Week Overview

Wednesday, April 8

Optional Activities
Opening Reception

Thursday, April 9

Awards Dinner

Friday, April 10

Conference Concludes

See full schedule below


Wednesday, April 8


12:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Slammer Museum (Storey County Court House)

Voices of the Past Performance – Cemetery Tour

2:00 pm
Silver Terrace Cemeteries, Virginia City

Immerse yourself in a true “step back in time” experience with the Virginia City ghost tours at the Virginia City Cemetery. Voices of the Past is a living tour for visitors to meet spirits of the 19th Century Comstock as they tell their stories of life and death.
You will meet the residents of 19th century Comstock. They will share the stories of their lives and their deaths. Each of the nine characters will be dressed in appropriate period costumes with tales from the past to share with you.
Voices of the Past – The Living Tour takes place in the Silver Terrace Cemeteries in Virginia City. The audience size is limited for each performance to 20 people with two start times, 2 pm and 3 pm.

Wine and Design – Paint Event at St. Mary’s Art Center

2:00 pm
St. Mary’s Art Center

Join St. Mary’s Art Center and local artist Emily Reid for a unique Paint & Sip at the historic building! Check out the remarkable space and let your artistic spirit flow. Space is limited to 30 so reserve your easel today.

Bats in the Belfry Haunted Saloon Crawl – C Street

2:00 pm
C Street, Virginia City

Haunted is our middle name! Come feel the chill of the ghosts on the Comstock and take in a few spirits along the way. Hear the stories and see the places. Take a walk around the historic landmark and learn about the many lively spirits that sill walk the streets of Virginia City.
There will be two tour times and each tour is limited to 20 people.

Taste of the Comstock – Beacon Tour with Docents

2:00 pm

Take a tour of Virginia City right on your smartphone! Jump on the Virginia City app, check out the tour section and find Taste of the Comstock. As you wander through town, make stops along the way to chat with local docents, historians and uniquely Virginia City characters. This tour has unlimited space.

Opening Reception

6:00 pm
St. Mary's Art Center

Thursday, April 9

Continental Breakfast

7:30 am
Piper’s Opera House


7:30 am to 5:00 pm
Slammer Museum (Storey County Court House)

Welcome and General Session

8:30 am
Piper’s Opera House

Turning Industry Trends Into Marketing Advantages

Presented by: Brian London
A review of the six external factors impacting future demand (economics, demographics, lifestyles, regulation, technology, geopolitics) and four internal marketing strategies to deploy based on the lay of the land. Attendees report being able to predict the future; re-allocate resources based on the future and can justify past marketing allocations.

Brian London

Refreshment Break and Sponsor Exhibits

9:45 am
Piper’s Opera House


10:00 am

The American Discovery Trail

Presented by: Samantha Szesciorka
Location: Joe’s Cafe

The American Discovery Trail is a new breed of national trail – part city, part small town, part forest, part mountains, part desert – all in one. Its 6,800+ miles of continuous trail stretches through 15 states, linking communities across the country. Each year, adventurers take to the trail to journey by foot, bike, or horse and discover the heart of America. Come learn about Nevada’s 500-mile section of the trail through White Pine, Nye, Eureka, Mineral, Churchill, Lyon, Storey and Washoe counties. In this session, we’ll explore how Nevada’s rural communities can support trail users and promote themselves along the way!

Find Your Folklife: The Nevada Folklife Friends & Neighbors Initiative

Presented by: Rebecca Snetselaar
Location: Red Dog Saloon

The Nevada Arts Council’s Folklife Friends and Neighbors Initiative is focused on the creative ways that cultural identity is expressed in Nevada’s communities. We support events that present community traditions such as music, dance, crafts, foodways, costumes, rituals, and celebrations. We offer grants to support the work of Nevadans who are known and respected for the informal arts, knowledge and skills that they keep, share, and pass along to the next generation.
Folklorists in the NAC’s Folklife Program have been photographing folklife and folk arts in Nevada since 1985. The Nevada Folklife Archives contain more than 40,000 digital images that we have begun sharing via our online Flickr archive, with new content added weekly. You may be surprised by what you will find there!
Join NAC folklorist Rebecca Snetselaar to find out more about folklife in the state of Nevada, and to explore opportunities for partnership, collaboration, and funding.

Staying Social

Presented by: Geri Brown & Sal DeFilippo
Location: The Bonanza Saloon & Cafe

Maintaining an effective social media presence for any brand requires strategy, planning, relevant and engaging content writing, vibrant images and videos, and responding to comments on all platforms. The goal of social media should be to keep your brand top-of-mind. For the travel and tourism industry, that means ensuring visitors who come to your area immediately think of you and your brand. The question is: How do you do it effectively and efficiently? Geri Brown and Sal DeFilippo of Social Star Power have worked with a variety of brands, from large corporations and nonprofits to mom-and-pop companies. In this session, they will walk you through the basics of social media and discuss ways for your brand to stay active on social media, with tips on how to expand your brand’s reach.

Rural Nevada: A Tour Operator’s Look At The State’s Biggest Treasures

Presented by: Mark Hoffman
Location: Bucket of Blood

Travelers are looking for off-the-beaten-track experiences. Nevada certainly has plenty of those. How do you interest tour operators in bringing groups of 15-50 to those destinations? What are the “hot buttons” you can push on a limited budget? How are tour-takers different from what they were 10, 20, or 40 years ago? How to connect, sell to and execute with your tour operator partners.

Luncheon and General Session

12:30 pm
Piper’s Opera House

Destination Development Panel

Presented by: TBA


2:00 pm

Expanding Your Exposure Within Google’s Products

Presented by: Josh Wray
Location: The Bonanza Saloon & Cafe

There are more than 5 billion searches in Google every day and the Maps app has more that 1 billion users worldwide. These products, which comprise an entire ecosystem of travel information, have become increasingly influential for consumers – both travelers and locals alike. Miles Partnership, a digital marketing consultancy specializing in travel and tourism wants to help your organization take control of the messaging consumers are seeing in these searches.

Local organizations interested in learning more about what they can do to optimize the presence of their representation inside of Google using the Google My Business platform. The educational program will cover information about improving representation online and tactical tips for maximizing visibility of an organization in Google. There will also be opportunities for organizations that have struggled with verifying their business on Google (a necessary step to access and edit business information) to get help with troubleshooting and receive “instant” verification, potentially.

Small City Changes

Presented by: Kyle Horvath & Keith Larsen
Location: Bucket of Blood Saloon

It can be difficult to create change in small towns. To build momentum and get buy-in from the community for impactful projects you must collaborate with multiple organizations and government entities. From main street revitalization to back-alley art projects, trail building to community building, speakers will address their experience in making change happen in rural Nevada communities. Attendees can expect to learn about how to open up collaboration, tips to avoid issues, resources available, creating the vision and selling the vision, and keeping the momentum alive through the project.


Presented by: Donovan Hanley
Location: Joe’s Café

A destination can highlight any sightseeing visit with focus and precision, and this is a valuable objective in rural economic development. Tourism is one economic sector that can stimulate income generation in rural areas and planned correctly tourism provides economic growth, development and employment opportunities. A Destination customizes a great experience for their guests, and whether it’s your visitors’ first trip or third, your unique story is what has captured their adventure. No one is here to be fenced in, let your spirit go!

The Economics of Tourism and Recreation or is it Recreation and Tourism

Presented by: Lu Torres
Location: Red Dog Saloon

At sometime we all take a walk, ride a bike, visit a museum, travel, or jump out of a helicopter to ski down a mountain! So I ask what comes first, tourism and outdoor recreation, or is it outdoor recreation and tourism? Whatever it is, Rural Nevada has a lot to offer. Tourism at a national level people spent $1.1 trillion dollars in 2018 alone, outdoor recreation reported $800 billion spent. Rural Nevada lets work together to build rural economic vitality through integrating our planning.

Refreshment Break

4:15 pm
Piper’s Opera House

Wine Tasting

5:30 pm
St. Mary’s Art Center

VolunTourism Awards Dinner

6:30 pm
Piper’s Opera House

Friday, April 10

General Session – Breakfast Buffet

8:30 am
Piper’s Opera House

Relationships Need More Than A Map

Presented by: Lauren Peterson

Nevada’s spirit is like no other. As a tourism professional, you’re charged with capturing and conveying that spirit to help others get to know, understand, and appreciate our home. You know the value of partnership and collaboration. Yet in our busy and saturated lives, we spend most of our time and energy on what we’re doing and by when, lacking intentionality around how we’re doing things, and why.

What if your job was to only tell people where to go; would they get the spirit of this place?

What if we explored each other as we explore Nevada, providing everything needed to experience the magic and wonder for ourselves; would our relationships be different?

Attendees will explore key elements of mutually beneficial relationships, be challenged to take a good look in the mirror, and receive practical tools to elevate themselves and their partnerships.

Lauren Peterson

Event End – Door Prize Raffle

9:45 am to 10:15 am
Piper’s Opera House

Door Prize Raffle at 9:45am – Amazing prizes, must be present to win!

Event ends at 10:15am. That’s all folks!

Conference Concludes

10:15 am