CHECK IN MICHIGAN » Tourism Conference » Fire-Up Sessions

Crisis Management

Wednesday, March 6 - 10:30am - 11:30am & 1:30pm - 2:30pm

The freedom to travel is one of the many liberties we enjoy as Americans, but we are in a new era with shifting global landscapes and unexpected challenges. This session is intended to help destination leaders ready themselves, their organizations and their staff for crises that may arise. Presenters will share insights and best practices that have been gleaned from interviews and conversations with some of the country’s leading travel and tourism destination leaders.


Hospitality & Tourism of Tomorrow: Diverse Faces, Equitable Spaces and Inclusive Places

Wednesday, March 6 - 10:30am - 11:30am & 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Our panel of experts will discuss the business case for workforce diversity along with the various initiatives that their respective organizations/panelists have established or have been integral in implementing to attract diverse talent in our industry.

ANGELA NELSON – Experience Grand Rapids
RODNEY LEWIS – Grand Rapids Public School
PAUL STANSBIE – Grand Valley State University
CAROLINE ECKERT – National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
SKOT WELCH, Moderator – Global Bridge Builders


Wednesday, March 6 - 10:30am - 11:30am & 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Learn the seven key characteristics ALL Trailblazing Leaders possess: intense curiosity, persistence, vision, life-long learners, problem-solvers, focus on their strengths and thick skin. The mission is two-fold (1) identify the top characteristics you are the strongest at and keep using them each day and (2) pick one of the seven characteristics of a Trailblazing Leader to work on and improve within your own live. Tony is the best-selling author of the Mind Capture book series and his core expertise and message are designed to help people 'Capture' more minds and profits.


New Ways of Communication (Social/Digital)

Wednesday, March 6 - 10:30am - 11:30am

User Generated Content Tourism Campaigns That Actually Work - According to the Nielsen Consumer Trust Index, 92% of consumers trust authentic, user generated content (UGC) more than traditional advertising. Hear UGC case studies from Pure Michigan and the West Michigan Tourist Association, and learn the secrets on how they’re increasing awareness, getting followers and growing engagement. You’ll get actionable insights and social media strategies that work regardless of the size of your budget or staff.

NICK NERBONNE | Digital Media Director – Michigan Economic Development Corporation
COURTNEY SHEFFER | Marketing Director – West Michigan Tourist Association
CHAD WIEBESICK | VP, Integrated Marketing and Communications –Destination Ann Arbor

New Ways of Communication - Storytelling (Video)

Wednesday, March 6 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Storytelling is the new buzzword in the media industry. Getting your story across is hard in a world exploding with competing destinations, social platforms and changing travel trends. National Geographic Traveler’s director of photography, Anne Farrar, takes you behind the scenes and into the thought process of storytellers, how to find your unique story and how to pitch a compelling narrative that gets the media attention you deserve.