging, Barkley
  • Melissa Cherry, Chief Operating Officer, Destinations International
Sponsored by: Arrivalist
Flashes of Brilliance Microsessions
1:55 PM - 2:10 PM ET
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Black Owned Peoria

Peoria's Black-owned businesses are essential cornerstones of central Illinois's unique business and hospitality landscape and we wanted to aid in bolstering Peoria's Black-owned businesses so everyone would have the opportunity to thrive and to help play a stronger role in the recovery of our local economies. Our focus is to showcase what we see our diverse community becoming. This has resulted in extensive media coverage throughout our region and has been a great source of pride in our community. We continue the project with a Black History Month promotion to shop Black-Owned Businesses and plan to extend this project to other populations in our community.

  • J.D. Dalfonso, President & CEO, Peoria Area CVB
  • Daurice Boneta, Community Engagement Coordinator, Peoria Area CVB
Developing Authentic, Diverse Marketing and Brand Campaigns

The Augusta CVB began planning for its new destination marketing and branding campaign in the fall of 2019. Key aspects included a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion in the search/selection process for a creative agency, stakeholder buy-in, and the representation of local talent including people of color and the LGBTQ+ community in the final creative and program implementation. The challenge was repositioning Augusta to truly reflect what is authentic about the destination. We needed to promote Augusta’s assets beyond the Masters, and break the perception that the destination is traditional and lacks youthfulness, energy and fun. We did this by being bold in embracing the city’s soulful and gritty side established by hometown legends like Mr. James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, accentuated by the wonderful diversity of its people and cultures.

  • Lindsay Fruchtl, Vice President of Marketing, Augusta CVB
  • Bennish Brown, President & CEO, Augusta CVB
Sponsored by: Casual Astronaut
Flashes of Brilliance Microsessions
2:15 PM - 2:30 PM ET
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Community Focus Groups to Help Increase Sales and Marketing

In Little Rock we tapped further into our diverse community to gain useful and necessary feedback, as well as thoughts and ideas on how to increase our sales and marketing efforts for Black consumers and the LGBTQ community. We began holding a series of focus groups over zoom with residents and local constituents, and have garnered invaluable feedback, resulting in the development of our new Black Culture website and other marketing assets.

  • Gretchen Hall, President & CEO, Little Rock CVB
A New Brand for Baltimore: How Visit Baltimore Launched a New Brand During the Pandemic

While Visit Baltimore was forced to halt plans to fully launch its new brand and robust companion campaign in early 2020, the organization pivoted to authentically showcase Baltimore’s story and its local ambassadors amidst the backdrop of current events. This session will showcase how Visit Baltimore launched a new brand during the global pandemic.

  • Al Hutchinson, President & CEO, Visit Baltimore
Sponsored by: Casual Astronaut
Take Carra Wellness Break
2:30 PM - 2:45 PM ET
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Take a moment to stretch and enjoy tips from a wellness expert.

Sponsored by: SearchWide Global
General Session
2:45 PM - 3:15 PM ET
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General session details to be announced soon!

Sponsored by: Brand USA
Breakout Sessions
3:20 PM - 3:50 PM ET
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Adding Accessibility to Your EDI Strategy
This session is a must for understanding how and why to add accessibility to your EDI strategy. Join industry experts who will outline the benefits and measurable outcomes of adding accessibility to your EDI strategy. Speakers will provide practical advice and best practices on how to implement accessibility, how to understand where accessibility and diversity intersect from a customer service training perspective, and the ways in which to incorporate accessibility into your marketing campaign.

  • Jake Steinman, President & CEO, North American Journeys
  • Nicole King Smith, Lee County Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Josh Loebner, Director of Strategy, Designsensory
Sponsored by: Barkley

Public Relations Strategies for Attracting Diverse Travelers to Your Destination
Communicating that your destination is welcoming is essential to attracting a diverse visitor. How do you intentionally reach a diverse audience with your public relations strategy with an authentic voice? And how should you measure equity, diversity and inclusion within your overall communications strategy? During this session, we will hear from two public relations leaders who will discuss their strategies, tactics and measurement goals of reaching diverse media, to tell stories and share voices that are typically unheard.

  • Alethia Calbeck, Director of Communications, Philadelphia CVB
  • Rachel Ferguson, Chief Innovation and Global Diversity Officer, Visit Philadelphia
Sponsored by: Tempest

BIPOC Travelers: Bringing the Data to Life
In May 2020, NOMADNESS Travel Tribe partnered with Tourism RESET to create and disseminate the 2020 Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) Diversity in Travel Report: Trends + Insights. This initiative, the largest of its kind to date with over 5000 respondents covering 89 data points, including COVID Behaviors, Marketing + Representation, Travel Behaviors + Desires, Tech, and Extended Demographic, is dedicated to promoting social equity in the travel and tourism sphere. With over 89% of respondents being either Millennials or Gen Xers, this session will provide an in-depth overview of these survey results, to better understand the real experiences of BIPOC travelers, influencers and community leaders.

  • Evita Turquoise Robinson, Founder, NOMADNESS Travel Tribe
  • Alana K. Dillette, Assistant Professor, Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, San Diego State University
  • Stefanie Benjamin, Ph.D, Assistant Professor, Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management Department, University of Tennessee
Sponsored by: Simpleview

Breakout Session To Be Announced

Sponsored by: Tripadvisor
Closing Session: Perceptions After Protests
3:55 PM - 4:25 PM ET
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In the era of high profile areas of social unrest, many destinations must now navigate complicated politics, challenging emotions and shocking visuals to market their destination for the better. Collective acts of disruption and violence are sometimes viewed as expressions of social injustice, protest and rebellion, leading to different community reactions.

As stewards for your destinations, you will need to ensure that the focus on repositioning the destination brand after a negative incident is paramount. Hear from the destinations of Louisville, Minneapolis and Washington D.C., who are working hard to ensure impactful and positive messaging for residents, partners and visitors, to continue drive brand and economic recovery to the destination.

  • Courtney Ries, Senior Vice President of Destination Branding and Strategy, Meet Minneapolis
  • Stacey Yates, Vice President of Marketing and Communication, Louisville Tourism
  • Robin McClain, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications
Sponsored by: Fuseideas
Closing Wrap Up
4:25 PM - 4:30 PM ET
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Join moderator Melissa Cherry for a wrap-up of the day's key takeaways.

Two Dates in 2021

This year, we will be presenting Marketing & Communications Summit in two unique formats designed to provide you with the education and networking that you need in the environment that works for you.

Due to fluidity resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, dates and location are subject to change. 

Virtual Event
April 29, 2021

This half-day virtual event will include an afternoon of educational sessions and networking.

Member Rate: US$195

Hybrid Event
July 13, 2021 | Baltimore, MD, USA

Presented in conjunction with the 2021 Annual Convention, you have the option of joining us in person or virtually.

Member Rate: US$195 virtual | US$945 in-person

Join the Online Community

The Online Community connects professionals from across the industry. Find users from your region or join a discussion group to discuss marketing and communications issues.
Access to the Online Community is an exclusive benefit to all staff from member organizations of Destinations International. Use your member login to access the discussions, or contact us if you need assistance.