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① Sales and Marketing
Practical, how-to information in sales and marketing including demos, techniques and best practices.

② Business Solutions
Technology, tools, and resources to improve your bottom line.

③ Market Research and Analysis
Research and analysis on specialty/growth markets and trends.

④ NTA Community
Learning from your peers at perennial favorites, including the member discussion forums and Ask the Operator sessions.

Ask the Operator for DMOs | 203A
Sponsored by Sports Leisure Vacations
1:30–2:30 p.m.
Moderator: TBD
Panelists: Brittany Dykla, Brilliant Edventures
Mandy Hamblett, Making Memories Tours

This annual favorite offers DMOs the perfect opportunity to get insight and feedback from a panel of tour operators. Come prepared to ask the operators questions that will help you both have a more powerful and productive relationship.

Mastering the Art and Science of Marketing | 202B
1:30–2:30 p.m.
Speaker: Peter Kerr, KerrCommunications

Public relations ate marketing for lunch, but there will be indigestion if we don’t understand key marketing and communication principles. This talk delivers a quick refresher of traditional marketing wisdom, then teaches you advanced ways to generate powerful messages and deliver them well. Discover insights on segmenting, targeting, positioning, and differentiation, and leave inspired to revamp your marketing so you can discover new clients and opportunities.

Tour Operator Risk Management | 202A
Presented by Aon Affinity Insurance Services
1:30–2:30 p.m.
Speaker: Peter Maidhof, Aon Affinity Insurance Services

This seminar will offer practical content on managing risk and developing a crisis management plan for your business. You’ll receive information on how to minimize liability claims with risk management techniques. For those Aon policyholders in attendance, premium credit up to 5 percent can be earned by attending this session. The credit will be applied each year for the next two annual policy renewals, and the availability of premium credit is subject to state insurance regulations. Attendance is mandatory to be eligible for a premium credit.

Ask Jeff: Get Answers to your Legal Questions | 202A
2:45–3:45 p.m.
Speaker: Jeff Ment, Ment Law Group

Have you had a question pop up regarding a service animal, ADA compliance, confusing language in a contract, or another legal question but didn’t have a resource to ask? This session is your opportunity to get the answers you need from NTA’s newest Corporate Partner, attorney Jeff Ment. With more than 26 years of experience, Jeff has developed a well-earned reputation as a leading authority on travel related issues and can help provide the knowledge and resources you need to resolve your challenges. Submit a question before the session:

Going Global in the 21st Century: Tips for International Business Success | 202B
Sponsored by Pybus Point Lodge
2:45–3:45 p.m.
Speaker: Peter Kerr, KerrCommunications

The world continues to be woven together politically, technologically, and commercially despite entering a phase of “guarded globalism” defined by NAFTA’s demise, BREXIT, and tariff wars with China. Many travel organizations are joining other businesses that wish to maximize profits and impact by seeking international relationships. This fun seminar will give you tips for success, impart a deeper understanding of how to communicate well across cultures, and identify pitfalls to avoid. It will leave you more informed and full of wonder at the diversity of our world.

Travel Exchange 101 | 203A
2:45–3:45 p.m.
Speaker: Clayton Whitehead, Sports Leisure Vacations

Are you new to Travel Exchange or want a refresher to make sure you get the best ROI from the big event? This session, designed for both first-timers and veterans, will help you maximize your convention experience at every function: sales appointments, free time, social events, and seminars. Learn the right questions to ask in appointments when time is short. Make new connections as you find out how, when, and where to buy and sell at Travel Exchange.

Spotlight Session | Plastics are the Travel Industry’s Worst Nightmare | 202B
Sponsored by Pybus Point Lodge
9–10 a.m.
Speakers: Christian de Boer, Jaya House/Refill the World
Patrick Marsden, MaCher

Plastic water bottles and other plastic wastes, such as straws and packaging, are slowly destroying some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. It is not too late to reverse course, and RefillTheWorld is one movement that is at the forefront of a global effort to dramatically reduce plastic waste. Co-founded by Christian de Boer, managing director at the boutique hotel Jaya House in Siem Reap, Cambodia, RefillTheWorld’s mission is to build a global network of water refill stations by partnering with people in the travel industry to provide travelers and guests reusable water bottles and places to refill them. Following Christian, Patrick Marsden, Head of Travel for MaCher – a sustainable design firm, will provide practical advice for how to reduce and remove single use plastics from your travel operations. MaCher has worked with number of cruise lines and tour operators to transition away from single use plastic and will share a multitude of their mistakes and learnings made along the way.

Best Practices for Building Bookings in the Hispanic Travel Market | 202B
10:30–11:30 a.m.
Speaker: Terry Soto, About Marketing Solutions

Looking for a growth market in the travel industry? Terry Soto, Hispanic market expert, will share facts and figures related to the lucrative Hispanic Travel Market and explain best practices for gaining and maintaining travel bookings with Hispanic customers. Hispanics travel more frequently, travel in bigger groups, and plan more and longer vacations than non-Hispanics. With 60 million Hispanics in the U.S. today spending $73 billion annually on travel, this market is an important one to consider for 2020 and beyond. Learn how to build your business within the Hispanic travel market, and learn about NTA’s Hispanic Travel Market Initiative.

Winning Body Language to Influence and Persuade | 202A
10:30–11:30 a.m.
Facilitator: Mark Bowden, Truthplane

With a highly competitive marketplace, superior communication skills can be the key to your success. In this session, you will learn the optimal body language techniques that engage, influence, and persuade others, motivating them to work and do business with you. Mark will help you to more accurately assess body language so you can better understand the motivations of others. And you will learn how to use and read body language to produce the right atmosphere in the room that will affect the engagement of your audience to add value to every interaction.

Master Level: Putting Your Body Language Knowledge into Practice | 202A
2–3 p.m.
Speaker: Mark Bowden, Truthplane

Building on your knowledge of body language, Mark will dive into greater detail about the principles and techniques, and further define physical and verbal structures by which you can deliver your message which will improve your efficacy in moving your listeners toward your end goal. Additionally, you will learn to model body language that your audience will mirror to provoke positive thoughts and feelings for them, as well as help garner intelligence and information for you no matter the context, whether it be in sales meetings, pitches, presentations, or trade shows. (Attendance in prior body language session not necessary.)

Navigating Difficult Conversations: Deepen Your Relationships – Don’t Just Solve a Problem | 202B
2–3 p.m.
Speaker: Jill Schiefelbein, The Dynamic Communicator

Every difficult conversation is a chance to strengthen a relationship and serve your customer. How do you do this in the most effective way, without making it personal, and in a way that simultaneously resolves conflict and creates lasting solutions? By owning your message and asking the right questions. In this session we’ll uncover a handful of strategies to drive results with your communication.

Ask the Operator for Suppliers | 203A
Sponsored by Sports Leisure Vacations
3:30–4:30 p.m.
Moderator: Dana Romanello, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Panelists: TBA

It wouldn’t be an NTA event without an Ask the Operator session! This is a great opportunity for tour suppliers to get answers from operators on those “everything you always wanted to ask an operator but were afraid to ask” questions. Our diverse panel is composed of tour operators with years of experience in the industry, and they are ready to share their ideas, expertise, and opinions.

Want to Sell More? You Need to Know How People Make Decisions | 202B
3:30–4:30 p.m.
Speaker: Jill Schiefelbein, The Dynamic Communicator

In this session, we examine the decision-making process, which is essential for any sales person to know when they’re trying to get a client to buy. By examining the psychology of the human mind when it processes decisions—combined with an understanding of the behaviors potential clients are doing before contacting you in the first place—attendees will leave with an understanding of how to deepen relationships, increase connections, and drive buy-in and decision-making.

Spotlight Session | Managing Up, Part 1: How to Succeed with Any Type of Boss | 202B
9–10 a.m.
Speaker: Mary Abbajay, Careerstone Group

Like it or not, our bosses have enormous influence over our ability to succeed, thrive, and advance in our organizations and in our careers. Whether you are reporting to a supervisor, middle manager, VP, top executive, or a board of directors, “managing up” is a skill you need. In part one of this lively and interactive workshop, participants explore proven strategies and techniques to increase cooperation and collaboration between those with different power levels, perspectives, and workplace preferences. Participants will receive tools on how to navigate “difficult” boss behaviors and adapt to different leadership styles while taking ownership for their own professional success.

Developing Product for the FIT Market | 203A
10:30–11:30 a.m.
Panelists: Jim Warren, Anderson Vacations

The travel industry is experiencing a growth of independent travelers as more and more people are finding it easier to travel alone or within a small group. This dynamic has made FIT a fast growing market that provides potential for volume visitation. This session will define FIT, discuss the different independent travelers, their needs and expectations, and how travel companies can successfully cater to this market.

Managing Up, Part 2: Managing Up, Down, and Across: The Power of Adapting | 202B
10:30–11:30 a.m.
Speaker: Mary Abbajay, Careerstone Group

Developing robust and effective workplace relationships—with our bosses, colleagues, and our clients–is essential to career success in the travel industry. Working successfully with others requires developing self-awareness and an understanding of how we, as individuals, impact others—both positively and negatively. In part two of the Managing Up workshop, participants take a deeper dive to explore how personality preferences and differences play a significant role in interactions with co-workers, team members, and supervisors. Participants gain heightened awareness of their distinctive personality type, communication style, and preferred ways of working with others. This eye-opening and highly interactive session helps participants develop strategies to work successfully with different personality types.

Automation and Integration | 202B
1:30–2:30 p.m.
Speaker: Michael Schutes, Swift Tourism Digital Media

You have your business’ website, Facebook, and your favorite social channels. Now what? Let’s see how you can take these and other apps to make your online presence better. This session will show you examples of additional actions you could take to integrate your business online, from ratings apps and mobile functionality customer trust and fraud prevention, plus integrating automation from your email platform to your customer list and website. You’ll hear insights into when and how to use Google, and you’ll learn how SEO can be automated. This session will show you how simple, inexpensive apps can assist you in building a bigger brand online.

China Market Trends and U.S. Image Analysis | 203A
1:30–2:30 p.m.
Speaker: Rosina Barbastefano, Brand USA

The China market is changing. How do we, as tour operators, DMOs and suppliers, adapt to these changes? Join us for a look at the challenges and the opportunities in today’s China travel and tourism market, and to discover the recent trends of Chinese travelers’ preferences and behaviors.

Associate Network Forum | 203B
2:45–3:45 p.m.
Speaker: Susan Barbanel, Travel Insured

NTA’s associate members offer an array of products, services, tools, and resources that benefit NTA members in many areas. In addition to assisting members, you have the opportunity to be a resource for each other as you navigate the industry’s opportunities and challenges. Join your fellow NTA associates for an open discussion to brainstorm the ways you can increase your business and partnerships, discuss industry trends, and share best practices.

Buyer Network Forum | 202A
2:45–3:45 p.m.
Facilitator: Michele Pino, Northeastern Unlimited Tours

NTA’s diverse group of tour operator members share many common challenges and opportunities. Join your tour operator colleagues for an interactive and dynamic discussion to gain insights, share concepts for collaboration, and brainstorm ways to grow your business. This is your opportunity to talk business and get opinions and ideas from the best in the business, so come prepared to participate.

DMO Network Forum | 203A
2:45–3:45 p.m.
Facilitator: Monica Hall, Abingdon Virginia CVB

Come learn about NTA’s DMO Network and join the conversation. Attendees will form roundtable discussions on topics relevant to DMOs of all sizes, geography, and composition. While on one level, all destinations are competing for the customers and spots in an itinerary, this is another—higher—level, where industry colleagues can share ideas and best practices in an effort to find synergies and increase visitation.

Tour Supplier Network Forum | 202B
2:45–3:45 p.m.
Facilitator: Alyssa Keshel, American Music Theatre

Join us for a conversation with NTA’s Supplier Network, where you can share ideas and best practices with your industry colleagues. Your goal is to bring the largest number of visitors to your place of business and provide them with quality service during their visit. While you might be competing with other attractions, restaurants, or hotels for customers and a spot in an itinerary, we are all looking to increase visitation and spending, so there are synergies to discuss as industry colleagues.

E-commerce: Selling Your Tours and Products Online | 202B
4–5 p.m.
Speaker: Michael Schutes, Swift Tourism Digital Media

Are you using your website and emails to direct your clients to buy your trips online? The world of e-commerce has been speeding along while the tourism sector has been playing catch-up. Learn how the methods and apps used in e-commerce can be used to grow your business and make it more efficient. Find out how to use “layaway” to attract even more customers, or how to providing quotes to FIT and groups quotes online and have your clients pay when and how they like. With these and other tips and tricks, you’ll come away with a better picture of how the best e-commerce practices can assist you and become a blueprint for taking bookings online.

Legal Hot Topics | 202A
4–5 p.m.
Speaker: Jeff Ment, Ment Law Group

How does your company/organization handle cyber security and are you doing enough to protect your clients data? Are you training your tour guides correctly? GDPR: Did it really make a difference? Independent contractors: Where are we now? Join NTA Corporate Partner attorney Jeff Ment for a look at these issues facing the travel and tourism industry and learn what you can do to make sure you, your colleagues, and company are in compliance.

Spotlight Session | The Baby Boomers: Who are They Now? | 202B
9:30–10:30 a.m.
Speaker: Cathleen Johnson, Cathleen Johnson Tourism Consultants

According to NTA’s most recent Customer Profile, about 50% of NTA customers are from 50 to 65+ years old —clearly classified as Baby Boomers. We all think we know who the Boomers are, but do we? How are the Beatles and Woodstock generation traveling today? What influences their travel decisions, and how are they interacting with their children and grandchildren when it comes to multi-generational travel. This session will look at the differences and the interdependent relationship among the Baby Boomers, Gen X-ers, Millennials and even the newest traveling generation, Gen Z, and explore how and why they are traveling today.

Ask the Experts about Faith Travel | 203A
Sponsored by Ed-Ventures
11 a.m.–Noon
Panelists: Rowena Drinkhouse, Reformation Tours
Paul Larsen, Ed-Ventures
Christian Utpatel, Terra Lu Travel
Deon Kitching, Embrace South Africa Tours

Faith-based travel continues to grow and includes pilgrimages, mission and humanitarian trips, visits to religious sites, church heritage tours, and fellowships trips. A panel of FTA tour operators and faith leaders will share their expertise on this growing market, answer questions, and lead roundtable discussions. Learn about faith travel, focus on your areas of interest, and network with others. This session will benefit tour operators, suppliers, and DMOs who are new to the faith travel market or simply seek new ideas and connections.

Generational Preferences in Packaged Travel | 202B
11 a.m.–Noon
Moderator: Cathleen Johnson, Cathleen Johnson Tourism Consultants
Panelists: TBA

The way that members of different generations travel is changing, and tour operator itineraries and supplier and DMO offerings must change with them. This interactive session will present some challenges for matching the new travel preferences and behaviors of Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials with the packaged product that NTA members offer. We’ll work in groups of operators, suppliers and DMOs to develop new ideas for adjusting itineraries, modes of transportation and product to be more responsive to the changing desires of the “experience hungry” travelers today.

Designing for Community Tourism | 203A
2–3 p.m.
Moderator: Greg Takahara, Tourism Cares
Panelists: TBA

The travel, tourism, and leisure industry is an instrumental tool in supporting community development, here and abroad. It takes joint vision and long-term commitments from all stakeholders to design and implement a successful community tourism project. This needs to be done in collaboration from the start versus individualized programs that are combined at a later date. During this fireside chat, we’ll discuss how organizations have been able to innovate through partnerships, share challenges, and overcome barriers to create long-term systems of change for the communities in which they work, and we’ll examine case studies of how tourism can drive impact through a global reach and local touch.

Improv-ing Your Sales: Becoming a More Dynamic Seller Through the Art of Improv | 202B
2–3 p.m.
Speaker: Alyssa Keshel, American Music Theatre

Looking to get a professional edge, improve networking skills, engage your team, and build confidence in rolling with all the punches life can throw at you? Immediately scared by the word improv, and picturing yourself being in a room full of people and asked to perform? Don’t be! In this engaging and informational session, we’ll let performance take a back seat and focus instead on how the guiding principles of improv can make you a more confident and dynamic seller, deliver creative business solutions, and encourage a positive and collaborative team environment. In an industry so focused on relationships, no two will ever be the same. Why not shake up the way we sell and embrace the freedom of creativity improv can bring to our sales table?

Ask the NTA Associates | 203B
3:30–4:30 p.m.
Roundtable Facilitators: Matt Grayson, Dragon Trail Interactive
Sharon Broo, USI Affinity
Lucas Ennis, WeTravel
Sue Barbanel, Travel Insured
Geni Priolo, Aon Affinity
Peter Maidhof, Aon Affinity
Patena See, RoamRight
Ted Muhlner, Redpoint Resolutions

Have a question about digital marketing, insurance, payment solutions, or technology? This is the session you need to attend to get the advice from NTA’s associate member experts. In this session, associates from similar product segments will host a roundtable to answer your questions and help you with your challenges to work out solutions to your obstacles. These how-to, problem-solving workshops are your chance to get one-on-one advice from the experts, so come prepared to pose questions or present your challenges.

Discover the World of Sports Travel | 203A
3:30–4:30 p.m.
Panelists: Jay Smith, Sports Travel and Tours

Sports tourism is a vibrant and fast-growing segment of the travel industry. Although being a success in this market isn’t all fun and games, understanding the players, working behind the scenes, and thinking creatively about the vast diversity of sports travel can put you on the right path. Virtually every demographic has an interest in some form of sports travel, from amateur games to the hottest ticket in town and everything in between. This panel of sports-market experts will share firsthand knowledge and insight to get you started.

Advertising on Facebook & Instagram | 202B
9–10 a.m.
Speaker: Catherine Heeg, Customized Management Solutions

Digital advertising has become an effective way to narrow and target your audience, but many marketing professionals are leery of taking advantage of these tactics because they are unfamiliar with the systems or not sure of the effectiveness of these marketing features. In this session, Catherine will put you at ease with these systems and will take a deep dive into the advanced features of digital advertising on two popular social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram. You’ll get into the weeds and focus on ways to fine-tune your audiences and content and then report on the results.

How Tour Directors and Guides can be an Asset to Your Business | 203A
9–10 a.m.
Panelists: Amy Noble, ITMI
Joan Keddell, ITMI
Catherine Prather, NTA

NTA and ITMI recently announced a new collaboration between NTA’s Travel Exchange and ITMI’s Symposium. This partnership will bring trained tour directors and guides to Travel Exchange. The addition of these knowledgeable travel professionals will bring more resources not only to tour operators but many of our tour supplier and destination members will see a benefit as well. Join representatives from each organization to hear how ITMI’s tour directors and guides are helping tour suppliers and destinations, and discuss how this alliance can work for your business.

Social Ads and Video Master Class | 202B
10:30–11:30 a.m.
Speaker: Catherine Heeg, Customized Management Solutions

Video and social advertising are best friends in the world of travel and tourism. Let’s get into the weeds and explore the strategies and how-tos of savvy advertisers. From audience testing and successful measuring secrets to video creation, marketing finesse, and how to narrow and exclude audiences, you will learn how to make the appealing content needed to reach your target market.

Beyond Work-Life Balance and Self-Care | 203A
10:30–11:30 a.m.
Speaker:Yasmin Nguyen, ITMI

Has working late evenings and weekends become the norm? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted. In order to perform and achieve our goals, we need to be at the top of our game and for many leaders, “self-care” is just another “to-do” on an ever-growing list of tasks and responsibilities. The idea of “work-life” balance can feel even more impossible. So how can you perform to your fullest with joy, and without burnout? In this interactive workshop, you will learn how to shut down when taking time off work, creat time for self-care, release any feelings of guilt, rediscover what brings you lasting joy, and establishing healthy work-life boundaries.

Spotlight Session | TREX Forum on the Packaged Travel Industry | 202B
Sponsored by CroisiEurope Cruises
2–3:15 p.m.
Facilitator: Michael Weinberg, Hiltons of Chicago

After a full week of networking, education, and entertainment, what can you take away from Travel Exchange that will help you overcome the obstacles facing your business and capitalize on the opportunities? Join this session to compare notes, discuss ideas and insights, and share key takeaways from your experiences in Fort Worth.

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