2017 Nebraska Tourism Conference

The La Vista Conference Center - La Vista, NE
October 17 - 19, 2017 
Hosted by Sarpy County Tourism & Nebraska Tourism Commission

Agenda  |  Register to Attend  |  Our Sponsors  |  Lodging Options
Carpooling Options  |  Silent Auction

This site will be continually updated as information becomes available.


TUESDAY, OCT. 17 - Casual Business Attire
8:00 AM                                  Registration Open
8:00 AM to 9:30 AM                Lincoln Highway Scenic & Historic Byway Meeting
9:30 AM to 11:00 AM              Nebraska State Scenic Byways Meeting
9:30 AM to 11:00 AM              Nebraska Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus (NACVB)

9:30 AM to 11:15 AM              Nebraska Hotel/Motel Association Meeting
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM            Newcomer's Orientation
10:00 AM to 11:15 AM            Nebraska Festivals & Events, Inc. Meeting
11:30 AM to 12:00 PM             Conference Welcome 
12:00 PM to 12:30 PM             Lunch
12:30 PM to 1:30 PM               Keynote Session 
                                                     ♦ "Tourism in the United States" 
                                                            -Nan Marchand Beauvois 
of US Travel Association

2:00 PM to 3:15 PM                Breakout Sessions
                                                    ♦ How to Tap into Group Tours 
                                                          -Micheal Collins, Nebraska Tourism Commission Group Tours

                                                      ♦ Re-creating Authentic Downtown Communities
                                                           -Dan Senftner, CEO Destination Rapid City
                                                      ♦ Turning a Wild Idea into a Successful Business
                                                           -Tim Vala, Vala's Pumpkin Patch
3:45 PM to 5:00 PM                Breakout Sessions
                                                      ♦ Thinking Outside the Box for Festivals and Events
                                                           -Brenda Leisy, Old West Balloon Fest
                                                           -Stacy Ann Griffin, Nebraska Cigar Festival
                                                           -Deborah Ward, Omaha Craft Brew Campaign
                                                           -David Fudge, Nebraskaland Days
                                                     ♦ Videos for Tourism Pros- How to Easily Create WOW!
                                                          -Catherine Heeg, Customized Management Solutions

                                                     ♦ Use Marketing and Economic Impact Reports to Advance Your Community
                                                          -Leon Aliski, Dean Runyan & Associates

6:00 PM to 9:00 PM                Sarpy County Showcase Event at Vala's Pumpkin Patch

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 18 - Casual Business Attire
7:30 AM                                   Registration Open/Breakfast
8:00 AM to 8:30 AM                Legislation Update - Andy Pollock
8:30 AM to 9:45 AM                General Session
                                                     ♦ Tourism Powers Economic Development
                                                          -George Zimmermann, Longwood International USA, Inc.

10:15 AM to 11:30 AM              Breakout Sessions
                                                     ♦ Social Media 
                                                          -Dave Flugge                                                  
                                                     ♦ Tourism Signage and Markers
                                                          Wayfinding Signage:
                                                               -Matt Neemann, Nebraska Dept. of Transportation
                                                          Nebraska Tourism Marker Program:
                                                               -Roger Jasnoch, Kearney Visitors Bureau
                                                               -Carol Schlegel, Red Willow County Tourism
                                                 ♦ Nebraska Through British Eyes
                                                          -Alan Wilkinson, Author 

11:30 AM to 12:00 PM            Lunch
12:00 PM to 2:00 PM              New Agency Update/General Marketing/ Brand Leverage/ 
                                                Nebraska Tourism Serves, Passport & Marketing Update

                                                     -Erin Wirth, Angela Sears, Jenn Gjerde, Nebraska Tourism Commission
2:15 PM to 3:30 PM                Breakout Sessions
                                                     ♦ Earned Media in Travel
                                                         -Trevor Meers, Editorial Content Director, Meredith Corporation
                                                         -Tim and Lisa Trudell, The Walking Tourists Blog
                                                         -Carson Vaughn, Freelance Writer
                                                     ♦ Re-creating Authentic Downtown Communities
                                                          -Dan Senftner, CEO Destination Rapid City
                                                     ♦ 2017-18 Grant Programs
                                                          -Nebraska Tourism Staff
4:00 PM to 5:15 PM                General Session
                                                     ♦ The Richest Man in Town
                                                          -VJ Smith, Life's Great Moments LLC

6:00 PM to 7:00 PM                Celebrate Nebraska Reception
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM                
Celebrate Nebraska Awards Banquet- Dress Attire                   

THURSDAY, OCT. 19 -                                                 
7:45 AM to 9:45 AM                Nebraska Travel Association (NETA) Meeting
10:00 AM to 12:00 PM            Nebraska Tourism Commission Meeting

Download a Visual Agenda
Highlighted Session Descriptions and Speaker's Bios


This conference is available for every business, destination, restaurant, lodging facility, festival and event organizer, resource providers, visitors bureau, chamber of commerce and economic development generators in the tourism industry to attend.  Sessions and speakers are designed to keep you abreast of the latest trends and data to help your business grow and to gain more visitors to your destination. One of the greatest advantages that you will experience from attending is the great networking opportunities with other peers in the industry who face the same challenges as you do.  Sessions are designed with you in mind, so when you get home, you may apply what you learned immediately in your business model and marketing.  Watch the NEBTOUR for updates on our featured speakers. 


Download the registration form below and get yourself registered to
attend the conference. Please print and complete one form for each person registering.

Register online for the conference with a credit card. There will be a small credit card fee required for all online payments.  

Registration is open until Wednesday, Oct. 11.


Send in your sponsorship commitment today to become part of the cutting edge in Nebraska’s Tourism Industry!  Sponsors may participate by sponsoring the recognition package that best suits their budget and promotional needs.  As a sponsor, you will be promoting and targeting your product or service to the people who will benefit from it the most, all the while, increasing your share of the state’s growing tourism market through quality networking opportunities. Sponsorship registrations forms are downloadable on the sponsor page. 

Find a sponsorship package designed to fit your budget and needs.  
Voyager  $7000       Traveler  $4000       Explorer  $2000        Hiker  $750

-------------------------  VOYAGER SPONSORS  -------------------------


-------------------------  TRAVELER SPONSORS  -------------------------


-------------------------  EXPLORER SPONSORS  -------------------------

Nebraska City Tourism and Commerce
Nebraska Travel Association
North Platte/Lincoln County Visitors Bureau
Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau
Nebraska Life Magazine


-------------------------  HIKER SPONSORS  -------------------------

Midwest Meetings
Kearney Visitors Bureau
True West Publishing
CTM Media
Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau
Nebraska Lottery

Omaha Magazine
Nebraska Craft Brewers Guild
Optix Digital Media
Nebraska Wine & Grape Growers Association
Maly Marketing

Omaha World-Herald
Hollman Media LLC

Make your lodging arrangements today!  Request the specific hotel's group code when making your reservations. The hotel recommends using Internet Explorer or Chrome when booking your reservations.  Make your reservations prior to September 24, 2017 to receive the discounted room rate. 

Courtyard La Vista     
Make reservations at the Courtyard

12520 Westport Parkway, La Vista, NE 68128
Conference Rate: $124, subject to tax, which is currently 18.1%
Phone: 402-339-4900, Fax: +1-402-682-3549,Toll-free: 1-866-634-7155  Group Code: NTCR  

Check in: 4:00 pm/Check out:11:00 am

Embassy Suites La Vista Hotel & Conference Center     
Make reservations at the Embassy

12520 Westport Parkway, La Vista, NE 68128
Conference Rate: $149, subject to tax, which is currently 18.1% 

Direct: 402-331-7400, EmbassySuites.com   Group Code: TC1
Check in: 4:00 pm/Check out:11:00 am


The Nebraska Tourism Commission invites you to submit nominations for the 2017 Nebraska Tourism Industry Awards. From innovative marketing programs to valuable tourism attractions, astounding work is being accomplished every day by our industry. The Nebraska Tourism Awards is a great way to recognize these efforts. The deadline to submit a nomination is Friday, September 8. 

Visit the Tourism Awards category page and download a nomination form.  Award winners will be announced at the Celebrate Nebraska Awards Banquet at the Nebraska Tourism Conference on October 18 in La Vista. 


If you are interested in carpooling, please notify Lisa Karnatz by emailing her at lisa.karnatz@nebraska.gov.  A list is being maintained for those who might be interested. 


Nebraska Travelers Association holds a NETA Silent Auction every year at the Nebraska Tourism Conference. Proceeds support conference scholarships and any administrative costs for the organization.  You will find a wide variety of items to bid on with the hopes of being the highest bidder.  Bidding begins with a preview of the items on Tuesday afternoon in the room.  Bidding ends on Wednesday. Winners will be notified to pick their items following the banquet.

If you are interested in donating an item for the auction, please adhere to the following guidelines:

  • All prizes donated should have a minimum value of $25.00
  • A clear, detailed description (dates, times, # of people, stipulations, etc) of the prize should be provided so those bidding will know exactly what they are bidding on.
  • If you are providing a gift certificate as your prize, please print up the actual certificate and place that in an envelope. Please DO NOT seal the envelope. We will contact you with the name of the top bidder for your records.
  • Please bring your prize donation to the conference. NETA will not be responsible for gifts/donations mailed. If you are not planning on attending the Travel Conference, NETA will assist you in locating someone who will be attending and can bring your donation.
  • Communities can put packages together by including an overnight stay, meals, admissions to attraction, etc.

If you plan to donate, please download and fill out the Silent Auction form below. Send the form Attn: Patty Glidden, Sandhills Motel & Canoe Rental, PO Box 368, Mullen, NE 69152.  308-546-2206 or email her at pglidde@neb-sandhills.net  You are responsible to get your donation to the conference, please DO NOT mail or ship your item to the hotel or to Patty. 

Check back often for more updates!


Calendar of Events