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Opening Keynote
Trends:  DestinationsNEXT 2023 Futures Study
Presented by: Pa
ul Ouimet, 

MMGY NextFactor

Paul Ouimet will present the results of the new DestinationNEXT 2023 Futures Study. This major initiative, completed every two years, will provide a comprehensive overview of the most significant trends affecting both leisure tourism and business events from around the world as well as a list of key strategies leaders can implement to help ensure the success of their organizations and destinations.

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Monday, General Session 2: 
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The 21 Laws of AI: A Practical Guide for DMOs
Presented by:   Matt Clement, Madden Media

Law 1: Do not let machines overshadow your humans.

"AI is a tool, not the craftsman. Let it assist, but never overshadow."


Navigating the complex world of AI can be both exciting and daunting. If you're seeking to understand its core, maximize its potential, and be alert to its pitfalls, it's essential to have a guide. How are your visitors engaging with it? What implications does it hold for them, your team and your destination? The 21 Laws of AI, presented by Madden Media's Matt Clement, will help provide clarity and direction as you navigate this ever-evolving frontier.

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Breakout Session 1: 
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Designing and Developing Unforgettable Visitor Experiences:
Presented by:  Andy Behling and Nick Behling, MI Playground
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This session will provide strategy and practical tips for creating impactful content that modern day storytelling and social media requires. Learn more about ways to fill your video content library for the “TikTokification” of the internet and how vertical video integrates into social media with a “Show and Tell” theme.

We will also take a dive into today’s social media landscape by looking at popular platforms including TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and where these each stand in the competitive market and the type of content they currently prefer.

Breakout Session 2: 

Say Goodbye to Brand Voice — Hello Social Media Voice

Presented by:  Nick Danowski, TwoSix Digital 


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In this session, Nick will give you the hard truth: you’re likely holding yourself back on
social media. With data-driven evidence and compelling visual examples, you’ll hear his
take on why you now need to adopt “social media voice” strategy to achieve your KPIs.
Learn the top 5 factors that determine if your messaging reaches hundreds of
thousands or just a few hundred users — all while acclimatizing to the new online order
of TikTok binges and Facebook Group debates. Actionable, unambiguous concepts for
instant impact.

Breakout Session 3:
The Cheat Code Workshop:  How to Improve your Strategy, Measurement, and Communications
Presented by: Matt Clement, Madden Media 

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by how best to communicate your DMO’s value to the community? Or how to develop a strong, stable strategic direction that ensures funding security and relevance for the years ahead? Join Matt Clement as he delves into an engaging workshop that explores how Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) can benefit from a well-crafted mission statement supported by a robust structure of Key Business Objectives (KBOs) and SMART Goals, all organized using the Pyramid Principle. This workshop will provide a comprehensive understanding of establishing a solid foundation for your DMO by creating a clear and concise mission statement that conveys your organization's purpose and drives its strategic direction. Matt will further elaborate on the importance of aligning KBOs and SMART Goals with your mission, ensuring all activities and initiatives are focused on achieving your organization's vision. He will introduce the powerful storyboarding technique to effectively communicate this cohesive framework, empowering you to create compelling narratives that bring your DMO's mission, objectives, and goals to life. Engage your audience, foster alignment, and drive success through enhanced communication strategies.

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Tuesday, General Session 1

Mitigating Risks and Liability – What DMOs Should Know

presented by Roxanne Steinhoff, Steinhoff Law

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 In today's dynamic tourism landscape, Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) face a multitude of challenges when it comes to managing risks and mitigating liability. This interactive speaking session and panel will delve into the crucial aspects that DMOs need to be aware of in order to protect their organizations. Participants will gain a broad understanding of where they are most likely to encounter risks, the steps they can take to protect themselves from unnecessary exposure to liability, and how to limit liability where exposure is unavoidable. Join us to discover practical approaches that will empower DMOs to navigate uncertainty with confidence and ensure organizational protection. 

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Tuesday, General Session 2 

 Grants Panel:  What's Available for Your Communities 

Each year millions of grant dollars go unused, often due to lack of awareness.  These experts will help identify opportunities and assist with navigating through the grants process with their respective organizations. Learn about opportunities with community development, outdoor recreation, arts and culture and more! Ample time will be allowed for Q & A. 

Panelists:  Jon Mayes. MIchigan DNR, Grants Management Section

                   Charles "Chuck" Donaldson, MEDC, Managing Director, Regional Prosperity (Regions 5/6)

                   Jeff Garrett, Capital Improvement Program Manager, State of MI Arts & Culture Council/MEDC

                   Susan Thorp, Area Specialist, Caro Area Office, Rural Development, United States Department of Agriculture

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