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PRSA 2019 Travel and Tourism Conference

Let PR Ring: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Travel

June 16–19 | Philadelphia

2019- The 2019 conference is in the planning stage, please check back for updates

Download Session Handouts

2018 Program

Sunday, June 3

8 a.m.–6 p.m.Registration - Arcade Lobby

Pre-Conference Events++

9 a.m.–3 p.m.SOLD OUT
The Pitch - writing workshop++   Room – Oak Alley/Madewood
Andrew Nelson, travel editor, National Geographic
Fee: $250

9 a.m.–3 p.m.SOLD OUT
Social Media for PR++ Room - Teche/Bell Grove
Gathan D. Borden, vice president of marketing, Visit Lex
Fee: $250
++Pre-Conference Workshops (These events are an additional fee. They are not included in the basic conference registration fee. Space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Fee includes workshop, breakfast, lunch and transportation from the conference hotel, if needed.)

5–6 p.m.

Newcomers Reception - Room- Fleur de Lis and Courtyard

6–8 p.m.

NOLA Opening Reception: Bourbon Vieux - 503 Bourbon Street- Conference Badge Required
In true New Orleans style, kick off your conference arrival with a second line parade from the Royal Sonesta to the Bourbon Vieux, in the heart of Bourbon Street. Enjoy some classic New Orleans cocktails and cuisine while throwing Mardi Gras beads off the largest balcony on Bourbon Street to the revelers below. This reception will provide the perfect chance to mix and mingle while appreciating the centuries-old architecture and the spirit of the 300-year-old French Quarter. Bring your phones/cameras as this event will be no doubt provide many photo ops and create your own stories about that…“one time in New Orleans.”

Monday, June 4

7–8 a.m.

Morning Fitness - Terrace, Second Floor
Come join us for a morning wake up like no other. Get centered, refreshed and stretch out prior to the conference beginning. No matter if you’ve never done yoga before or are a full-time member of a studio back home, we promise this class will be fun and welcome everyone of all skill levels.
(space is limited, sign up required at conference registration desk)

7:30 a.m.–5 p.m.Registration - Arcade Lobby
8–9 a.m.

Breakfast - Grand Ballroom

9–10 a.m.

Opening Keynote Presentation - Grand Ballroom
“Think Differently”
Sura Al-Naimi, chief innovation officer, WeOverMe, and former Global Innovation & Creativity Catalyst at Disney

10:15–11:45 a.m.


CVB - Room - Fleur de Lis
State Tourism - Room - Teche/Bell Grove
Hotels & Resorts - Room - Regal Suite
Attractions - Room – Oak Alley/Madewood
Agency/Individual Practitioner - Room - Evangeline
International - Room - Royal Conti

Noon–1:30 p.m.

Luncheon Keynote General Session - Grand Ballroom
“10% Happier”
Dan Harris,
ABC News anchor and #1 New York Times best-selling author

1:45–2:45 p.m.

Breakout Sessions: Set I

Steal This Idea! Five Minutes to Get Inspired - Room- Fleur de Lis
Tabbi Burwell, communications manager, Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau
Valerie Bradley,
vice president of marketing, Visit Macon
Kayla Lynskey, account manager DCI for Visit California
Holly Richmond,
director of communications, Georgia World Congress Center Authority
Kristen Malaby, Director of Marketing (Acting), Americas – Tourism Australia
Stefanie Brickman, Communications Manager at Visit Norman

Spend Money to Make Money - Room- Grand Ballroom
Julia Marino, senior marketing manager, Amazon
Kate Buska, vice president of brand development & communications, Provenance Hotels

Beyond AVE: Building a Measurement Program From the Ground Up - Room - Acadia Suite
Kay M. Maghan, public relations manager, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism
Jillian Hunter Thayer, account director, J Public Relations
Kayley Ciocci, coordinator, communications & public relations, Shedd Aquarium

3–4 p.m.

Breakout Sessions: Set II

Crafting Content That Puts Heads in Beds   Room- Fleur de Lis
Ashley Lowe, principal, Betty Ashley Public Relations
Rachel Walker,
writer & editor
Christopher Skinner, managing partner, MakeBuzz LLC

Survey Says: How To Leverage Research and Data To Strengthen Your Pitch   Room- Grand Ballroom
Chris Lightner, vice president of client strategy, Trendkite
Michelle McCue, president, McCue Marketing Communications
Mika Ryan, manager, travel media relations and partnerships, Destination British Columbia

Influencers: How To and Best Practices  Room - Acadia Suite
Lindsey Guinn, international PR manager, Visit California
Kristen Bonilla, public relations manager, Visit California
Bridget Baeth, principal, JayRay Ads & PR

4:15–5:15 p.m.

Breakout Sessions: Set III

Going Viral: How Digital Content Is Influencing Travel Trends   Room- Fleur de Lis
Caleigh Alleyne, freelance journalist, digital media consultant
Lindsey Campbell, audience engagement editor, Travel+Leisure
Erika Owen, head of audience development, Bon Appetit and Epicurious

Stigmas: How to Overcome Negative Perceptions   Room- Grand Ballroom
Kevin Kern, vice president of public relations, Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau
Tara Shimooka, senior specialist- external communications Hawaiian Airlines
Lauren Cason, director of marketing & communications, New Orleans CVB

Fundamentals of a Crisis Plan   Room - Acadia Suite
Todd Ragusa, principal, Ragusa Consulting

5:456:30 p.m.

SATW Associates Meeting – Room: Evangeline

7–10 p.m.

Dine-Around in New Orleans*
Join in the fun and get to know your fellow Travel & Tourism attendees on Monday evening June 4th over dinner at this year’s Dine-Around Evening out in New Orleans.

*Not included in the basic conference registration fee.

Tuesday, June 5

6:45–8 a.m.

Morning Fitness5k Fun Run – Meet in Sonesta Lobby
Come join us for a fun run through New Orleans’ French Quarter. We’ll have two groups/paces so anyone is welcome to join in the fun whether a beginner or slower runner or a seasoned marathoner.
(space is limited, sign up required at conference registration desk)

7:30 a.m.–5 p.m.Registration - Arcade Lobby
8–9 a.m.

Breakfast - Grand Ballroom Foyer

9–10:30 a.m.

General Session - Grand Ballroom
“Travel Trends Throwdown”
Spud Hilton
, travel editor, San Francisco Chronicle

10:45–11:45 a.m.

Breakout Sessions: Set IV

Morning Shows   Room- Fleur de Lis
Simone Swink, senior broadcast producer, Good Morning America

Podcasting Your Story    Room - Grand Ballroom
Gary Arndt blogger, photographer, author of the travel blog “Everything Everywhere
Beth Harpaz, travel editor, Associated Press
Brad Rickman, digital director, Condé Nast Traveler

From the Page to the Screen (and Back Again!): How Media Outlets Are Embracing New & Old Platforms   Room - Acadia Suite
Stacy-Ann Ellis, assistant editor at VIBE.com
Trisha Ping,
destination editor for the eastern U.S., Lonely Planet

Noon–1:30 p.m.

Luncheon Keynote Session - Grand Ballroom
The Heart of Hospitality: Leadership and Frontline Secrets
Micah Solomon, president & CEO, Four Aces Inc. 

2–3 p.m.

Breakout Sessions: Set V

What’s Cooking in Food Coverage: Tips and Insights From Top Culinary Journalists   Room- Fleur de Lis
Amber Gibson, freelancer
Ashley Day, food editor, USA Today
Richard Martin, editorial director, Food Republic

Bullseye! Hitting the Mark in Meeting, Convention & Group Travel Trade Publications  Room - Grand Ballroom
Jeff Heilman, senior contributor, Meetings Today
Brian Jewell, executive editor, The Group Travel Leader
Marcia Bradford, senior editor, ConventionSouth & SportsEvent Publication

Minority Marketing: Missed Opportunities in the U.S.   Room - Acadia Suite
Shontel Horne, editor, Travel Noire
Angela Sun, Travel writer, journalist, filmmaker, host/producer of NBC's "LXTV: First Look," and PlanesTranes+Automobiles “Foreign in the USA” show (Delta In-Flight)
Alexander-Julian (AJ) Gibbson, travel specialist, content consultant

3:15–4:15 p.m.

Breakout Sessions: Set VI

#Winning: How to Work With Digital Publications That Are Winning the Millennial Travel Market   Room- Fleur de Lis
Annie Georgia Greenberg, fashion editor at large and host/producer of 60 Second Cities, Refinery29
Steven Lim, video producer and host of  “Worth It,” BuzzFeed
Matt Meltzer, contributing travel writer, Thrillist

Oh Where, or Where Do My Pitches Go? Deep Dive Into the Editor and Freelancer Relationship   Room - Grand Ballroom
Jenn Rice, freelancer for F & W, Vogue, Tasting Table, Domino
David Duran, freelancer for T+L, NY Post, etc.
Derrik J. Lang, senior editor, American Way magazine

Press Trips: The Evolving Necessity   Room - Acadia Suite
Jill Robinson, freelance travel journalist
Michelle Winner, lifestyle & travel editor, LuxeGetaways and LuxeGetaways.com
Tamra Bolton, contributor, Parade Magazine

4:30 p.m.

Bubbles and Beignets - Royal Sonesta Arcade Lobby

Sponsored by J PR

7–9 p.m.

Media Mixer Reception: Van Benthuysen-Elms Mansion & Gardens  -3029 St. Charles Ave. - Conference Badge Required
Take a step back in time in this historic home on “The Avenue” in the Garden District of New Orleans and become a New Orleanian for the evening sample a “Taste of Louisiana.” You’ll have the opportunity to sample the world-renowned cajun and creole cuisine as well as meet and greet with seasoned chefs from the classic Commander’s Palace as well as "up and coming” hot spots such as Maypop and Mopho. Learn how to peel and eat boiled crawfish surrounded by our friends from the Louisiana Seafood Promotion Board and the Louisiana Office of Tourism and sample tastings of Tabasco mash fresh from Avery Island. Explore the Italianate style architecture of the lovely gardens and patios while sipping on a Sazaerac, the official cocktail of New Orleans, or enjoying a refresher from a local brewery providing the best beer in the Big Easy. The King Cake from Haydel’s Bakery is as rich as the mansion’s history and tops off your cultural experience and window into the antebellum past.   

Shuttles will depart promptly at 6:45 p.m. from the lobby of the Royal Sonesta Hotel. Conference Badge required.

9 p.m.Post-Media Mixer Afterparty: Above the Grid rooftop bar atop the NOPSI Hotel -  317 Baronne St

Don’t stop mixing after this year’s media reception. The location for this year’s late-night event is NOPSI Hotel, New Orleans’ newest luxury property. All buses departing the Media Mixer and make a stop at the NOPSI Hotel to drop off attendees wishing to continue the networking and fun. Opened last summer, the hotel has quickly garnered national attention for its historic architectural features and back story. Take a look down while you’re in NOLA, and almost every manhole has the word NOPSI written on it. It stands for New Orleans Public Service Inc., which was the city’s former transportation and utility provider. NOPSI’s former HQ, originally built in 1927, fell into disrepair but was returned to its former splendor, converted into a hotel and is now managed by Salamander Hotels & Resorts. The hotel’s desirable rooftop bar, Above The Grid, is our nighttime destination.

Buses will take those who wish to continue the conversation after the mixer directly to NOPSI Hotel, located in the Central Business District and just a short walk/quick cab back to the French Quarter and the Royal Sonesta hotel.

Wednesday, June 6

7:30NoonRegistration - Arcade Lobby
8–9 a.m.Breakfast - Grand Ballroom Foyer
8:30–9 a.m.

PRSA 101 Networking Breakfast - Grand Ballroom
Chat informally over breakfast with members of your PRSA Travel & Tourism Executive Committee about how to get the most out of your membership. Whether you're interested in joining the executive committee, hosting this conference or capitalizing on all the benefits that come with your PRSA membership.

9–10 a.m.

Breakout Roundtables - Grand Ballroom
Collaborate with your peers on the industry’s hottest topics through meaningful discussions, brainstorming, networking and even the opportunity for tableside demos with some of the industry’s most popular vendors. The sponsor-led roundtables will be broken out by more than 10 different topics including measurement, working with social influencers, crafting content angles, online newsrooms and more. Participants will receive a handout with all topics by table when they arrive and will be signaled to switch to a new table every 12-15 minutes.

10:15–11:30 a.m.

General Session
Editors Roundtable
   Grand Ballroom
Andrew Nelson, travel editor, National Geographic
Beth Harpaz, travel editor, Associated Press
Alex Postman, features director, Condé Nast Traveler

++ Pre-Conference Workshops require an additional fee. **Designated Master Track