Blizzard Reimagined 2024

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What is Blizzard Reimagined?

Blizzard Reimagined is a professional development conference for tourism / destination marketing organizations (CVBs, chambers of commerce, regional tourism organizations, etc.) within Tennessee. Programming to include educational and networking opportunities.


Tuesday, February 13

10:30 - 12:00           Optional Pre-Conference TDTD Office Hours *Appointment Required*
Members of TDTD will be available to meet with you one-on-one in 15 minute appointments related to the following topics: Grants, Welcome Centers, Sales, Data/Research, Marketing & Digital, Outreach & Initiatives, PR/Communications, Rural, and Commissioner Ezell.
Request your appointment by emailing Andi Grindley

12:00 - 1:30 p.m.     Opening Lunch, Welcome & Keynote: How to Market to, Sell to, and Serve People Not Like You
If you could grow your business simply by marketing to your existing clients and raking in more referrals, making money would be a cakewalk. But to generate new revenue, you have to win over the customers and prospects you're not getting, but could be. And typically, the customers you're not getting are ones who are "not like you."

You know how to sell. You know how to communicate effectively with your customers. But how do you form a connection with diverse markets that are completely different from one another? When working with diverse customers and prospects, you need to be able to break through barriers to connect in a meaningful way, build trust, and tap into values. You need tactics that are crafted specifically for groups of people and their cultural preferences. 

People spend money on what they value. Show customers and prospects how you fit into what they value, and they'll show you the money.

Using consumer insights and real-world, relatable examples, "How to Market to, Sell to & Serve People Not Like You" shows you how to grow your business with simple, effective, and proven tactics that don't cost a dime or take weeks to get off the ground. 

You'll learn:

  • The research-based differences for how men and women want to be sold. 
  • Consumer insights for diverse groups that will cement your relationships and foster exceptional customer experiences.
  • How to smooth over mistakes and and problems - the EXACT words customers want to hear from you. And the ones they don't.

Presenter: Kelly McDonald

1:30 - 2:00 p.m.       Networking / Ice Breaker 

2:00 - 3:00 p.m.       Advocacy: Nothing, Nurturing, and Nudging
We've seen DMOs large and small have budgets challenged this year. Tourism advocacy should be at the heart of your destination marketing. Do your funders understand what tourism means to your community? Are you sharing the value of tourism throughout the year? In this session, you will hear tips on sharing the value of tourism, engaging stakeholders, creating partnerships, and advocating for infrastructure and marketing dollars. 
Presenters: Commissioner Mark Ezell; Melanie Beauchamp, Assistant Commissioner; Josh Gibson, Director of Research

3:00 - 3:15 p.m.       Break

3:15 - 4:15 p.m.       The Future of Destination Marketing: The End of DMOs as We Know Them
Veterans of the sector will remember when "Heads in Beds" was the mission of every DMO in the land. And while securing overnight visitors in our communities is still a primary goal, successful DMOs are increasingly realizing their mandate is so much more. Destination marketing author and sector thought-leader Bill Geist will steer attendees through the evolution of our craft and identify the next-generation roles that DMOs will embrace to become the community shared value our destinations need and deserve. 
Presenter: Bill Geist

4:15 - 5:00 p.m.       Break: Room Check-In

5:00 - 6:00 p.m.       Reception  

6:00 - 7:30 p.m.       Dinner: Commissioner Ezell & TDTD Presentation


Wednesday, February 14

8:00 a.m.                 Breakfast Available

8:30 - 9:30 a.m.       Safeguarding Destinations: Crisis Communication Fundamentals
This insightful presentation explores the intricacies of planning for reputational threats to your destination. Delve into the strategies that ensure destinations can effectively navigate and communicate during challenging times, safeguarding their reputation and stakeholder and visitor trust. Discover fundamental principles, real-world case studies, and actionable steps for crafting strong holding statements, from natural disasters to global crises. Cory will help you learn to unravel the art of knowing when to accept responsibility, maintaining transparency, reassuring stakeholders, and fostering resilience in the face of unforeseen challenges in the tourism industry.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Learn how to identify and define a destination-level crisis.
  • Know how much responsibility to take for the crisis and when.
  • Gain insights into creating a holding statement.
  • Understand what your steps should be when a crisis hits.

Presenter: Cory Cart, APR

9:30 - 10:30 a.m.     Session

10:30 - 10:40 a.m.   Closing Remarks


Blizzard Reimagined will be a conference for casual attire, so feel free to join us in jeans and your favorite destination swag! 


Due to some limitations with ARPA reimbursement, please contact Andi Grindley if you have any related questions. 

For questions not answered here, please contact Zach Ledbetter.

Cory Cart

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Cory Cart, APR, has over 20 years of public relations and destination branding experience in the tourism industry. He specializes in helping destinations anticipate crises and developing crisis communication plans to limit the damage of reputational threats.

He has served as an in-house practitioner or executive PR counsel for government, municipal, corporate, non-profit, and Fortune 500 companies. His client experience includes Google Cultural Institute, GoRVing, Allianz, Southwest Airlines, Carnival Cruise Lines, New Mexico Tourism Department, Maine Department of Tourism, New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, Puerto Vallarta, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and more than 100 rural destinations across the country.

Cory was named 2016 PR Practitioner of the Year by the Public Relations Association of Louisiana, honored as a Sr. PR Practitioner by the Southern Public Relations Federation, and earned his national accreditation in PR (APR) in 2015. His PR work has won over 25 national and international awards for PR and destination/municipal branding campaigns.

Additionally, Cory is a public relations instructor at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication.

Kelly McDonald

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Kelly McDonald is considered one of the nation's top experts in leadership, DEI, marketing, the customer experience and customer trends.

Her client experience includes brands such as Toyota, Nike, NASA, Kimberly-Clark, Harley-Davidson, Great Clips, Miller Beer, and Sherwin-Williams.

Kelly was named one of the "10 Most Booked Speakers in the U.S." and ranked #1 on the list of "25 Hot Speakers" by Successful Meetings Magazine.

She has been featured on CNBC, in Forbes, INC. Magazine, BusinessWeek, CEO World, Fast Company, and more. 

She is the author of four bestselling books.

Kelly lives in Denver, CO. and when she's not on the road speaking, she enjoys boxing (yes, boxing - not kickboxing) - and shopping for high heels. She's also learning to play the cello.

Bill Geist

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Bill Geist is the Chief Instigator at DMOproz (aka Zeitgeist Consulting), a firm specializing in strategic planning, organizational advocacy, governance, marketing and legislative issues for Destination Marketing and Management Organizations across the Americas. Since 1995, Bill has worked with over 200 DMOs from Alaska to Belize.

Formerly the CEO of the Greater Madison (WI) Convention & Visitors Bureau, Bill was at the epicenter of the public battle to build a downtown convention center designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Prior to his stint in Madison, he directed the Kankakee County (IL) CVB and oversaw a number of top-draw tourism events including the Domino's Pizza Outboard Powerboat National championships. Even before his first DMO gig decades ago, the foundation of his marketing experience came from his years in broadcast media in the greater Chicago market. 

Bill holds an MBA from the University of Wisconsin and an undergraduate degree in Political Science. His second book Destination Leadership, is a deeper and updated version of his first book Destination Leadership for Boards. Bill is host of the Industry Podcast: DMOU (Destination Marketing/Management Organization University), interviewing the best and brightest DMO professionals each month. Bill is also a contributing author to the Destinations International sponsored "Fundamentals in Destination Marketing" and is currently a board member of the Destinations International Foundation.