Welcome to AZGCOT

Complimentary WiFi (Network: Westin_CONFERENCE | Password: TUSWICONFERENCE)

Monday, July 10

2:30PM CONFERENCE KICK OFF! – Canyon Ballroom

General Session: AOT State of the State Tourism Industry Update, Lisa Urias, Director, Arizona Office of Tourism

AOT’s annual presentation will offer a brief look at the research data, recovery programs, marketing plans, and advertising strategies that contributed to a successful year. AOT will also share our strategic vision and path forward for the industry.

3:30PM General Session: Up, Up and Away! – Canyon Ballroom

Travel and tourism can only thrive when connectivity is in place. Hear from Arizona’s air connection hubs (AKA Airports) on the latest data and trends and what we as the tourism industry can do to help support increased air travel to our state.


  • Brian Gall, Airport Director, Flagstaff Pulliam Airport
  • Chad Makovsky, Director of Aviation Services, Phoenix Sky Harbor Int’l Airport
  • Ryan Smith, Director of Communications & Government Relations, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority
  • Austin Wright, Chief Communications Officer, Tucson Airport Authority

4:30PM Conference Reception

Join AOT and your industry colleagues to enjoy a conference kick-off reception in the Exhibit Hall from 4:30-6:30pm. Dinner this evening is open to plan with colleagues and friends.

6:30PM Open Evening or Optional Sponsor Dinners

Tuesday, July 11

7:00-8:00AM How to Make a Social Media Video – Session 1 – Lantana

Join us for this interactive session to learn social media video tips, tricks and best practices to create simple yet compelling short-form videos. You will have the opportunity to apply what you learned as we break up into small groups and practice shooting videos around the hotel property. Your finished piece will be highlighted during the conference. REGISTER HERE-Session 1

Speakers: Jordyn Walworth, Social Media Marketing Manager, Arizona Office of Tourism and Dave Levin, Content Manager, Visit Tucson

8:00AM Continental Breakfast 

8:45AM General Session: David Huether, Deputy Director, Research, National Travel and Tourism Office, U.S. Department of Commerce – Canyon Ballroom

9:15AM General Session: Renegades Write the Rules, Amy Jo Martin – Canyon Ballroom

Humans connect with humans, not logos. Amy Jo Martin has guided some of the world’s most iconic people and companies in humanizing their brands to create connections that convert. She turns brands into Renegade brands by positively disrupting the way they think, execute and show up, which generates maximum impact and revenue. You will leave the session with 10 tangible Renegade Rules that help you go from idea to action and green light that “Why Not Now?” idea you’ve been thinking about, that same day — right then and there. If not now, when? If not you, who? Renegades write the rules.

10:30AM Morning Break 

11:00AM Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Now that you’ve heard the power of Renegades Write the Rules join Amy Jo Martin for a Q&A session.  The first 100 attendees to the breakout session will get a copy of her New York Times Best Selling book.  In the book, Amy Jo shows how to build a faithful following and beat the competition clamoring for people’s attention by continually delivering value – when, where, and how people want it. People want to be heard, to be involved, to be entertained, to be adventurous, to be informed.

Speaker: Amy Jo Martin

It is said that “necessity is the mother of invention” and during COVID  the Town of Tusayan realized how true this proverb is. With borders closed, the international tourists Tusayan historically relied on to fill their hotels, eat at their restaurants and enjoy their attractions weren’t coming. Through sheer determination, relationship building and trust, competitors were able to pull together to create a domestic consumer marketing strategy that not only promoted the Town of Tusayan but other Northern Arizona destinations, fund it and cooperatively execute it. During this session, stakeholders from the Town and region will discuss the challenges, stakeholder-and-community buy-in, strategy, campaign and results.

Moderator: Jamie Daer, Arizona Office of Tourism 


  • Stoney Ward – President, Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce, Buck Wild Hummer Tours
  • James Troutman  – Vice President, Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce, General Manager, Pink Adventure Tours, Tusayan
  • Karlyn Bunting – Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce, Manager of GrandCanyon.com
  • Miranda Baldosky – Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce, Director, Canyon Community Alliance
  • Keri Bieber – Director of Media Services, Off Madison Avenue

From influencers to storytellers to brand ambassadors, more than 50 million people on social media identify as content creators. But the best content creators are also community builders – both in and outside the social feed. Join us for a meet and greet with AOT’s Appreciate AZ Ambassadors to learn more about why they signed on to contribute to this campaign, how they approach educating their followers, and how you can build similar partnerships to promote your destination or core values.

Moderator: Jordyn Walworth, Social Media Marketing Manager, Arizona Office of Tourism


  • Lauren and Own Steinwall, Content Creators @theazhikeaholics
  • Heidi & Zander Ault, Founds of The Cyclist’s Menu, and The Spirit World 100 and the Patagonia Lumber Company
  • Katie Pollak, Content Creator @trustyourtrail
  • Christina Rico, content creator @hikersledge

This session will provide valuable information on the benefits of working with OTAs and Receptives, and which outlet(s) would be best for your community and/or product.

Moderator: Jessica Remington, Director of Travel Industry Marketing, Arizona Office of Tourism

Speakers: Hylton Fothergill, Bonotel Exclusive Travel; Maxwell Key, Viator

12:00PM Conference Lunch – Storytellers with Megan Finnerty – Canyon Ballroom

2:00PM Concurrent Breakout Sessions

We’ve all heard that video is king and that TikTok reigns supreme, but the truth is short-form, mid-form, and long-form content all have their place in your marketing mix. In this panel, we’ll talk about the various types of content and when to use each to help connect with different visitors in different ways.

Moderator: Sasha Howell, Chief Strategy Officer, Off Madison Ave.


  • Rachel Abady, Creative Director of Branded Content, Atlas Obscura
  • Anna Hrach, Senior Strategist, Convince & Convert and Social Pros Podcast
  • Dave Levin, Content Manager, Visit Tucson
  • Lee McLaughlin, Vice President of Marketing, Visit Tucson

This session will look at some initiatives AOT’s International Reps have been working on as well as some future programming including what international travel looks like right now to the State and future trends anticipated.

Moderator: Christina Parisi, Sr. Intl Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service Tucson

Panelists:  AOT’s International Representatives

2022 was a record year for domestic visitation in Arizona, both for the number of visitors and the amount being spent in the state’s communities. A better understanding of who is visiting Arizona, why they’re coming, what they’re doing, and when they’re visiting is a key piece to continuing this success and ensuring your marketing aligns with traveler behaviors. Anna Blount with Longwoods International will delve into the most recent and relevant findings from the Arizona Travel USA® study, and highlight similarities and differences in behaviors and preferences among the state’s regions.

Moderator: Brittany Augustine, Director of Research, Arizona Office of Tourism

Speaker: Anna Blount, Vice President of Research, Longwoods International

Building off last year’s breakout, we will deep dive in ways the tourism community can promote and utilize the various resources to encourage responsible OHV activities. Learn from state-wide experts to know what resources are available to visitors that can lead to more responsible behaviors and how proper management and messaging can promote a positive attitude towards the use of motorized vehicles on public lands.

Moderator: Matt Caldwell, Executive Director, Tread Lightly!

  • Matthew Eberhart, State Off Highway Vehicle Coordinator, Arizona State Parks & Trails
  • Micah White, Off Highway Vehicle Law Enforcement Program Coordinator, Arizona Game & Fish Department
  • Matt Driscoll, Outdoor Recreation Planner for the Kingman Field Office Bureau of Land Management, Arizona
  • Brian Poturalski, Recreation Program Manager, USDA Forest Service, Coconino Forest Division

3:00PM Afternoon Break

3:30PM Concurrent Breakout Sessions

How can a DMO, or local business, work with land managers to polish and enhance the visitor experience? Hear from both land managers and industry experts on the current offerings, how to connect and work with your local land manager, and learn from successful partnerships.

Moderator: Lena Allen, Director of Outdoor Recreation and Sustainability,  Arizona Office of Tourism

  • Lee McLaughlin, Vice President of Marketing, Visit Tucson
  • Adam Milnor, Recreation, Heritage, and Lands Staff Officer, Forest Service at Coronado National Forest, Supervisor’s Office
  • Dr. Dawn Collins, Project Manager, Office of Continuous Improvement, Arizona State Parks & Trails
  • Andrew Leary M.S., Director of Sustainable Tourism and Partnerships, Leave No Trace

Join AOT and Off Madison Avenue as they present the FY24 AOT Cooperative Marketing Program (formerly known as the Rural Cooperative Marketing Program) live and in person. The FY24 program will feature the following offerings: Packaged Digital Media, Shared Opportunities, Strategic Planning Services, Integrated Media Advertising Programs, Individual Ad Buys, Content Creation and Distribution, Mobile Location Data, Economic Impact Reporting, Arizona Visitor Information Center Program (AVIC), Local First Development Packages, Trade & Media Missions, Crowdriff UGC (User Generated Content), Bandwango Digital Passports, IBCCES Autism & Cognitive Disorder Certification Training, and new to the program – Self-Managed Tourism Marketing Services. A Zoom presentation will happen simultaneously and the session will be recorded and posted at tourism.az.gov/rural-marketing-co-op-program/

Moderator: Jamie Daer, Director of Advertising, Arizona Office of Tourism


  • Keri Bieber – Director of Media Services, Off Madison Ave
  • Kriss Scheid – Media Services, Off Madison Ave
  • Jessica Remington, Director of Travel Industry Marketing, Arizona Office of Tourism
  • Brittany Augustine, Director of Research, Arizona Office of Tourism
  • Colleen Floyd, Associate Principal, Coraggio Group

This informative breakout session will focus on how Arizona’s most important international market is traveling after the pandemic and what they expect when visiting a different country. The goal here is to help identify opportunities and address challenges to better market everything a destination offers to this market.

Speaker: Mauricio Gonzalez, CEO, CWW Mexico

We’re wearing many hats these days! In this interactive session, representatives from tourism organizations and municipalities are invited to learn how to get in the news from PRBULLDOG’s David Weissman. From relationship building, leveraging the news cycle, identifying local, state and national media targets, pitch development, press releases and media advisory creation to op-ed writing, PRBULLDOG will cover it all.

Moderator: Josh Coddington, Director of Communications and PIO, Arizona Office of Tourism

Speaker: David Weissman, PRBullDog

5:00PM Conference Reception – Canyon Foyer

6:00PM Governor’s Tourism Awards Celebration – Canyon Ballroom

Wednesday, July 12

8:00AM Continental Breakfast

9:00AM General Session: Sustainable Tourism! What is it? Why is everyone talking about it? – Canyon Ballroom

Ecotourism, Sustainable Tourism, Regenerative Tourism, Responsible Tourism. There are so many terms being thrown around it is hard to know what they all mean. In this session, hear from global sustainable tourism expert, Dr. Kelly Bricker, as she dives into what it all means, what types of resources are available, and how to get started down this journey.

Speaker: Dr. Kelly Bricker, Professor, Director of HAITC, Arizona State University, Vice Chair, Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)

9:45AM Morning Break

10:15AM General Session: ChatGPT and the Future of Travel Planning – Canyon Ballroom

Not since the advent of the search engine has there been this much buzz about a technological development in marketing. Learn about the pros and cons of ChatGPT and how to leverage AI in your travel marketing strategy. We will share real-life examples of how ChatGPT can be applied effectively and what to watch out for, including its current limitations.

Speakers: Jeff Ficker, Chief Creative Officer, Casual Astronaut and Tina Kelly, Chief Marketing Officer, Casual Astronaut

11:15 AM Conference Closing  

11:30AM How Make a Social Media Video – Session 2 – Lantana

Join us for this interactive session to learn social media video tips, tricks and best practices to create simple yet compelling short-form videos. You will have the opportunity to apply what you learned as we break up into small groups and practice shooting videos around the hotel property. REGISTER HERE-Session 2

Speakers: Jordyn Walworth, Social Media Marketing Manager, Arizona Office of Tourism and Dave Levin, Content Manager, Visit Tucson