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Final details for the educational seminars at Contact are being worked out. Titles and descriptions are subject to change depending on current events, member needs, and speaker availability. Please check back often for updates.

Noon–1:30 P.M.

Facilitators: Chase Poffenberger, Academic Travel Abroad
Catherine Prather, CTP, NTA

Network in a different way in this all-attendee, interactive, thought-provoking session. Led by NTA Chair Chase Poffenberger and NTA President Catherine Prather, participants will share information and proven solutions, discuss industry trends, communicate ideas for tour product, and create partnerships. You’ll leave this session with ideas and information that can be implemented in your own company—plus plenty of industry contacts.

1:45–3 P.M.

NTA Network Forums

  • DMO Network Forum
    Come learn about NTA’s DMO Network and join the conversation. Attendees will form roundtable discussions on topics relevant to DMOs of all sizes, geography, and composition. While destinations might compete for customers and spots on an itinerary, NTA is where industry colleagues can share ideas and best practices to find synergies and increase visitation.
  • Tour Operator Network Forum
    This open forum is your opportunity to discuss with experienced peers several topics relevant to your business. You’ll be able to share opinions, ask questions, and gather ideas from your fellow NTA tour operators.
  • Tour Supplier Network Forum
    Join us for a conversation with NTA’s Supplier Network, where you can share ideas and best practices with your industry colleagues. Your goal is to bring the largest number of visitors to your place of business and provide them with quality service during their visit. We are all looking for ways to increase visitation and spending, so there are synergies to discuss as industry colleagues.


9:45–10:45 A.M.

Opening Session
Speaker: Paul Vitale, Matt Birk and Company

The road to recovery may be long and winding, but signs are pointing in a positive direction. Many of your industry colleagues are returning to work, receiving inquiries and bookings, and resuming travel. Join us as we look to the future and explore where we’re headed, what you want out of the next year, and how you can achieve your goals.

11–11:45 A.M.

Powered Productivity: Super Tech Tools to Get Stuff Done
Speaker: Beth Ziesenis, Your Nerdy Best Friend

Exasperated by email? Tired of tedious tasks? You’re not alone. Your Nerdy Best Friend, aka Beth Ziesenis, will give you a research-based look at common productivity problems, followed by the technology to solve them. You’ll discover how to use these technology tools to work more efficiently with your teams, get organized, and finally get stuff done. Additionally, you’ll discover low-cost, high-value apps and tech tools that you can start using immediately, tips and ideas from your colleagues, and ways to increase efficiency and improve relationships to get things done.

Safe Travels

Moderator: Debra Asberry, Women Traveling Together
Panelists: Chase Poffenberger, Academic Travel Abroad
Dan Flores, Maverick Helicopters
Lisa Catron, Memphis Tourism
Kelcie Zepatos, The Arcade Restaurant

Everyone in the tourism industry welcomes the return of travel, but each of us also have many, many questions. In this session, we’ll look to experienced industry leaders to better understand the nuts and bolts of reopening travel. What should every tour operator be thinking about? How are DMOs helping their partners reopen and stay healthy? What actions are suppliers taking to make guests feel safe and welcome? See? Many questions. Let’s find the answers together.

1:45–2:45 P.M.

The Good Professional’s Guide to Bad Guys: Who Wants to Hack You and How to Stop Them
Speaker: Beth Ziesenis, Your Nerdy Best Friend

Passwords, phishing, privacy? Pfttt! You might think you’d rather tally the numbers in the phone book than deal with your password problems. But online security issues—and solutions—don’t have to be boring, scary, or ignored. Author Beth Z, aka Your Nerdy Best Friend, will have you laughing and learning with the real facts about the threats you face using the technology at your fingertips. And, more important, you’ll leave with practical tips and tools for breathing easier, including understanding the vulnerable and surprising personal data areas that hackers seek, a method for managing your logins and passwords, protecting your privacy on public networks, developing good online security habits, and protecting yourself from the newest cyber threats.

Social Selling: Turning Prospects into Customers and Customers into Your Digital Salesforce
Speaker: Corey Perlman, Impact Social Media

It’s not a question of whether or not social media is an effective sales tool. The question is whether or not it’s working for you. Corey will unpack the sales process in this session and motivate you with a step-by-step process for winning business on social media. He’ll share best practices from years of experience helping his clients generate leads, build credibility, close the sale, and turn happy customers into repeat business and referral partners. Additionally, you’ll learn new ways to find new leads, digital blind spots that can damage your credibility, content tips to stay top of mind, and the secret to turning your customers into salespeople.

3:15–4:15 P.M.

Social Media Tips, Tricks & Tools to Avoid Overload and Keep Your Sanity!
Speaker: Corey Perlman, Impact Social Media

Go behind the scenes with Corey as he shares his favorite sites, apps, and plug-ins for content creation, management, and syndication. You’ll walk away with brand new tools for your toolbox that will make you more efficient and effective at digital marketing.

Lessons from the Road
Panelists: Mark Hoffmann, CTP, Sports Leisure Vacations
Kate Scopetti, Mid-Atlantic Receptive Services
Jerry Varner, CTP, Making Memories Tours

As travel and group tours resume, questions might arise of how to handle restrictions and protocols with a group, implement new policies and procedures, re-work itineraries, and many others. Hear from a wide geographic spread of tour operators who have been running programs and learn what is working for them, how they have handled certain situations, and the lessons they’ve learned from the road.


8:30–9:15 A.M.

Community Counts: A new model for Tourism in our Recovery
Speaker: Greg Takehara, Tourism Cares

Over the last year, calls to action have been made for tourism to come back stronger and more sustainable as we recover from COVID-19. With the anticipation of returning to “normal,” there is also a fear that tourism will find itself in an unmanageable state, with people and places feeling the consequences. Community tourism, by involving nonprofit, local, and social enterprise into the tourism supply chain, is one method to rebound more sustainably and responsibly.

In this session, we will hear from the CEO of Tourism Cares on the steps travel companies can take to involve more community-led organizations and social enterprises in their product. From real-life examples and the questions we can ask, to the places we can find these opportunities, attendees will leave with the foundation of a plan for more sustainable offerings in their product.

Engaging Multicultural Audiences
Speaker: Stephanie Jones, Blacks in Travel and Tourism

This session will provide a framework for understanding multicultural marketing and how to target and attract African American leisure travelers. The framework will address market potential, preferences, buying patterns, and other characteristics of selected racial and ethnic groups. Session participants will learn effective tactics to reach African American markets and best practices for creating a multicultural marketing strategy.

9:45 A.M.–4 P.M.

Sightseeing Tours
Between educational seminars and evening network dinners, Memphis invites you to see Tennessee! Space for each sightseeing tour is limited, so please only register for one.

Turn Up the Volume
This two-hour power trip begins with a guided tour of Sun Studio, where you’ll experience outtakes from recording sessions and touch Elvis’ first microphone. (“That’s All Right,” right?) Next, cruise over to the Edge Motor Museum, which showcases iconic sports cars from the postwar United States to the 1970s. After lunch from a local favorite, you’ll hop on the Backbeat Bus Tour for an extraordinary musical artist neighborhood adventure ride that includes the history (and singalongs) of rock ‘n’ roll, soul, and blues.

African American & Civil Rights Tour
You’ll start your meaningful, memorable Memphis tour at the Burkle Estate and Slavehaven Underground Railroad Museum, which reveals secrets hidden a century and a half ago. The next stop is the National Civil Rights Museum and its interpretation of 400 years of the civil rights movement. The museum is built around the former Lorraine Motel, the site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Following a delicious barbecue lunch, the tour takes you to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in the Soulsville neighborhood, where you’ll explore Memphis soul music through 2,000 artifacts and pieces of memorabilia. (And do not apologize if you start dancing.)

Explore the Outdoors/Get a Taste of Memphis
Most of your tour will be spent at Shelby Farms Park, and be sure to wear the appropriate clothes to explore the great outdoors. This 4,500-acre outdoor wonderland can outfit you for bike rides, zip-lining, self-guided hikes/exploration, and much more. Note: The tour’s 15 participants will be evenly divided to enjoy the activities mentioned, all at the participants’ own risk. The provided box lunch is definitely risk-free, though. You’ll cap off the trip with a visit and tasting tour of Old Dominick Distillery.


9:30–10:30 A.M.

The Future of Group Travel
Speaker: Jeff Ment, Ment Law Group

Navigating the ever-changing policies and laws of suppliers and governments can be difficult. Join Jeff for a look at the best practices for post-COVID travel, and learn what you need to do to stay safe and sane through all the chaos.

Independent Travel: Product Diversity and New Revenue Streams Through Private and Small Group Development
Speaker: Jim Warren, Anderson Vacations

As our industry starts to move forward again, Independent Travel (or FIT) is emerging as a vibrant market for those looking to expand the value, flexibility, and intimacy of their travel experience. The demand for private and small group itineraries is creating opportunities for tour operators and suppliers to develop new sources of revenue by diversifying their traditional group product to include a more flexible and customized product. Join us to explore the opportunities, challenges, and rewards of independent travel.

10:45–11:45 A.M.

Spotlight Session: All-attendee Power Hour
Facilitators: Elaine Moulder, Brilliant Edventures

Wrap up your week at Contact by joining your NTA colleagues for an open conversation you can use to expand on any of the questions, ideas, and conversations raised during the week, as well as during your time together in Memphis. This is also the time to share your key takeaways and expectations as Contact 2021 draws to a close and the industry begins its road to recovery.

1:30–4:15 P.M.

Educational Outings

Culinary Walking Tour
Explore various eateries that will take you to the South Main neighborhood and learn about the extraordinary history of Memphis from the Arcade Restaurant to the Green Beetle, Rizzo’s, and more.  We’ll also put a little rock ‘n’ roll to your experience at the Smithsonian Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum.

Brewery & Distillery Tours
Craft beer is hoppin’ in Memphis. Our artesian wells produce the crisp water that has been filtered for 2,000 years to help create some of the best craft beer in the world. With onsite brew tours and tastings, plus serving locations around Memphis, our small batch breweries have proven to be just as robust and flavorful as the city itself.

Explore Crosstown & Arcade Restaurant
On this walking tour, you can experience a theater workshop, a cooking class, or Made from Memphis. You will get a chance to see the old Sears and Roebuck catalog building, now refurbished into a multiplex building.  and And we’re adding a twist: a cooking demo at the oldest café in Memphis, built in 1919. At Arcade Restaurant, you’ll meet Kelcie and talk about the celebrities who have visited the café and the movies that featured this hidden gem.

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