Monday, February 18, 2019

8:30 am - 5:30 pm | Registration Open

2:00 - 3:15 pm | Welcome and Opening Session

South Carolina Tourism – Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow
Duane Parrish, Director of SCPRT

South Carolina has enjoyed significant tourism gains over the past several years and SCPRT continues to work diligently to capitalize on these gains and ensure our state’s continued tourism success. Director Duane Parrish will kick off our 54th annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism & Travel with an informative overview of the state of South Carolina’s tourism industry, including some of the latest economic trends and tourism developments around the state. This session will also feature updates on PRT’s programs and services and a glimpse of what lies ahead for South Carolina’s tourism industry in 2019.

The Pitch

Think you know how to write a pitch worthy of drawing the attention of top travel editors and journalists? In this session, hear fellow South Carolina tourism partners test out their pitching skills on media who receive “new and notable” story ideas every single day. Listen in as the panel provides on the spot feedback, insight and tips on what works, and what does not. This…is The Pitch! 

3:15 - 3:45 pm | Afternoon Break

Please use this time to visit our sponsors and check out the State Parks Retail Store!

3:45 - 5:00 pm | General Session

The Pitch

Come back after the break for Rounds Two, Three, and the dramatic conclusion of The Pitch.  

6:15-6:45 pm | Buses Load for Opening Night Reception

7:00 - 9:00 pm | Opening Night Reception
From Homegrown to Downtown - A Real Columbia SC Evening


Columbia SC is a city where business and a rollicking good time have long been intertwined. Join industry friends and colleagues at the historic Lace House and the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion Complex for a sampling of Columbia cuisine, cocktails and live music.

*Buses will begin heading to the Governor’s Mansion Complex at 6:45 pm from the Hilton Hotel. The last bus will head to the reception at 7:15 pm. Attendees should plan to catch the bus, as parking around the Governor’s Mansion Complex is limited. Catch a bus back to the hotel between 8:30 pm and 9:00 pm. The reception will be indoors as well as outdoors (with tents and heaters, of course)! Attire is Columbia Chic – classy with a dash of whatever makes you feel like you.

Opening Night Reception Sponsored by:

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

7:30 am - 5:00 pm | Registration Open

8:00 - 8:45 am | Networking Breakfast

Begin your day with a light breakfast and networking with colleagues.  This is also a good time to stop by the sponsors’ booths to see how their services can help you meet your marketing needs.

9:00 - 10:15 am | General Session

The Next Frontier on Brand Innovation
Dustin Garis, Chief Troublemaker, Marketing and Innovation Expert

Every organization must continuously transform itself to capitalize on the changing world around it. When faced with the challenge of disrupting the world's largest marketing company (Procter & Gamble), Dustin Garis integrated lessons from his global expeditions that spanned more than 50 countries, thousands of consumers and thought-leaders from the most innovative Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurial ventures. What he uncovered is a brand revolution that focuses on life-enriching experiences. Coined “LifeProfit,” this creates the single most desired brand engagements by consumers, and it’s the engine behind innovative workforces. He inspires audiences with a customizable talk that takes you on a fascinating journey, transforming the way you approach your brand and your life.

10:15 - 10:45 am | Morning Break

Please use this time to visit our sponsors and check out the State Parks Retail Store!

10:45 - 11:45 am | DISCOVER Breakout Sessions

Continuing the Conversation with Dustin Garis
Dustin Garis, Chief Troublemaker, Marketing and Innovation Expert

So often, a compelling presentation from a dynamic speaker elicits thought-provoking questions, stimulates new ideas and leaves the audience yearning for more. This Q&A-style breakout session will provide an exclusive opportunity to continue the conversation with Dustin Garis as he fields questions from the audience and shares his insights into the next frontier on brand innovation.

7 Human Behavior Hacks that Increase Engagement and Response
Nancy Harhut, Chief Creative Officer, Nancy Harhut & Associates 

The emerging field of behavioral science will soon have a game-changing effect on how marketers communicate. Evidence is uncovered every day by social scientists that prove people are hardwired to behave in certain ways. And even though consumers THINK they are in control, the fact is that UP TO 95% of their purchase decisions are made subconsciously – automatically and reflexively.

Even more important, these automatic behaviors can be prompted! This has big implications for marketing – how we create ads and emails, design webpages, describe promotions, write content, etc.

By injecting these proven principles of behavioral science into our marketing materials, we can dramatically increase engagement and response. This session will reveal how marketers can easily add behavioral science to their work – tapping surprisingly persuasive scientific principles such as the Von Restorff Effect, the Scarcity Principle, and Eye Magnet Words. 

Come expecting to see lots of in-market examples, including some from the travel industry. And leave ready to increase the impact of your marketing campaigns as soon as you return to the office.

Attendees will: 

·         Discover how to hack hardwired human behavior to instantly up response

·         Learn the newest (and easiest) ways to make your copy and art trigger action 

·         Gain proven tactics that will increase engagement and results – the next day! 

Sports Marketing Panel


Tim Match, Associate Athletic Director, External Affairs and Revenue at Clemson University

Bob Moran, President, Charleston Tennis LLC

Eric Nichols, Senior Associate Athletic Director, Marketing & Branding at the University of South Carolina

Mark Mitchell, Professor of Marketing and Associate Dean of the Wall College of Business at Coastal Carolina University


Aron McGuire, Director, Olympic Training Centers at the United States Olympic Committee

It is no secret that South Carolina is a state that loves their sports and is loyal to their teams.  Explore the connection between our state's sports and the tourism it brings with it.

12:00 – 1:15 pm | Lunch

Learning – even in the form of an educational tour – takes energy! So before setting off on an afternoon of exploration, product-knowledge enhancement, and relationship-building, enjoy a casual, hearty lunch with your industry peers. 

And, no need to rush: the educational tours don’t begin departing until 1:15 p.m. 

Tuesday Afternoon Explore and Discover

This year's Governor's Conference has several opportunities on Tuesday afternoon to explore the tourism appeal of the Columbia area and discover best practices in the field of Marketing. The first set of activities features tours around the Columbia area. The second activity is golf.

Experience #1 | Crafted Columbia | Brewery Tour
Limit 45 attendees

As a mash-up of a capital city and a college town, Columbia SC has become an epicenter for chefs, artists, craftspeople, and craft beer of all stripes. Firmly rooted in a homegrown spirit, each Columbia brewery has its own character and its own way to make a good brew. Four shuttles will rotate among four breweries. Come together at a final stop to end the tour.

Experience #2 | Riverbanks Zoo Zipline Tour 
Limit  20 attendees

Riverbanks Zoo has amped up the cuteness factor with baby gorillas, lions and a baby giraffe born in 2018. In addition to a tour, experience pure exhilaration with “Zip the Zoo,” a zipline extending over the treetops and the Saluda River. To comply with safety guidelines, zipline participants must be between 70 and 250 lbs. Please read full zipline guidelines and helpful hints prior to registration. Waivers will be provided upon arrival. 

Experience #3 | Big Business in the Capital City Tour
Limit 35 attendees

Learn the ins and outs of big business in Columbia SC. Tour the Amazon Fulfillment Center followed by a tour of Nephron Pharmaceuticals and a enjoy a reception hosted by the Columbia region’s own Lou Kennedy.

Experience #4 | Columbia Then and Now Tour
Limit 45 attendees

Join Historic Columbia for an overview of recent projects and see magnificent restoration firsthand. Historic House & Garden Tour will be followed by a stroll on Main Street showcasing some of Columbia’s newest additions, followed by a reception at Lula Drake Wine Parlor’s event space, The Pastor’s Study. 

Golf Outing at Cobblestone Park Golf Club

Further Details to Come

6:00 - 9:00 pm | SCPRT Reception and Dine Around

Steps away from the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center is Columbia's Vista - filled with a wide variety of food and a lively atmosphere.  Explore breweries, enjoy dessert while browsing the area's art, or enjoy some music.  The hardest part of the evening will be choosing where you want to eat in this jam-packed food district.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

7:30 am - 1:00 pm | Registration Open

8:00 - 8:45 am | Networking Breakfast

Begin your day with a light breakfast and networking with colleagues.  This is also a good time to stop by the sponsors’ booths to see how their services can help you meet your marketing needs.

9:00 - 10:15 am | General Session
Shift Your Brilliance
Simon T. Bailey, Former Walt Disney Executive & Thought Leader 

Leading amidst uncertainty, the best leaders are the ones who lead differently. 

Simon's signature program was created to solve a problem: help individuals get out of the past and think like a leader of the future. You'll develop an enhanced sense of perspective, understand where you shine, and learn how to lead without a title to create effective change.  You are the director of your personal narrative. You have the power to reposition your team, your company, and your life by leading in a style that's uniquely you. By the end of this presentation, participants will uncover their inner strengths to reach new heights. 

10:15 - 10:45 am | Morning Break

Please use this time to visit our sponsors and check out the State Parks Retail Store!

10:45 - 11:45 am | DISCOVER Breakout Sessions

Continuing the Conversation with Simon T. Bailey
Simon T. Bailey, Former Walt Disney Executive & Thought Leader 

If Simon's presentation left you wanting to learn more, join in and continue the conversation during this breakout session.  You will have the opportunity to ask questions and gain insight from Simon on how to "shift your brilliance."

It Takes a Village - Creating a Destination of Distinction
Steve Chandler, Place Brand Strategist

Strong destinations are not created by a new flashy logo. No one ever decides to visit a place because of its tagline. Real destinations are created by a great experience that is delivered by hotels, restaurants, retail, businesses, infrastructure, and virtually everyone in the community. It's not delivered by DMO marketing. Steve will discuss the notion of place branding and what it takes to really make it work. Simply put, it takes a village. 

Noon - 1:15 pm | Industry Awards Luncheon

We close out the conference with the annual Industry Awards Luncheon, an event that will celebrate top performance in South Carolina’s tourism industry for the year 2018. Recognition will be given to the best tourism attraction or campaign, the best rural tourism effort and the most outstanding hospitality employee of the year.