Below you’ll find information on all confirmed educational keynote, concurrent sessions and workshops. Updates may be made to the below prior to the event and exact times will be released soon.
Plenary Sessions / Keynotes:
Using Instagram and Snapchat to Drive Engagement
Travel photography abounds and social media makes sharing those photographs easy. Yet new challenges include how to best tap into channels like Instagram and Snapchat, how to select the best photos and what to expect from the effort. Instagram expert for Nat Geo Travel, Dan Westergren, will inspire you with examples of images that have captured the attention of thousands of travel dreamers as well as share campaigns that have taken a selection of photos and told specific stories through social channels. Dan will suggest ideas on ways to use Instagram and Snapchat as part of your digital media distribution strategy and advise on how to best do so with resources around you.
The love of food is universal and the cultural distinctions between one place to another can highlight local people and their traditions, the environment and the economy of the region. During this keynote a panel of experts will discuss the power of the local food and beverage tourism movement — how communities are working to professionalize and ready food-based artisanal companies for tourism and then how it all drives local economies when tour operators incorporate local ingredients, regional recipes, food producers and artisans as a key element of their tours. Using research done by the ATTA and exploring food tourism trends around the world, learn about some of the challenges and opportunities of featuring food, farmers, chefs and artisans as a key differentiator of your product. Your takeaways will include ideas on how to market itineraries that revolve around “food first tourism” and recommendations on what to consider when building a regional food focus into your itineraries or destination marketing strategy.
In 2014, an innovative partnership between the Whistler Chamber of Commerce and the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business overhauled Whistler community-wide service strategy. Discover how, in two years, the newly branded “Whistler Experience” program brought science to service, drove increased service scores in-resort and inspired Whistler to become the #1 mountain town in the world for delivering epic experiences. This keynote will help you think about your own guest service strategy, inspire you to refocus your attention on business-wide efforts that are “customer first” and introduce you to the Whistler Experience core program. Return home ready to reconsider and rethink your customer touch points along the very high touch adventure travel experience.
Luis Vargas returns to AdventureELEVATE as Emcee. Vargas is the Chief Brand Officer and President of Travel for the Leftlane Sports family of brands which includes The Clymb. The family of brands are 12 million+ member strong, e-commerce and content businesses selling gear, apparel and global adventure travel experiences. Luis has spent most of his career in the adventure travel industry having held leadership roles at iconic brands such as REI, The Walt Disney Company and Backroads. He is a graduate of The Anderson School of Management at UCLA, a Certified Sommelier, and sits on the Board of Directors of Sustainable Travel International, the Adventure Cycling Association and is a frequent advisor to the Adventure Travel Trade Association. Luis also sits on the Boards of several early stage travel startups including Trip Grid and Untrodden.
Concurrent Sessions / Workshops:
Mobile Technologies Offer New Customer Touch Points
As travelers drive mobile innovation through their heavy reliance on phones and tablets during travels, there are also opportunities to engage them pre- and post-trip planning in ways that create personalized services that customers are growing to expect. Ignoring mobile-ready websites for now, this is a session to learn about and be inspired from your travel industry peers who have experimented in the realm of mobile apps. What problem were they solving for their clients? What has been their return on investment? What was their investment? These questions and more will be addressed by three different businesses with different models and customer markets.
Alex Herrmann, Switzerland Tourism
Christina Tunnah, World Nomads
John Gunter, Frontiers North Adventures
Moderator, Monir Parikh
Getting Funds to Drive Your Strategy
Traditional funding mechanisms are often not friendly to adventure travel business models — equity can be questioned and business experience is difficult to prove. So, businesses are learning to get creative. From crowdfunding to community-driven solutions more opportunities exist for small to medium sized business than ever before. Learn about these opportunities as well as the complexities of getting an investor in your business for a cash infusion. This session will cover the opportunities, the risks, and the strategy behind modern day funding options.
Mike Brcic, Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Adventures
Using Your Business as a Force for Good – Part Two
This workshop will expand on the popular session held at last year’s AdventureELEVATE. A hands-on workshop where you will learn how to build a framework for building and measuring your B Corp potential. If you are an owner/operator, marketer or DMO interested in inspiring more stakeholders to create their businesses as a force for good – this session is for you.
Travel Agent Workshop: Let’s Talk
Travel agents can be a valuable channel for tour operators and destinations hoping to grow sales from North America. In this workshop, travel agents will share insight into their successful sales relationships during round table discussions covering essential partnership expectations plus how suppliers and operators can best prepare agents to match travelers with travel experiences. This interactive environment will encourage dialog and exchange so that tour operators and destinations learn from agents and vice versa. Get ready to move – we’ll encourage groups to rotate frequently to ensure some great relationship-building.
Liz Cherne, Travel Leaders
What Can Market Research Do For You?
Your clients and customers, and perhaps more importantly, your potential clients and customers, have myriad attitudes, preferences, and tendencies toward adventure travel. They have different media habits, online habits, price sensitivity and on and on. They also have different ways they go about finding the right trip for them. How can you and your company learn about these tendencies and then position yourself to play to your strengths with the right audience? Market research is often the first step. In this session, customer insights and analytics professional Scott Friesen will discuss the available tools and techniques and their relative pros and cons in service of helping guide the business decisions that adventure travel companies make every day.
Scott Friesen, Quadratic
WORKSHOP: Gearing Up for Bike Tourism
From road bikes to fat bikes to e-bikes, biking is big right now. In this panel, hear from four experts with experience in different aspects of the bicycle tourism industry as they present their stories and discuss the current state of biking in North America. Learn what’s hot, what the challenges are, how to develop a biking community and what the future might hold for this very exciting Adventure Travel segment.
Mike Brcic, Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Adventures
Tim Tierney, Kingdom Trails
Julie Horton, Experience Plus! Bicycle Tours
Ginny Sullivan, The Adventure Cycling Association
Disruptive Networking Adventure (DNA) Cocktail
ATTA’s DNA Cocktail is a new networking event resembling a creative marketplace. Tour operators, travel media, destination professionals, travel advisors — we’re all looking to build relationships with like-minded people. At the DNA Cocktail, there will be drinks and giveaways, a chance to win gear, and a surprise game that will make sure you create memorable connections and have fun doing business.
MediaExchange gives delegates the opportunity to have one-on-one meetings with the adventure media at AdventureELEVATE. Select your top media choices from a group of up to 15 adventure travel media professionals (their profiles are available to assist in your selections). The ATTA team will review your selections and arrange meetings based on your requests as well as based on the volume of interest from ELEVATE attendees. The staff will do their best to accommodate as many media requests as possible. By late May the ATTA will notify you of your final appointments. You should expect to receive between three to seven media appointments, lasting between seven to ten minutes each.
Established in 1990, the Adventure Travel Trade Association is the largest global network of adventure travel leaders. Our community is made up of ~30,000 individual guides, tour operators, lodges, travel advisors, tourism boards, destination marketing and management organizations, outdoor educators, gear companies and travel media who share a belief and commitment to sustainable tourism. The connections and creativity of this vibrant community come together both virtually and in person to create and deliver the solutions that propel our businesses and our communities toward a responsible and profitable future.