(Banner graphic of PRSA 2018 Travel and Tourism Conference logo)

PRSA 2018 Travel and Tourism Conference

June 3–6 | New Orleans

The 2018 program is still in development.

For interest in submission requirements, please click on the CFP button on
the top of the home page.
Please check back for updates in the future.

Download Final Presentations

The 2017 Conference Program

Sunday, May 21

8 a.m.–6 p.m.Registration

Pre-Conference Events++

(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)

9 a.m.–3 p.m.

Creative Writing: Skills Workshop”++
Pam Mandel,
freelance writer, NerdsEyeView
Fee: $300

9 a.m.–3 p.m.

Shooting Better Smartphone Video for Communications”++
Braden Worrell, Creative Director, 12 Stars Media
Fee: $300

9 a.m.–3 p.m.

Snap, Edit and Post with National Geographic++
Krista Rossow, National Geographic Photographer
Fee: $300

5–6 p.m.

Newcomers Reception

6–8 p.m.

Opening Reception
Palm Springs Air Museum
Let’s get this conference started by embarking into the destination where history comes alive at the Palm Springs Air Museum. Get reacquainted with colleagues from around the country and be inspired by all of this year’s conference attendees. Enjoy light bites, entertainment and cocktails in this living history museum dedicated to educating the public about the role Air Power played in preserving American liberties and way of life.

Monday, May 22

7:00–7:45 a.m.

Morning Fitness, Yoga on the Lawn, Wexler Garden

7:30 a.m.–5 p.m.Registration
8:00 a.m.


8:45–10 a.m.

Opening General Session
The Pie Life: A Paradigm Shift for Work/Life Balance”
Samantha Ettus, work/life expert, best-selling author, entrepreneur, radio host, Forbes contributor

10:15–11:45 a.m.


State Tourism
Hotel and Resorts
Agency/Individual Practitioner

Noon–1:30 p.m.

Luncheon Keynote General Session
“If You Can See It, You Can Be It”
Chef Jeff Henderson, award-winning chef, host of “Flip My Food with Chef Jeff” & best-selling author 

1:45–2:45 p.m.

Breakout Sessions: Set I

How Sweet It Is: Storytelling Tips Direct From Hershey Entertainment & Resorts
Kathleen McGraw, director of communications, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts

Turning Negative Perceptions to Your Advantage
Molly Blaisdell,
PR representative for Alcatraz Excursions, Hook, Line & Thinker
Samantha Chin, co-founder and director of marketing, PotGuide
Sara Baumann, PR manager, Hotel Del Coronado

PR into Page Rank: Perspectives on How to SEO Your Outreach
Paul McLeod,
director of business intelligence, Simpleview
Deborah Park, senior account director, Turner PR

3–4 p.m.

Breakout Sessions: Set II

Creative Writing for PR Pros**
Pam Mandel,
freelance writer, NerdsEyeView

Steal This Idea! Five Minutes to Get Inspired
Linea Gagliano, director, global communications, Visit Oregon
Erica Backus,
director of public relations, Visit Savannah
Jamie Lynn Sigler O’Grady, founding partner, J Public Relations
Kathleen Q. Sebastian, director of communications, White Lodging
Kimberly Miles, senior counsel, Fahlgren/Turner
LeeAnn Donnely, senior public relations manager, Biltmore
Victoria Lightfoot, PR specialist, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau

Say What? Gaining Insight and Driving Attendance for Events Through Social Media
Leah Shah, public relations manager, Visit Houston and Houston First Corporation
Vicki Bristol, senior communications and Marketing Manager, New Orleans CVB
Ty Bentsen, managing director, THE BRANDMAN AGENCY

4:15–5:15 p.m.

Breakout Sessions: Set III

The Sky High Influence of Experiential Marketing
Edward Starr,
partner, BMF Media
Ashley Chejade-Bloom, principal, LFB Media Group

Winning Visitors with the Power of Influencers**
Jade Broadus,
director of marketing, Travel Mindset
Dan Rosenbaum, senior manager content & social media marketing, San Francisco Travel
Katy Carrier, founder and editor, Palm Springs Style

Managing Up: How to Get Ahead as a Millennial
Ally Mills Dorrough,
public relations coordinator, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism
Angela Cavis,
vice president, MMGY Global/NJF PR
Jaclyn Slifer, area director of public relations, Loews Hotels

7–10 p.m.Dine-Around in Palm Springs*
       *Not included in the basic conference registration fee.

Tuesday, May 23

6:45 a.m.Morning Fitness – Fun Run
Join fellow conference attendees for a morning run. We’ll head out from the Riviera Resort down Palm Canyon Drive to Tram Way. Out and back options include 2.5 miles (resort to Palm Springs Visitors Center), your choice OR the ultimate challenge of a 2,000-foot vertical climb in just over 3.7 miles (approximately 10 miles round trip). Whether running as a group or individually, please use the new paved runners path along Tram Way. Head down to the lobby around 6:30 a.m., the group will depart at 6:45 a.m.
7:30 a.m.–5 p.m.Registration
8:00-9:00 a.m.


9–10:30 a.m.

General Session
The Pitch: Finding PRSA Travel & Tourism’s Best Pitcher

10:45–11:45 a.m.

Breakout Sessions: Set IV

Flex Your PR Skills: Tapping into the Growing Health & Wellness Travel Market
Jennie Nunn, contributing editor, Organic Spa
Juno Demelo, freelance writer for publications such as Health, Woman’s Day, Redbook, Allure & Vogue
Katie Rosen Kitchens, co-founder & editor-in-chief of FabFitFun

We Are Loonie for You: Appealing to the Canadian Market
Caleigh Alleyne, Canadian freelance travel & lifestyle journalist & TV spokesperson; digital media consultant
Neal McLennan, travel & food, editor, Western Living

Integrating Influencers Into Your PR Playbook
Grace Atwood,
founder, The Stripe
Norie Quintos,
travel content consulting and strategy, editor at large, Nat Geo Travel Media/NorieQuintos.com
Jessica Hirsch,  author, blogger, Cheat Day Eats

Noon–1:30 p.m.

Luncheon Keynote Session
“Travel Smart: Lessons Learned from a Life Lived on the Road”
Samantha Brown, Travel Expert & Travel Channel TV Host

2–3 p.m.

Breakout Sessions: Set V

The Glass Slipper: Finding the Perfect Fit With Lifestyle Media
Meg Biram, blogger/consultant MegBiram.com.
Stephanie Davis Smith, editorial director, Modern Luxury
Aviva Patz, senior digital editor, ReadersDigest.com

Working With Freelancers: Making the Most of Travel’s Ultimate Multitaskers
Laura Kiniry, freelance writer specializing in travel and writes for American Way, Via, Westways, AARP,  Budget Travel
Kevin West, author food and travel writer for Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Departures, Martha Stewart Living, and Bon Appetit
Juliet Bennett Rylah, freelance writer for LAist, Thrillist, LA Weekly, Vice and Nerdist

Reeling in Regional Wins
Darren Elms,
editor-in-chief, Southbay Magazine; editorial director, Moon Tide Media
Craig Outhier,
editor, Phoenix Magazine
Virginia Smyth, executive editor. Seattle Magazine

3:15–4:15 p.m.

Breakout Sessions: Set VI

“This is CNN... Travel”
Brekke Fletcher, executive editor, CNN Travel  
Lilit Marcus, editor, CNN Travel

The Great Outdoors
Stephanie Pearson, Contributor, Outside
Jen Murphy, freelance, Writer & Editor
Everett Potter,
Columnist: USA TODAY; contributor: National Geographic Traveler, Snow; publisher & editor-in-chief: Everett Potter’s Travel Report

Elevating Your Video Content Game
Davyee Sutton, digtial video producer, Dream Network Media
Braden Worrell, Creative Director, 12 Stars Media

4:30-5:30 p.m.“Cool by the Pool” Social Hour
7–9 p.m.

Media Mixer
Dinah Shore Estate
Enjoy an evening with colleagues and the industry’s top media as we experience Palm Springs together in style.
This private residence is one of the finest examples of mid-century architecture in Southern California, the birthplace of the progressive design movement. The Donald Wexler-designed home is located within Palm Springs’ most-sought-after neighborhood, with the streets lined with homes once occupied by Hollywood celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Cary Grant, Dean Martin, Liberace and Elvis Presley.

Shuttles depart promptly at 6:45 p.m. from the lobby of the Riviera. Conference Badge required

Wednesday, May 24

7:00–7:45 a.m.Morning Fitness, Tai Chi Qigong – Arise and Shine! Join Michael Hamilton, Master of Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong, as we learn to “Transform Stress into Vitality.” Designed to “awaken the body,” “calm the mind,” and “enliven the spirit,” this ancient Chinese health exercise is performed in slow, even and fluid movements; with a calm concentration of mind. Excellent for beginners and adepts alike. On the Wexler Lawn
8:30–9 a.m.

PRSA 101 Networking Breakfast
Chat with members of your PRSA Travel & Tourism Executive Committee and PRSA staff about how to get the most out of your membership. Whether you're interested in joining the board, hosting this conference or tapping into the tools of PRSA...this session is for you.

9–10 a.m.

Collaborate with your peers on the industry’s hottest topics and gather ideas and inspiration as a very meaningful way to start your day. Roundtables will be broken out by more than 10 different industry topics including Building a Better FAM Trip, Productivity Tools You Can Use, Improving Your Online Press Kit and Reporting: Making Metrics Matter.

10:15–11:30 a.m.General Session
Editors Roundtable

Spud Hilton, travel editor, San Francisco Chronicle 
George W. Stone, editor in chief, National Geographic Traveler
Bruce Wallin, editorial director, Robb Report
Christine Quinlan, deputy editor Food and Wine

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