2019 Education Summit & Vendor Showcase Recap

Charting Your Course—For your destination, your organization and yourself

Advocacy, economics, best practices, career decisions and more were part of the offerings at the 2019 Education Summit in Sacramento. Delegates listened to researchers and industry experts share new data about the future of destination organizations while gaining insights about travel trends and how to position one’s destination for success in the coming months and years.

Jack Johnson, chief advocacy officer at Destinations International, presented the findings of “DestinationNEXT: 2019 Futures Study Report.” DestinationNEXT has been instrumental in helping destination organizations adjust to continually changing political and economic realities.

Change can be scary and energizing when you are spearheading your organization’s campaign to pump life back into your city. Visit Sacramento President & CEO Mike Testa and Travel Portland representatives Tamara Kennedy-Hill, vice president of destination management, equity and community Affairs, and Marlo Maroon, destination manager-business engagement, shared how each of their respective DMOs is charting the course to becoming a DMMO.

Longwoods International President & CEO Amir Eylon, presented highlights from the “American Resident Sentiment Towards Tourism” Study, sponsored by Destinations International and Longwoods International. The study report examines how Americans assess the tourism industry’s growth—both its benefits to their lives as well as the potential pitfalls.

A resounding 90 percent of the respondents completing the conference evaluation survey want to see the new Peer-to-Peer Advice Sessions continue as part of the Education Summit. “The Peer-to-Peer Advice was so helpful. It was nice to hear other people’s experiences and advice in a comfortable and conversation-type setting,” noted a delegate.

When asked the reasons for choosing to attend the Education Summit, survey respondents cited—in order—education in job area of focus, networking opportunities, education about other DMO departments and vendor product/services information.

The Best Idea Program presentations continue as a favorite component of the Education Summit. From showcasing a destination’s historic and scientific role in the Apollo Missions to youngsters talking trash, fire safety and more (destination stewardship) and celebrating the 175th Anniversary of the Oregon Trail to extolling a city’s diversity and sense of place; these innovate projects informed and delighted conference attendees. Achievement awards were presented to Flagstaff, Oakland, Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory and San Juan Islands. (See separate Best Idea Program article with project overviews.)

Thanks to our Visit Sacramento hosts for welcoming Education Summit attendees to their destination. The Visit Sacramento team and local stakeholders showcased the town with some of the coolest, most creative ways to experience the destination. Participants gathered tips and strategies to develop or enhance visitor experiences in their own destinations during the “get-to-know-the destination” outings—Sacramento’s Best Kept Food Secrets, Sacramento Public Arts Tour and Bike & Breweries.

On the social side, Drozian Webworks hosted a relaxed welcome reception on the top floor of the Hyatt Regency overlooking downtown Sacramento. Visit Sacramento sponsored an evening of locally produced wine and food as the best expression of Sacramento during an offsite reception at Bogle Winery. Delegates enjoyed a tranquil fall evening along the Sacramento River that included local wines, savory tastings from local Michelin-rated restaurants and musical entertainment.

Thanks to our speakers, sponsors and exhibitors for their participation and support. See separate article about the companies at the Vendor Showcase.

Watch for information on the DMA West website about the upcoming 2020 Education Summit & Vendor Showcase, September 23-25 in Vancouver, Washington.