By: Jennifer Leaver
In keeping with recent record-setting trends in Utah’s tourism sector, the 2015 Utah Tourism Conference sold out for the first time to record attendance. Though holding the early October conference at the entrance to breathtaking Bryce Canyon National Park – and offering hikes, horseback rides, canyoneering, and star-viewing opportunities to conference attendees – certainly didn’t hurt!
I found it fitting that speed skater and Olympic medalist Derek Parra gave the conference’s welcoming speech. During his talk, Parra described his journey from roller rink racer to world-record holder and 2002 Salt Lake Olympic gold medalist by recounting the many obstacles he had to overcome in order to claim his place on the podium. His moving talk was punctuated by a standing ovation from conference attendees. Other conference highlights included a quote-worthy talk by Bryce Canyon National Park Superintendent, Lisa Eckert, regarding the upcoming U.S. national park system’s centennial celebration, a fascinating presentation by advertising guru, Kelly McDonald, on how to market to those “not like you,” and an informative slideshow by Jurek Lipski on social media advertising trends (e.g. how to use Snapchat to market your destination).