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12/31/17
Nebraska Tourism Serves Program

Receive the Nebraska Tourism Serves eNewsletter

2017 Nebraska Tourism Serves Projects

Help Paint a Welcome Center

at Corps of Discovery Welcome Center

September 2017 - More details coming soon.


2017 Nebraska Tourism Serves Projects

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Volunteers:

  1. Helped create a butterfly garden and cleaned the Visitor Center at the Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center in Wood River
    Media Stories: Kearney Hub

  2. Repainted the Platte Valley Barn at the Lincoln County Museum in North Platte
    Media Stories: 1011 News, The North Platte Telegraph

  3. Painted and landscaped to help the Wessels Living History Farm in York get ready to welcome summer visitors. 
    Media Stories: York News Times

2016 Nebraska Tourism Serves Projects

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nebraska Tourism Serves program was launched in 2016 with four service projects. 105 individuals participated, including Nebraska tourism industry members, University of Nebraska classes, 4-H clubs, community members, out-of-state visitors and Nebraska Tourism Commission staff. These volunteers put in 615+ man hours, making a significant impact on the tourism potential in Nebraska.

Volunteers:

  1. Restored the historic Fort Robidoux Trading Post in Gering by making improvements to the exterior.

  2. Cleared old railroad ties along the Cowboy Trail near Chadron, preparing the 321 mile trail, which follows the old Chicago & Northwestern rail route, for completion in the future. When completed, the Cowboy Trail will be the world's longest rails-to-trails trail.

  3. Landscaped and cleaned educational signs along the Shannon Trail, which offers tourists an interactive journey through Lewis & Clark history. The trail runs through 16 communities in northeast Nebraska.

  4. Restored the Nebraska State Historical Society's Pavelka Farmstead in Bladen, which provided the setting for a large portion of Willa Cather's most famous work, My Antonia. Tasks included cleaning and repairing the home's interior and landscaping.


About Nebraska Tourism Serves

Nebraska Tourism Serves brings volunteers together to restore and enhance Nebraska's tourism destinations. Through completing service projects, Nebraska Tourism Serves seeks to preserve the travel experience for future generations and increase awareness of Nebraska’s tourism destinations.

How does Nebraska Tourism Serves benefit tourism destinations? Watch this video to see how Nebraska Tourism Serves impacted the Willa Cather Foundation.

Nebraska Tourism Serves coordinates up to four service projects annually. All Nebraska tourism destinations are invited to apply to be one of the service sites. The Nebraska Tourism Commission works with the selected service sites to ensure that both the service site's leaders and all project volunteers have an exceptional experience and project goals are met.

*Nebraska Tourism Serves is not a grant program and does not provide funds to any chosen service site. What makes Nebraska Tourism Serves valuable is the support given by the Nebraska Tourism staff and the project volunteers.* 

Nebraska Tourism Serves projects typically last one to two days. Nebraska Tourism staff work with the selected service sites to:

  • Gain volunteers by helping to market to members of the Nebraska tourism industry; local, state, and/or national organizations and groups; and individuals with a special interest in the mission of the service site.

  • Gain publicity opportunities by sending out a press release to local and state media organizations and seeking interview opportunities.

  • Publicize the service project through Nebraska Tourism marketing channels in order to increase awareness of the destination. For example, Nebraska Tourism staff can create videos that can be posted to the Visit Nebraska website and social media channels.

  • Assist with planning the service project, including event logistics, coordinating volunteers, soliciting food or supply donations, etc. Nebraska Tourism staff work with the service site's leaders to perform any tasks that help make the service project a success.

  • Encourage collaboration among Nebraska tourism industry members. Encourage tourism industry members to build and/or strengthen mutually beneficial relationships.

The responsibilities of the service site's leaders include organizing supplies for the service project and working with Nebraska Tourism to attract local volunteers, publicize the event locally, and plan event logistics.


Other Community Development Programs

Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program provides Nebraskans with safe, affordable and accessible housing and infrastructure; quality jobs and investment through financing new and expanding businesses. Created under the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, the CDBG program merged seven categorical programs into a pool of community development funds yearly distributed according to a formula weighing population and measures of distress (poverty, age of housing, housing overcrowding, and growth lag).

The purpose of the Tourism Development (TD) Category is to provide for investments in effective and affordable tourist attraction facilities to quality communities that are investing in long-term development.  This provides a sound basis for assisting tourist attraction projects that have attracted significant financial support and are likely to have long-term positive impacts on their local and regional economies.  Tourist attractions projects that service both a regional and a local economy of community need are a key element in satisfying the state objective.  The objective of Tourism Development is to assist tourism development projects that have already attracted significant financial support and are likely to have long-term positive impacts on the local and regional economics. 

  • Historic Restorations
  • Scientific and Educational Interpretive Educational Sites & Facilities
  • Participatory Sports Facilities
  • Convention Centers
  • Cultural and Heritage Recreational Sites and Facilities
  • Supporting activities that include removal of material and architectural barriers that restrict the mobility and accessibility to sites/facilities for the elderly and severely disabled individuals in support of eligible tourism activities. 

The maximum grant amount to be awarded is $350,000 of CDBG Tourism Development funds. All TD projects require a minimum 25% match.

Additional information: http://www.neded.org/files/crd/cdbg/2016/CDBG_Investments_Impacts_2016_web.pdf

12/01/17
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.
 


AGENDA         

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
 

REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE

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. 

REGISTER TODAY TO ATTEND THE CONFERENCE

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

OR...
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.



OUR SPONSORS

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
Sojern
True West Publishing
CTM Media
Nanonation
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



LODGING
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
 


NOMINATE A TOURISM ENTITY OR
MARKETING CAMPAIGN FOR A NEBRASKA TOURISM AWARD


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. 


INTERESTED IN CARPOOLING?

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 TRAVEL ASSOCIATION'S SILENT AUCTION

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!

 

11/30/17
2017 Speaker Agenda

2017 Highlighted Sessions and Speaker's Bios
Return to Nebraska Tourism Conference page

TUESDAY, OCT. 17 - Casual Business Attire
Keynote Session 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM              
♦ "Tourism in the United States" 
     -Nan Marchand Beauvois of US Travel Association


Tourism in The United States: Learn how U.S. Travel works every day to protect the interests of the U.S. travel industry.  U.S. Travel represents members through a coordinated, cohesive strategy to communicate the industry’s concerns and priorities to elected and appointed federal officials. They are also the authoritative leader in travel research providing statistical data, published articles and economic impact studies to influence important travel policies and to assist you in strategically planning your marketing efforts, efficiently spending your travel promotional funds and making better educated business decisions.

Nan Marchand Beauvois is a strategic leader with more than 25 years of travel industry experience. Her successful career has been built on the personal tenets of creativity, passion and entrepreneurial thinking. Her innovation and strategic leadership were responsible for creating branded products and promotions that were engaging, imaginative, effective and able to increase the bottom line of both top destinations and Fortune 500 ravel companies.  Nan has been recognized two years in a row as one of Successful Meetings’ 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry.

Prior to joining U.S. Travel she was the executive director of Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau, responsible for branding the city as a year-round business and leisure destination, beyond the Rose parade and Rose Bowl, in the competitive Los Angeles market.  Concurrently, she led an aggressive sales program for its expanding convention center. Prior to joining the DMO world, Nan spent 15 years at Universal Hollywood, her last position being vice president and sales.

She has lent her skills to industry associations and has served as a member of U.S. Travel’s IPW Planning Committee, California Travel and Tourism Commission International Marketing Advisory Committee, the national Tour Associations marketing Committee, TTRA Board member, the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board Marketing committee and was a long-term board member CalTravel, where she served as chair in 2000-01.

Nan attended the University of California at Los Angeles, studying political science/international relations and romance languages. She is fluent in French and conversational Spanish. She lives in Arlington, VA. with her husband and son.

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


Tap into Group Tours:  The multi-billion dollar group tour market is ever changing, and this session will show you what you can do to bring group operators to your attraction, community or area. You’ll learn the tricks of the trade to make yourself “group ready,” but also how you can work with the Nebraska Tourism Commission’s group tour manager. If you’ve always wanted to get into the group market, this session is for you.

Micheal Collins has been the group tour manager for the Nebraska Tourism Commission since 2012 and since then has worked to market and promote the state to group tour operators across the U.S. and Canada. He is a Certified Travel Industry Specialist and has regularly attended a number of group related conventions, including American Bus Association Marketplace, National Tour Association Travel Exchange, Select Traveler Conference, and Travel Alliance Partner’s TAP Dance. Micheal has had experience in creating group tour itineraries and has worked with DMO’s, attractions, and other tourist entities to make them “group ready.”

                                                     
♦ Re-creating Authentic Downtown Communities
     -Dan Senftner, CEO Destination Rapid City


The creation of a central gathering space is an economic catalyst for downtown communities. Tourists and regional visitors seek out authentic experiences and are increasingly looking for “where the locals are.” In this session, learn how to successfully incorporate a central plaza into your downtown, foster community pride, increase tourist spending and capitalize on downtown revitalization projects.  This same session will also be offered at 2:15 pm on October 18.  Dan is open to meeting briefly with requesting attendees. Please let him know of your intent to schedule a time with him. 

*** Please note: This session is offered both on Tuesday and Wednesday to provide the opportunity for everyone to hear Dan's presentation. He will share how the creation of a central gathering space is an economic catalyst for downtown communities. Tourists and regional visitors seek out authentic experiences and are increasingly looking for “where the locals are.” In this session, learn how to successfully incorporate a central plaza into your downtown, foster community pride, increase tourist spending and capitalize on downtown revitalization projects.  Dan is available to spend one-on-one time with those that are interested.  Dan will be available the entire conference, so please let him know when you would be available for a 20 minute slot of his time. 

Dan Senftner Bio:
Dan Senftner, President and CEO of Destination Rapid City, has been a Downtown Rapid City business owner for 20 years. He served as Vice Chairman of Destination Rapid City since its inception in 2008, and was named President and CEO in 2010. His passion is in the betterment of Rapid City and the Downtown area, and increasing the quality of life for visitors and locals alike.

Senftner has served on many boards with several organizations in Rapid City including Capital Campaign Manager for the new Calvary Lutheran Church, Rapid City Economic Development Partnership, Rapid City Convention and Visitors Bureau, Destination Rapid City, Rapid City Downtown Association, Rapid City Historical Society, the City Task Force for Future Development and the Rapid City Downtown Business Improvement District Board. Senftner also is very involved in the creation and implementation of an updated Downtown Master Plan. He is continually serving as a consultant for many Downtown communities throughout the United States.                                

♦ Turning a Wild Idea into a Successful Business
-Tim Vala, Vala's Pumpkin Patch

Tim, a city boy from Omaha with a Degree in Education and having trouble finding a full-time job in the school systems, had a wild idea that he could become a farmer.  Luckily, he came upon some land he could buy a little at a time, bought a tractor he didn’t know how to drive home and planted fruits and vegetables he didn’t know how to grow.  Research, self-education and perseverance helped him succeed.  Today, Vala’s Pumpkin Patch has grown into a 212-acre operation with nearly 55 acres of pumpkins planted every year.  His wife Jan took on the crucial business roles of marketer, merchandise manager, personnel manager and accountant.  Today she works full time for Vala’s Pumpkin Patch and is known to always remember each of the 600+ employees’ names.  Hear their amazing story of how a wild idea became a successful family business that is now slowly transitioning over to the next generation.

Tim Vala Bio:                                                                                      
Tim Vala studied education at Nebraska Wesleyan University, but when he had trouble finding a full time teaching job, he was inspired by his love of gardening to start his own business, a pick-your-own farm. He found some land an older farmer was willing to sell off bit by bit, he bought a tractor he didn’t know how to drive, and he planted fields of fruits and vegetables he wasn’t really sure how to grow. At first he focused on pick-your-own strawberries and ran several corner farm stands in the Omaha area, but after a lot of research and success growing pumpkins he switched to specializing fall attractions. Now heading into its 33rd season, Vala’s Pumpkin Patch is a 6-week fall festival that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Tim and the Vala family continually work to create a wholesome, family friendly destination where people of all ages can have fun together and make magical memories to last a lifetime. 


Breakout Sessions  3:45 PM to 5:00 PM                                                           

♦ Thinking Outside the Box for Festivals and Events
Garner advice from a panel of four festival/event hosts as they each speak on the organization of, and the challenges they overcame in the events they host.  Find out how they addressed those challenges in order to create a sustainable and prosperous festival.  Learn where each event is headed in the future and go home with first hand knowledge and enthusiam to create/make better your own community's event.   

          -Brenda Leisy, Old West Balloon Fest
          -Stacy Ann Griffin, Nebraska Cigar Festival
          -Deborah Ward, Omaha Craft Brew Campaign
          -David Fudge, Nebraskaland Days


Old West Balloon Fest: The sunrise launch of 18 hot air balloons in 2015 was the first time a balloon launch had happened in Western Nebraska for over 16 years. The balloon event started in 1982 as part of the Old West Weekend. In 1988, 34 balloonists from across the country filled the Western Nebraska sky during the three day event. This year on Labor Day weekend, citizens from across Nebraska and neighboring states will have the chance to marvel at the launch of 30 hot air balloons in Mitchell. After liftoff, attendees will enjoy food booths and vendors, a national music act with a night glow and fun activities for the whole family. The Balloons will launch at the Old Airport in Mitchell Nebraska.

Brenda Leisy received her Bachelor of Arts with emphasis in Marketing from Chadron State College, where she was also named Marketing student of the year in 2006. Brenda started her professional career at Nebraska Northwest Development Corporation (Economic Development) in Chadron, Nebraska, and graduated from the Heartland Economic Development Course.

In 2012, Brenda started her position as the Scotts Bluff County Tourism Director, where she is responsible for promoting tourism in Western Nebraska.  Locally, Brenda is involved with several volunteer organizations including; Co-Chair for the Scottsbluff Celtic Gathering, Platte Valley Attractions, Valley Visions, Marketing Chairman for the Legacy of the Plains Museum, a member of the Monument Marathon Race Crew, and Committee Member of Friends of the Robidoux Trading Post.

Additionally, Brenda is also involved in many state wide tourism organizations including; the Nebraska Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, Nebraska Tourism Association, and the Western Nebraska Tourism Coalition.

Lastly, Brenda shares the honor of being named the Scottsbluff Star-Herald Citizen of the Year for 2015-2106 with Old West Balloon Fest Co-Chair, Becky Horne. Brenda also enjoys traveling throughout Nebraska, but more importantly; spending time with family and friends.
 

Nebraska Cigar Festival

Stacy Ann Griffin

Omaha Craft Brew Campaign: Visit Omaha created a collaborative partnership with local Omaha craft breweries to create a new Omaha attraction that would increase visitation and enhance Omaha’s regional image as a craft brew destination.

Deborah Ward, Vice President of Marketing and Communication for the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau, is responsible for the development and execution of marketing and advertising strategies that increase visitor demand and awareness of the city of Omaha. Her team recently won a national Telly award for the “Now Serving Omaha” video campaign.  The video series showcases Omaha’s unique contribution to the national food scene. Her team also won an ADDY award for the “It Happens on Bob” campaign which gave a one-of-a-kind bridge a larger-than-life personality.

Prior to that, Deborah spent 26 years as an award-winning journalist for the CBS affiliate in Omaha. She was recognized by Common Cause of Nebraska for an investigative news story that led to the FDA ban of Ephedra, and was recognized by the Associated Press for an in-depth news investigation into unsafe carnival rides in Nebraska, which resulted in a change in state law.
 

NEBRASKAland DAYS was created in 1965 by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and held in Lincoln for the first 3 years before it was moved to North Platte in 1968. There it joined the Buffalo Bill Rodeo, widely renowned as the world's first spectator rodeo. The festival was named Nebraska's Official State Celebration by the Legislature in 1986. 

The festival runs for 11 days in June, and includes 4 nights of Rodeo, large parades, food events, free family entertainment and ends with a concert series featuring A list entertainment from Country Music. The most recent festival that concluded in June featured the Legendary Alan Jackson, and 2 time male vocalist of the year Chris Stapleton. It drew nearly 90,000 visitors from 40 States. 

David Fudge has been involved with NEBRASKAland DAYS since 2005. He spent 6 years on the Board of Directors prior to being retained as the Executive Director in 2011. David is a graduate of North Platte High School and North Platte Community College. He spent 21 years in broadcast media, mostly in North Platte.

David enjoys contributing to the community, having served a variety of organizations. David currently sits on North Platte's Quality Growth Fund Citizens Review Committee, the North Platte Public Schools Foundation, and he is the current Treasurer of the Nebraska Travel Association (NETA).  He is Past President of the North Platte Ambassadors, Past President of the Nebraska Associated Press Broadcasters Association, serves his Church family as Chairman of the Youth Education Committee, past chair of the Building Committee.

David and his wife Lisa have two daughters, Ellie and Carli, who also enjoy helping with NEBRASKAland DAYS.
                                                
♦ Videos for Tourism Pros- How to Easily Create WOW!       
-Catherine Heeg, Customized Management Solutions

3, 2, 1 Action!  Video is the newest way to reach more fans and amplify your social marketing.  We’ll focus on providing tips to produce your own videos as well as tools to fire up your imagination.  Learn how to: •Create short videos of still photos •Secrets to Live video •Market your videos socially and amplify your messaging •Capture images and footage that inspire people to travel.  In this intermediate session you’ll walk away with examples, tools, best practices and techniques that will have you integrating a variety of types of video into a variety of social platforms.
 

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



Sarpy County Showcase Event at Vala's Pumpkin Patch  6:00 PM to 9:00 PM    
Sarpy County Tourism would like to invite you to be our guests for the evening.  You will be treated to an evening at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch for a catered meal and two bonfires plus the Pavilion.  Sarpy County Tourism is happy to cover the cost for your admission fee and meal. Tim and Jan Vala will welcome us in the Pavilion before dinner is served (6:00-6:15pm) and they are providing passes to anyone who wants to ride the train around the property.

We will be there during their prime season so expect to see lots of guests.  In 2016, Vala’s saw over 300,000 visitors come through their gates in the five weeks they were open.  With over 50 attractions, three live shows daily, it is an attraction you will want to see!  We will experience as much as we can however we will only be onsite a few hours as they close at 9:00 pm.

Since it is an October event, we recommend you bring a jacket and wear comfortable shoes as the terrain is up and down and can be uneven. Bring money if you would like to take home delicious fudge, kettle korn, yummy pies, souvenirs, pumpkins and/or gourds.  Vala’s is located approximately eight miles from the La Vista Conference center. It is an easy drive if you want to take your own vehicle, or plan to hop on a bus provided by Sarpy County Tourism.

We hope you will join us for this fun event that showcases our community.  We are looking forward to seeing you at the 2017 Travel Conference at the La Vista Conference Center.   Linda Revis, Sarpy County Tourism Director.
 

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 18 - Casual Business Attire
Registration Open/Breakfast  7:30 AM                                  
Legislation Update 
8:00 AM to 8:30 AM

  -Andy Pollock                
General Session  8:30 AM to 9:45 AM               
♦ Tourism Powers Economic Development
     -George Zimmermann, Longwood International USA, Inc.

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


Lunch  11:30 AM to 12:00 PM            

New Agency Update/General Marketing/ Brand Leverage 
12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
              
Nebraska Tourism Serves, Passport & Marketing Update
     -Erin Wirth, Angela Sears, Jenn Gjerde, Nebraska Tourism Commission
Breakout Sessions 
2:15 PM to 3:30 PM  
  
♦ 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
♦ Update from New Public Relations Agency
General Session 
4:00 PM to 5:15 PM   
             
♦ The Richest Man in Town
     -VJ Smith, Life's Great Moments LLC


SPEAKERS BIOGRAPHIES - 

CATHERINE HEEG

Catherine Heeg, owner of Customized Management Solutions, is a tourism, travel and hospitality industry expert with over three decades experience. Her popular workshops and seminars earn rave reviews and drive results that clients can see in their marketing ROI.

She is committed to helping clients quickly learn the best ways to leverage the power of social media and other relevant marketing tactics. An engaging speaker, workshop leader and social media marketing and communications expert, Catherine delivers proven tools that help companies reach their target audience, differentiate themselves from the competition and achieve authentic visibility that translates into winning results.

Catherine designs and delivers customized interactive workshops with big picture ideas and valuable implementation tips.

She takes the mystery out of marketing by providing the step-by-step guidance that helps clients succeed. Catherine enjoys leading webinars and workshops and consulting with clients to help them build their social media buzz.

Social Media Solutions clients can opt to have their social sites built and maintained by a group of tourism professionals. Coaching and customized programs deliver ongoing market intelligence and support with simple tools and techniques that can be implemented immediately. Outcomes are monitored and results are measurable.

Professionals who are serious about taking consistent, winning actions every day to build their business and achieve measurable results love working with Catherine.

DAN SENFTNER 

Dan Senftner, President and CEO of Destination Rapid City, has been a Downtown Rapid City business owner for 20 years. He served as Vice Chairman of Destination Rapid City since its inception in 2008, and was named President and CEO in 2010. His passion is in the betterment of Rapid City and the Downtown area, and increasing the quality of life for visitors and locals alike.
 

Senftner has served on many boards with several organizations in Rapid City including Capital Campaign Manager for the new Calvary Lutheran Church, Rapid City Economic Development Partnership, Rapid City Convention and Visitors Bureau, Destination Rapid City, Rapid City Downtown Association, Rapid City Historical Society, the City Task Force for Future Development and the Rapid City Downtown Business Improvement District Board. Senftner also is very involved in the creation and implementation of an updated Downtown Master Plan. He is continually serving as a consultant for many Downtown communities throughout the United States.

GEORGE ZIMMERMANN
George Zimmermann brings more than two decades of experience in tourism destination marketing and research to the Longwoods team and its clients.

He was the Vice President responsible for Travel Michigan at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation from October 2001 until April 2014.  Under his leadership, Travel Michigan and its advertising agency, McCann Detroit, created and launched the award-winning Pure Michigan branding campaign in 2006, a campaign that Forbes ranked among the top ten tourism promotion campaigns worldwide.  Initially a regional campaign, Pure Michigan became Michigan’s first significant national advertising campaign starting in 2009.   During his tenure, the annual tourism promotion budget rose from $5.7 million to $30 million.


In 2012, George was named one of the “Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality Sales and Marketing” by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI).   In 2011, the National Council of State Tourism Directors named him State Tourism Director of the Year for his work at Travel Michigan.  Prior to joining Travel Michigan, George served as Ohio’s Tourism Director, and he was named State Tourism Director of the Year in 1997. He is the only person to have received this honor twice.

George served on the U.S. Department of Commerce Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, the Board of Directors of the U.S. Travel Association and the Board and Executive Committee of the National Council of State Tourism Directors.  He was elected as Chair of the Council four times.

In 2014, George led the effort to create the National Council of State Tourism Directors Alumni Group and was elected the group’s first chair.  He has consulted with and/or presented to the state tourism offices in Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming, as well as convention bureaus in Ashville, North Carolina; Green Bay, Wisconsin; the Poconos and York, Pennsylvania.

Before his work in tourism, George spent more than a decade in all phases of broadcasting, including serving as the Statehouse Bureau Chief for the Ohio Public Radio/Public Television Statehouse Bureau.  He was the editor of the situation comedies “The Jeffersons” and “Good Times” in Los Angeles, and he was the technical director for the two pilots of “Austin City Limits” in Texas.

He is the author of three travel-related books and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

Return to Nebraska Tourism Conference page

10/19/17
Accepting Tourism Award Nominations

Tourism Awards

Nebraska Tourism Commission recognizes outstanding contributions in tourism in the State of Nebraska.  Review the categories and guidelines below, download the nomination form and send in your nominations today!  


2017 AWARD CATEGORY DESCRIPTIONS

Industry Awards

1.   FRIEND OF TOURISM

The Friend of Tourism award is given to a person, business, organization, or media outlet that may not be directly involved in the tourism industry but which has been very supportive of local, regional and/or statewide efforts to promote and develop tourism. Freelance writers, corporations, organizations, newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, and other businesses are eligible for this award. The nominee must demonstrate creative involvement in promotional efforts and provide leadership and resources to various projects. Describe the nominee’s business or association and their efforts to increase tourism revenue in the area. Explain the nominee’s contributions to tourism promotion and include examples of their efforts to partner with the local tourism industry.

2 & 3.  OUTSTANDING EVENT   (Two Awards) 

Only events that occurred between August 1, 2016 and July 31, 2017 are eligible.  

                Category 1: Population 9,999 or below

              Category 2: Population 10,000 or above

Nominees include events such as festivals, themed events, community celebrations, and holiday programs. The nominated event should show a high level of organization, event production, and community involvement. Provide a brief history of the event, including why it was started and how it has evolved. Factors that can influence selection include attendance growth, innovative marketing and special promotional efforts. Include its effect on the local economy and any changes to the event that have occurred. Be sure to include the community population where the event takes place and provide a summary of volunteerism, press coverage, and annual attendance. New events are eligible in this category.

4.   OUTSTANDING MARKETING CAMPAIGN

This award is given to a community, business, or organization that successfully conducted an advertising campaign or tourism awareness program. This may include a new brand campaign, a social media campaign, a new or updated website, or even a publication.  The nominees must show the various avenues used to promote tourism and the success of those projects. Describe how the tourism campaign increased revenue and/or local awareness about the importance and economic impact that tourism has on communities and areas. Be specific on how the nominee conducted its campaign, the targeted audiences, and how those audiences were chosen. Include budget information; samples of projects; and copies of photographs, advertisements, and other documentation about the history of the campaign and its tourism impact on the region. Judged on research, creativity, demographic target and strategy, nominations should have an explanation of how program was implemented and measurement of achievement and results originating from the targeting.

5.  OUTSTANDING TOURISM ATTRACTION

This award is given to Nebraska tourism attractions that have worked toward the continued success and growth of their communities and the state’s tourism industries. Attractions that have undergone significant improvements, changes, or additions to increase the number of visitors to the attraction, community, region, and state are encouraged. All Nebraska attractions are eligible for this award, such as museums, zoos, cultural and performance art centers, and historical sites and parks. Describe the attraction’s impact on the local, regional, and statewide tourism levels. Describe how the attraction has worked to increase the number of visitors to the community, region, and state. Describe how the attraction has partnered with other tourism entities in the community, region, and state.

6.  OUTSTANDING AGRITOURISM OR ECOTOURISM ENTITY

This award is given to an outstanding Agritourism and / or Ecotourism entity, such as outfitters, bird and wildlife watching facilities, working farms and ranches, farmers markets, wineries and vineyards, non-profit groups, and nature tourism-related businesses that have had a substantial impact on the local, regional, and state’s tourism economy. Describe how the entity has impacted the tourism industry, its history, future plans and projects to further better this industry, and the services/activities/events it offers. Include supporting materials, such as letters of support, customer testimonials, marketing materials, and plans and other information to demonstrate the entity’s overall economic and tourism impact.

Henry Fonda Award

HENRY FONDA AWARD

Named after a famous Nebraskan who never forgot his roots, the Henry Fonda Award recognizes an individual who has devoted many years of service to promoting Nebraska on a local, regional and statewide level. This person loves Nebraska and has made it their life’s work to support and promote education, tourism and the preservation of Nebraska’s precious historical treasures. Please include a brief bio of your nominee and why this person is deserving of this award. Please include greatest achievements, partnerships within projects, and tourism and economic development accomplishments.

**************************

Nomination Guidelines

In your nomination, please provide the requested information on the following pages for each Industry award category.  Please provide three copies (one original and two copies) of each nomination. Include letters of support and other supporting materials. (Please do not send letters of support and supporting materials separate from your nomination.)  Use no more than two typed pages for each Industry award nomination. Letters of support and other supporting materials do not count toward the two page maximum. Nominations must either be stapled or binder clipped. Nominations in notebooks or folders will not be accepted.  Please use the same nomination form for each award category. 

All award nominations were due Friday, September 8, 2017.


Winners Announcement

Award winners will be announced at the Celebrate Nebraska Awards Banquet on October 18, 2017.

Tourism conference award winners receive recognition in press releases following the event and will have their acceptance photos shared on the Tourism Commissions website and social media channels.

They also receive a FREE premium profile on the Tourism Commission’s website in 2018 (a $700 value). A premium profile allows for an enhanced photo gallery and the ability to include videos. It also allows the destination to have a longer description than the basic profile.


 

10/19/17
2017 Nebraska Tourism Awards

Now Accepting Tourism Award Nominations

Nebraska Tourism Commission recognizes outstanding contributions in tourism in the State of Nebraska.  Review the categories and guidelines below, download the nomination form and send in your nominiations today!  Download the nomination form here.


2017 AWARD CATEGORY DESCRIPTIONS

Industry Awards

1.   FRIEND OF TOURISM

The Friend of Tourism award is given to a person, business, organization, or media outlet that may not be directly involved in the tourism industry but which has been very supportive of local, regional and/or statewide efforts to promote and develop tourism. Freelance writers, corporations, organizations, newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, and other businesses are eligible for this award. The nominee must demonstrate creative involvement in promotional efforts and provide leadership and resources to various projects. Describe the nominee’s business or association and their efforts to increase tourism revenue in the area. Explain the nominee’s contributions to tourism promotion and include examples of their efforts to partner with the local tourism industry.

2 & 3.  OUTSTANDING EVENT   (Two Awards) 

Only events that occurred between August 1, 2016 and July 31, 2017 are eligible.  

                Category 1: Population 9,999 or below

                Category 2: Population 10,000 or above

Nominees include events such as festivals, themed events, community celebrations, and holiday programs. The nominated event should show a high level of organization, event production, and community involvement. Provide a brief history of the event, including why it was started and how it has evolved. Factors that can influence selection include attendance growth, innovative marketing and special promotional efforts. Include its effect on the local economy and any changes to the event that have occurred. Be sure to include the community population where the event takes place and provide a summary of volunteerism, press coverage, and annual attendance. New events are eligible in this category.

4.   OUTSTANDING MARKETING CAMPAIGN

This award is given to a community, business, or organization that successfully conducted an advertising campaign or tourism awareness program. This may include a new brand campaign, a social media campaign, a new or updated website, or even a publication.  The nominees must show the various avenues used to promote tourism and the success of those projects. Describe how the tourism campaign increased revenue and/or local awareness about the importance and economic impact that tourism has on communities and areas. Be specific on how the nominee conducted its campaign, the targeted audiences, and how those audiences were chosen. Include budget information; samples of projects; and copies of photographs, advertisements, and other documentation about the history of the campaign and its tourism impact on the region. Judged on research, creativity, demographic target and strategy, nominations should have an explanation of how program was implemented and measurement of achievement and results originating from the targeting.

5.  OUTSTANDING TOURISM ATTRACTION

This award is given to Nebraska tourism attractions that have worked toward the continued success and growth of their communities and the state’s tourism industries. Attractions that have undergone significant improvements, changes, or additions to increase the number of visitors to the attraction, community, region, and state are encouraged. All Nebraska attractions are eligible for this award, such as museums, zoos, cultural and performance art centers, and historical sites and parks. Describe the attraction’s impact on the local, regional, and statewide tourism levels. Describe how the attraction has worked to increase the number of visitors to the community, region, and state. Describe how the attraction has partnered with other tourism entities in the community, region, and state.

6.  OUTSTANDING AGRITOURISM OR ECOTOURISM ENTITY

This award is given to an outstanding Agritourism and / or Ecotourism entity, such as outfitters, bird and wildlife watching facilities, working farms and ranches, farmers markets, wineries and vineyards, non-profit groups, and nature tourism related businesses that have had a substantial impact on the local, regional, and state’s tourism economy. Describe how the entity has impacted the tourism industry, its history, future plans and projects to further better this industry, and the services/activities/events it offers. Include supporting materials, such as letters of support, customer testimonials, marketing materials, and plans and other information to demonstrate the entity’s overall economic and tourism impact.

Henry Fonda Award

HENRY FONDA AWARD

Named after a famous Nebraskan who never forgot his roots, the Henry Fonda Award recognizes an individual who has devoted many years of service to promoting Nebraska on a local, regional and statewide level. This person loves Nebraska and has made it their life’s work to support and promote education, tourism and the preservation of Nebraska’s precious historical treasures. Please include a brief bio of your nominee and why this person is deserving of this award. Please include greatest achievements, partnerships within projects, and tourism and economic development accomplishments.

**************************

Nomination Guidelines

In your nomination, please provide the requested information on the following pages for each Industry award category.  Please provide three copies (one original and two copies) of each nomination. Include letters of support and other supporting materials. (Please do not send letters of support and supporting materials separate from your nomination.)  Use no more than two typed pages for each Industry award nomination. Letters of support and other supporting materials do not count toward the two page maximum. Nominations must either be stapled or binder clipped. Nominations in notebooks or folders will not be accepted.  Please use the same nomination form for each award category. 

All award nominations must be in the Lincoln office postmarked by Friday, September 8, 2017 for consideration.

Send nominations to:    
Jenn Gjerde, Nebraska Tourism Commission
301 Centennial Mall South, 1st Floor
PO Box 98907
Lincoln NE 68509


Winners Announcement

Award winners will be announced at the Celebrate Nebraska Awards Banquet on October 18, 2017.

Tourism conference award winners receive recognition in press releases following the event and will have their acceptance photos shared on the Tourism Commissions website and social media channels.

They also receive a FREE premium profile on the Tourism Commission’s website in 2018 (a $700 value). A premium profile allows for an enhanced photo gallery and the ability to include videos. It also allows the destination to have a longer description than the basic profile.


2017 AWARD NOMINATION FORM

Download and submit the nomination form as your cover page. Please check the category box for which you are submitting a nomination. Nominations may be submitted in more than one category. Include a separate cover page for each nomination.  To be included, please do not deviate from nomination guidelines. Nomination forms without cover pages will not be accepted. 

Postmark deadline:
Friday, September 8, 2017.

Please contact Jenn Gjerde, 402-471-3768, jenn.gjerde@nebraska.gov if you have questions.

Download the award nomination form below.