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Insights to Outcomes

Insights to Outcomes - ESTO and Destinations International

Ted Sullivan
Aug 23, 2022 10:43:38 AM

The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual. Our tourism industry associations have been through some rough times these past years but this summer the result of their tenacity and vision was to flourish. Both the US Travel Association and Destinations International evolved their annual events into inspirational and educational thought leadership hubs designed to challenge attendees to become better stewards of the industry we love. These events took us back to a younger time, because a good party creates a temporary youthfulness. 

Destination International Annual - Toronto, Canada (July 2022) 

With close to 40 breakout sessions, several general sessions, creative networking options and fantastic evening venues for parties, the DI team put everything they had into their annual conference and it showed. The sessions were non-stop and tackled a variety of controversial subjects around violence, equality and workforce. After three days my head was spinning so much I didn’t mind the three-hour customs line to get back into the States. 

ESTO- Grand Rapids, MI - (August 2022) 

The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, value and agenda of an entire industry generation that is to eventually lead. The US Travel Team recognized that now is the optimum time to better tell the story of tourism to the world, and the ESTO conference is the perfect canvas by which to create and hone our narrative. A sponsored lobby bar, an all-day beer garden and a competitive speaking format were just a few of the new ideas that will become conference mainstays. Evolve or dissolve, it’s our decision and there is no better time for change than now. 

As·so·ci·a·tion (noun) - A group of people organized for a joint purpose. 

  INSPIRATION INSIGHT OUTCOME

 

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Amelia Island It’s not the size of the DMO, it’s how you tell the story. A convincing argument for building a visitor parking lot can outduel a Superbowl narrative if told with facts and flair. Amelia Island won the first pecha kucha contest against some heavyweight contenders by perfecting the art of storytelling.

 

 

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Lobby Bar Sponsorship If the busiest place at the conference is always the lobby bar it could be a fantastic spot for sponsorship. Zartico sponsored the first ever lobby bar at ESTO. Complete with a signature Zartini, logo lights and stuffed foxes. Better than a popcorn break any day.

 

 

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Client Challenges Don’t assume all client panelists are happy with your work. They may decide to air their grievances to a full session of their peers. Own your mistakes as an organization and talk about what you have changed with the lessons learned. The industry will appreciate the transparency.

 

 

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Methodologies New data and insights from new technologies will have their methodologies questioned heavily before embracement. Don’t assume everyone understands the data, sources, sample sizes or methodologies. Take the time to educate the room and make it part of the story.
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Content Sensitivity We overthink how sensitive everyone actually is about change, the past, or discussions of cultural realities. Our industry really wants to learn and address issues head-on. The more sensitive the subject the more packed the room. We should not shy away from a healthy debate.

 

We have learned that we can’t shy away from challenging content or acknowledging mistakes of the past. Transparency combined with integrity and fairness equals trust. When associations provide transparency more than just content and a place to gather, they cement themselves as a trusted partner.

No relationships are always sunshine, but when organizations can come together and share one umbrella, they can survive any storm. 

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