Opening Session


Commissioners Discussion on 

Workforce Development

Maine Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner George Gervais and Department of Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette will be joined onstage by Live & Work in Maine CEO Ed McKersie for a discussion of workforce development challenges and opportunities.

 

Berkeley Young – President, Young Strategies, Inc.

Designing the Experience

Berkeley Young specializes in destination research, planning and strategy. He says, “trend data indicates that 2017 will be a good year for tourism businesses… if they make it a good year; it won’t just happen”. Success will come from innovation and focusing on the traveler experience.  Learn how to interpret and deliver experiences for visitors in the ways that they want to receive them, and communicate to visitors on their terms.

Young’s  twenty years of travel/tourism research, marketing, management, speaking and retail experience includes management positions at a destination marketing organization, a Chamber of Commerce, a resort and a research and planning firm. In 2004 Young formed his Charlotte, NC based company focusing on research and strategic planning for all aspects of travel destinations.

In the last twelve years Young has worked with over 100 destinations in twenty-six states and is a popular speaker at regional and national conferences and conventions.

 

Afternoon Sessions

Daniel Lemin 

10 Digital Travel Trends

What are the 10 digital marketing trends that can propel the industry forward over the next 12 months? Learn what they are and how your business can make use of them in this quick tour of trends.

Daniel Lemin is the bestselling author of Manipurated, a detailed guide to the online reviews industry, as well as the head of Jay Baer’s Convince & Convert consulting group. He’s been seen in the New York Times, USA Today and on Fox News, CBS Radio and many other news outlets. He was an early Google hire and has been in digital marketing and PR for more than 15 years.


Neville Bhada – CEO, Tourism Skills Group

The International Traveler

Neville Bhada discusses how and when international travel became a mainstay in his life. From his early days to today, he will walk you through a personal narrative of the importance of travel in his life and what he sees as major draws to Maine as well as the U.S. This TED-style chat will give you insights on the importance of keeping an eye on the fastest-growing segment of travel and what we can gain from our international guests as they visit our communities and destinations.

Bhada serves on the boards of the Southeast Festivals and Events Association, Atlanta Metro Travel Association as well as Georgia State University’s School of Hospitality Industry Advisory Board.  He speaks domestically as well as internationally on a wide variety of tourism topics – from international tourism to defending budgets. He is currently an adjunct professor with the School of Hospitality at Georgia State University.


Breakout Sessions

Session I- Manipurated Ratings and Reviews Workshop

The No. 1 thing that drives most travel purchase decisions today is ratings and reviews. This workshop, from bestselling author Daniel Lemin, will explore in very practical terms how these platforms work, what you can do to make them work harder for your business and even how they can change your business for the better. You will get the tools you need to make online reviews a strategic tool for your business.

Daniel Lemin

Daniel Lemin is the bestselling author of Manipurated, a detailed guide to the online reviews industry, as well as the head of Jay Baer’s Convince & Convert consulting group. He’s been seen in the New York Times, USA Today and on Fox News, CBS Radio and many other news outlets. He was an early Google hire and has been in digital marketing and PR for more than 15 years.

 

Session II- Marketing on a Shoestring Budget

Let’s face it – we are all stretched when it comes to maximizing the marketing dollars we have.  You may be tempted to limit the time you spend towards marketing – don’t succumb to that temptation! This 45-minute session will challenge you to think about creative ways to use the free or low-cost tools at your disposal. We’ll explore ways to market your destination, accommodation, restaurant, attraction, event or business when you don’t have a lot of cash on hand. We also prioritize your resources when you are limited by budgets or staff. 

 

Neville Bhada – CEO, Tourism Skills Group

Neville Bhada is the founder and CEO of Tourism Skills Group, a company that focuses on the strategic planning, research and marketing needs of the travel and tourism, and  association industries.

Tourism Skills Group works with convention and visitor bureaus, chambers, accommodations, attractions, festivals and other related organizations in developing long range plans through research. TSG concentrates on the research, marketing, communication and international needs of organizations.

Bhada serves on the boards of the Southeast Festivals and Events Association, Atlanta Metro Travel Association as well as Georgia State University’s School of Hospitality Industry Advisory Board.  He speaks domestically as well as internationally on a wide variety of tourism topics – from international tourism to defending budgets. He is currently an adjunct professor with the School of Hospitality at Georgia State University.

 

Session III – Building Experiences

This session will focus on building tourism “experiences” through the lens of Captain John’s successful effort to develop the Lulu Lobster Boat Ride into a popular immersive experience for visitors. Get insights into how to take what you offer to the next level and become a higher value and revenue generating “must do” experience.

Captain John Nicolai –  Lobster Talk, Inc. 

In 1998, Captain John Nicolai, along with his wife, Coreen Nicolai, created Lulu Lobster Boat Ride in Hancock Point, Maine (later operating in Bar Harbor, Maine).  Over the next 19 years, from those small, modest beginnings, they were able to build their tour into MSN.com’s Travel/Trip Ideas as “The One Thing You Must Do In Every State” for Maine (October 2016)!  Captain John earned the 2016 Maine Governor’s Conference on Tourism Award in the category of Marketing and Promotion.  Captain John is now continuing his mission to promote Maine and the lobster fisheries through his newest endeavor, Lobster Talk – a lecture series that presents his tour around the state and country in the comfort of event and meeting locations.


Session IVWorking with the Canadian Market 

The Office of Tourism conducted a market analysis in Eastern Canada to gauge Canadian impressions of Maine as a vacation destination and to better understand what motivates Canadians to travel.  MOT’s marketing agency BVK will present recommendations on how best to attract the Canadian traveler based on the research results.

Jennifer Simmons,  VP Brand Strategy and Research – BVK

Jennifer brings 25 years of consumer, travel and business-to-business market research experience to BVK and has been part of the team since 1995. A skilled research designer and moderator, her greatest asset lies in her ability to interpret data for unique insights and make sense out of data. As brand planner, Jennifer digs deep into current and emerging trends, embracing data and information, and then turns her findings into insights that can facilitate client’s business marketing strategies. Jennifer helps to identify metrics and tie marketing communications strategies and tactics to each client’s ultimate goal. She makes sure all research is actionable, helping to evolve the destination’s brand while keeping it consistent with changing times and the area’s growth. In addition, her energy and skill at new product development and information resources are major assets for our tourism clients. Any project, any brand, any challenge, Jennifer’s love for the work is infectious and she’s indisputably a major contributor to the success of our destination brands. She’s helped many brands deliver more meaningful promises to consumers, including the Maine Office of Tourism, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, Colorado Tourism Office, The Belize Tourism Board, Wyoming Office of Tourism, and Visit Orlando. Jennifer holds an MBA in marketing and brand management from the University of Wisconsin.

 

Session V – Travel Trends

Continue the conversation with Berkeley Young for insights on changes in traveler behavior that drive changes in travel products.  In this session Berkeley will share some additional statistics and insights that will drive growth in 2017.  There will be time for questions and discussion to help attendees identify new initiatives for success in 2017.

Berkeley Young -President, Young Strategies Inc.

Young’s  twenty years of travel/tourism research, marketing, management, speaking and retail experience includes management positions at a destination marketing organization, a Chamber of Commerce, a resort and a research and planning firm. In 2004 Young formed his Charlotte, NC based company focusing on research and strategic planning for all aspects of travel destinations.

In the last twelve years Young has worked with over 100 destinations in twenty-six states and is a popular speaker at regional and national conferences and conventions.


 

Closing Session

Celebration Barn Theater

The popular theater troupe from the 2015 Governor’s Conference on Tourism returns with Marketing Segments 2.0, an immersive presentation on how to market to a “Social Sophisticate” a “Genuine Original” or a “Balanced Achiever”.