5 First Timer Tips: How to get the most out of Kansas Tourism Conference

Conferences are a great way to connect with people in your industry and learn from the best in the field.  The Kansas Tourism Conference (#KTC21) is THE conference to do just that and more!  You’ll love the motivational speakers, the free swag, networking with peers, awesome food and off-site experiences.   Here are some tips we’ve gathered to help make your first conference experience enjoyable and successful:

  1. Chart your course: It can be overwhelming and incredibly easy to get lost in the flow of events.  Before the conference, review the agenda in advance and pick out which sessions interest you the most focusing on areas of your role.  This will give you an idea how to structure your day and help you know where you need to be and when.  Find the tourism conference agenda here: Kansas Tourism Conference – Travel Industry Association of Kansas (tiak.org)
  2. Come prepared: Bring a small notebook, pen, business cards and your game face.  Throughout the conference you will get plenty of great ideas worth jotting down.  You’ll also meet many new people you may want to stay connected with after the conference.
  3. Be engaged: It’s hard to be fully engaged at the conference if you are constantly checking in with work and responding to email and phone calls.  Get the most out of the conference by minimizing “office work” and keeping non-conference activities to a minimum.  Focus and immerse yourself to gain from the session you are attending.
  4. Network: The whole point of a conference is communicating with people!  Don’t be afraid to attend social hour and off-site activities – hanging out and making conversations with complete strangers can be scary, however the majority of people at the conference are there to connect with like-minded individuals, too.  Many of these events also give you the opportunity to experience the conference host city like a VIP.
  5. Visit the vendors: Review the list of exhibitors before you arrive and highlight the vendors you need to meet. Seek out companies with opportunities that help improve your services.  This will help to use your exhibit time to your best advantage.  It’s also the best place to pick up some cool conference swag!

On your way to KDS? Five tips to help you get there by conference 2021!

Are you just mere steps away from obtaining your Kansas Destination Specialist designation? Maybe you have a book report to complete, or need to visit an attraction and write a quick report—click here to see where you’re at in the KDS journey!

Make 2021 the year that you go from seeking your KDS to joining the ranks of others who have earned this state-wide designation for tourism professionals. Let’s take a peek at certification requirements as a quick refresher (keep in mind this is not a renewal year, so only new KDS seekers are being awarded in October).

  • Earn 25 points by attending education conferences, seminars, webinars, trainings, etc. Points accumulate as follows: half point for webinar or seminar; one point for half-day session; two points for full-day session; and three points for two or more days. TIAK events are automatically awarded credit. For all other educational events, candidate must submit the Education Session Follow-up Form within the same year as the event was conducted.
  • Read and complete three book reports – one from each category. Categories include: Kansas, Marketing and Leadership. Click here to see the approved reading list!
  • Visit a Kansas attraction, 50+ miles from home, and submit the visiting attraction form. Earn one point for each attraction.

Here’s five tips to help you finish up those last requirements so you can call yourself a Kansas Destination Specialist this year!

  • Know where you stand and what is left to complete your designation.
  • Set aside time each week to finish each task, or if you need to visit an attraction more than 50 miles away, plan the day you’ll go and make a day-trip out of it! Take notes while you’re visiting so writing your report is easier. And, write that report ASAP when everything is still familiar!
  • Now that in-person meetings and events are mostly back in person, seek out potential trainings or seminars that could count toward your designation.
  • While there are dozens of book titles on the approved reading list, if you see one that falls into any of the categories, but isn’t on the list, just send the title, a brief summary and ask if it can be considered. Most of the time, it will be approved!
  • You’d be surprised at how fast those points can add up if you take advantage of all the TIAK and state tourism offerings hosted throughout the year. Destination Statehouse and the annual conference automatically count if you attend those events. Find a few more training options in travel, tourism, leadership or Kansas-centered topics, and you’ll be well on your way to KDS!

TIAK Marketing Awards: Top 10 Tips for an Award-Winning Entry

  1. Whether this is your first submission, or you have submitted for 10 years straight, these tips can help you create and submit the best TIAK marketing entry yet. We know you’ve got your eye on first place! Here’s a surefire way to make it happen…
    Start the process early!  You are already on the right track by reading these tips and starting to think about what you will submit this year.
  2. Check the basics before you submit. Be sure to read over the entry rules to submit into the correct categories.  The categories are separated by both budget and marketing project type.
  3. The more details the better. Include as many statistics in your reporting as possible.  (Examples: events- how many people attended? Websites- how many views?) When the judges have two entries with similar rankings and results, the more statistics on your project will possibly help you get ahead in the rankings.
  4. Partnerships are becoming so important; if you are working with someone local, don’t forget to include that! Whether it’s your local printer, museum, school, historical society, chamber, development cooperation, other communities, city/county or someone else, please include information on how they helped you and what monetary or voluntary aid/partnership you were provided.
  5. If the work was done by an internal team, REALLY emphasize that. If you are using an outside agency, describe your team’s input and direction in shaping the project you’ve entered. The judges like to see what you’ve contributed even when the work outsourced.
  6. Do not overlook something that has been done for years. The judges sometimes see important information being forgotten in the application.  The judges need to see all the details including partnerships being used, how resourceful the applicant was, photos, charts, testimonials, etc.
  7. Think outside of the box. There are so many possibilities for award submissions besides a website or visitor guide. Did you have a community festival that generated a ton of visitation? Maybe you had a great social media campaign that earned a lot of online traction? Consider everything from campaigns to printed publications, audio tours or profiles. With five categories, plus the people’s choice award, there’s surely something fitting for your marketing efforts!
  8. Make a report. Don’t just submit a few sentences in the text box.  Attach a document with project graphics, statistics, and how it positively impacted your community.
  9. Did you submit last year? Do not forget to go back and read the judges’ feedback. They give great information to help with future projects and submissions. Also, have another peer review your submission to give tips before you click send.
  10. You can’t win if you don’t submit! Be sure to get your entries in before the deadline of Friday, August 13. Click here for more information.

Registration is open for the 2021 Kansas Tourism Conference

What a year! Get ready to celebrate the travel and tourism industry at the Kansas Tourism Conference in Liberal, October 18-20, 2021. Be a part of the Kansas tourism industry’s “don’t miss” conference of the year. Registration is now open! Enjoy inspiring speakers, valuable educational information and fun networking opportunities. Kansas has so much travel and tourism talent and we can’t wait for you to meet each other!

For more information, and to register, visit the Kansas Tourism Conference event page. Be sure to look around and see what this year’s conference has to offer: a dynamic lineup of speakers, a silent auction, marketing awards, and so much more. When you’re ready to sign up, simply click “Register Now” in the Conference Dates section and get ready to celebrate. Registration is easy and you may select to complete your payment by using either credit card or check. But don’t forget to make your hotel reservation – the link is on the KTC event page.

Think you can dazzle your tourism peers even more? Share your talent in the TIAK Marketing Awards! Join TIAK in highlighting your skills in conjunction with the Kansas Tourism Conference. Entries must be submitted by August 13th and each submission may only be entered once. One winner from each overall budget category will be presented at the Awards Banquet. For submission requirements and registration, please visit the Marketing Awards page.

We look forward to celebrating travel and tourism at the 2021 Kansas Tourism Conference! Register today.

Registration is open for the 2020 Kansas Tourism Conference

What a year! Get ready to celebrate the travel and tourism industry at the Kansas Tourism Conference in Liberal, October 19-21, 2020. Be a part of the Kansas tourism industry’s “don’t miss” conference of the year. Registration is now open! Enjoy inspiring speakers, valuable educational information and fun networking opportunities. Kansas has so much travel and tourism talent and we can’t wait for you to meet each other!

For more information, and to register, visit the Kansas Tourism Conference event page. Be sure to look around and see what this year’s conference has to offer: a dynamic lineup of speakers, a silent auction, marketing awards, and so much more. When you’re ready to sign up, simply click “Register Now” in the Conference Dates section and get ready to celebrate. Registration is easy and you may select to complete your payment by using either credit card or check. But don’t forget to make your hotel reservation – the link is on the KTC event page.

Think you can dazzle your tourism peers even more? Share your talent in the TIAK Marketing Awards! Join TIAK in highlighting your skills in conjunction with the 2020 Kansas Tourism Conference. Entries must be submitted by August 21st and each submission may only be entered once. One winner from each overall budget category will be presented at the Awards Banquet. For submission requirements and registration, please visit the Marketing Awards page.

We look forward to celebrating travel and tourism at the 2020 Kansas Tourism Conference! Register today.