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STS Marketing College

Aug. 3 - 8, 2014
University of North Georgia, Dahlonega, Georgia

Propel your Career and Your Organization to the Next Level

2014 Online Registration

Sponsorship Opportunities to Keep Marketing College Affordable  


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The premier educational program for the tourism industry in the U.S. ~ the perfect forum for the exchange of ideas.

A superior educational opportunity in a tranquil environment ~  classes taught by industry leaders and working professionals.

Opportunities for networking with peers from across the Southeast and throughout the industry.


Opening Night Orientation  Special Guest Speaker

Leon 'Lee' Ellis
Leadership Coach | Author | Speaker | Colonel USAF (Ret)

Year 1
Year 2

Year 3

Alumni "A"
August 4 -  August 5

 Inside "Big Data

Alumni "B"
August 7 - August 8

  Digitial Marketing Master Class

Festivals & Events

Special classes in event management, sponsorship dollars, revenue generation and more.

Earn a Festival & Events Specialist designation along with your Travel Marketing Professional certification with official recognition

One Persons Story

      For one week each year, tourism industry professionals from all over the Southeast meet at University of North Georgia for the Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College.

     During the week, students experience a broad-based curriculum of courses designed to teach marketing techniques from all facets of the tourism industry. Marketing College professors are working, experienced professionals from across the U.S. who not only bring expertise, but real-world knowledge and experience, to the classroom.

     From the time students arrive on Sunday evening until they depart on Friday, they enjoy classes, lectures, discussion groups and one-of-a-kind networking opportunities in an academic environment conducive to learning.

     Students who attend three years of Marketing College receive a Travel Marketing Professional (TMP) certification, presented at a special graduation ceremony at the STS spring meeting.

Explore the details about STS Marketing College
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Year 1

Year 2
Year 3
Alumni "A" Alumni "B"
Festivals & Events

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Miles Media Marketing Destinations

Miles is STS’ Partner in Education


Why did Miles become an official partner in education with STS?

Because Miles is passionate about travel.  We believe the moments that capture our imagination and create lasting memories occur through travel.  Together with STS, we can share our passion while inspiring others in our industry to share their passion.


Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College
August 3-8, Dahlonega, Georgia

Getting there from Atlanta airport

We have partnered with Avis to provide rental cars at a discounted rate. If you wish to reserve a car please contact Todd Alexander at 1-800-525-7537 Ext. 35003 or the Meetings and Convention Department at 1-800-525-7537. They can ensure that you maximize your rental dollars. Please mention AWD# R072599 when you call. 

And if you like something different, we have also partnered with Budget to provide rental cars at a discounted rate. The discount will range from 5% to 40%. If you wish to reserve a car please contact Todd Alexander at 1-800-842-5628 Ext. 35003 or the Meetings and Convention Department at 1-800-525-7537 to maximize your discount with additional coupons or promotions. Please reference BCD# S147199 when you call.


 Year 1
  • Tourism 101: A Comprehensive Study of Tourism
  • Branding & Its Unique Application to Communities
  • Top Trends in Travel & Tourism
  • Secrets of Travel Packaging Success
  • Marketing vs. Advertising
  • Using National & State Data to Help with Your Marketing
  • Selling for Success
  • Integrated Tourism Marketing Online|Offline Working Together
  • Public Relations 101
  • DIY (Do-it-yourself) Research
  • Working with International Travelers
  • Demystifying Economic Impact
  • Inquiry to Fulfillment to Conversion to Database
  • Creating a Perfect Tourism Brochure
 Year 2
  • Community & Destination Board Leadership
  • Age to Affinity, The New and Emerging Tour & Travel Market
  • Profiles & Conversion Study
  • Content is King - Telling the Story of Your Destination
  • Humanizing the Customer Experience
  • Social Media
  • Federal Tourism Policy\
  • Marketing vs. Advertising 102
  • User Friendly Guide to Tourism Research
  • Demystifying Economic Impact
  • Multi-Channel Marketing: Integrating New Technologies
  • Press Tour 101
  • Generational Marketing: Distinctions Between
  • The Five Generational Groups
  • Destination Branding
  • Working with Your Hotels & Attractions
Year 3
Third year instruction will be extended classes ending by noon on Wednesday. We encourage you to stay around for the hoedown barn picnic.
  • Social Media
  • Research & Your Attractions
  • Green Tourism
  • Sports Marketing
  • Data to Strategies
  • Experiential Tourism



Specifically designed for travel professionals who have earned
Travel Marketing Professional (TMP) certification.

Alumni classes are a power-packed day and a half designed to educate, update and energize.

Choose both or one;
add the festivals classes and stay the week to reegage with your peers - networking in a gorgeous setting!

Monday, August 4 - Tuesday, August 5

 Class A Big Data, not just for big companies 

Big data pulls from many external sources not otherwise accessible to the typical travel business, resulting in a merged “mega database” providing more information about your travelers than ever.

Big Data is not just for the big companies. Big Data is for all of those companies—micro, small, medium, large and mega—and tourism destinations, that would like to understand their customers better, anticipate their needs and help them to deliver memorable and exceptional services.

In other words, it is for those companies that care about their customers and want to be in business for the long term.

See Full "Wow, this is cool!" description Here

Thursday, August 7 - Friday, August 8

Class B ~ Digital Marketing Lab - Master Class

This interactive, in-depth 1 ½ day session will take you to a new level in online marketing.

STS and Miles have brought together some of the most experienced online marketers in the travel industry to offer an intensive, hands on and information packed program on Digital Travel Marketing.

Chris Adams, Dave Serino and Lara Ortiz bring decades of online marketing experience to the Lab - working with dozens of destinations and travel organizations across the South, the US - and all around the world.

See Full "Wow, this is cool!" description Here

Courses leading to Festivals and Events Professional Certification

     Festivals and events have an every increasing importance to the communities that host them. 

     These occassions for family, friends to present a showcase of what is important are the life-blood of a community's tourism outreach, economic development in action!

     Southeast Tourism Society, working with Southeast Festivals and Events Association, realize the importance of this field and now offer courses for those who work closely with festivals and events.

Courses offered include event management, sponsorship, revenue generation and more.

At the end of three years, a Travel Marketing Professional certification with official recognition given as a Festivals and Events Specialist will be bestowed.  On the registration form, simply select "Festivals and Events Track" to earn certification as a Festival & Events Planner (FEP)!



The time and commitment over three years lead up to final requirements to earn Travel Marketing Professional certification.

Perspective TMP Graduation Projects

More Than Classes and Studying

Take time to relax and enjoy activities that showcase the Dahlonega area, hosts of STS Marketing College for 23 years.
Have some fun, get to know peers from around the country and throughout the industry. Discover life long learning and career long friendships.

» An evening at Wolf Mountain Winery
» Special Activities on Wednesday Afternoon 
» 40 dining experiences – your problem is to choose one!
» Big Barn Hoe Down for an evening of food, fun and festivities
» An evening on the square of Dahlonega including an open house, shopping and live music


Come and explore tourism in action in Dahlonega!

Achasta  Golf & Lunch
639 Birch River Drive Dahlonega, GA 30533

Appalachian Outfitters  


This is the kayak trip on the Chestatee River,

Plan on 3 hour window depending on the water.


1 hour trip unless you go twice – 1.5

Gold Panning at Crisson Gold Mine
1 pan, 2 buckets of gem stones/dirt
Wagon ride to show you the mine
Consolidated Gold Mines
Underground Adventures
Includes Underground Tour and Gold Panning



Sunday, August 3

1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Registration: Pick up books, materials and room keys at
5:00 p.m. Orientation in the Gloria Schott Auditoriumat at Nix Fine Arts Center 
6:00 p.m. Reception @ Wolf Mountain Vineyards
Monday, August 4 through Thursday, August 7
7:00 - 8:00 a.m. Breakfast at campus dining hall
8:00 a.m. - Noon Classes
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Lunch at dining hall
1:05 - 4:50 p.m. Classes
6:00 p.m. Dinner
·   Mon         Smith House, followed by a  Dahlonega Open House with shopping & live music on the town square
·   Tue           Pizza & business card social at the Dorm
·   Wed         Hoedown! 
·   Thu           On your own
FridayAugust 8
7:00 - 8:00 a.m. Breakfast at campus dining hall
8:00 - 11:00 a.m. Classes
11:00 a.m.
Adjourn: Closing photos with certificates (first and second years)
Certificates for third-year class will be presented at the STS Spring Meeting 2015.


What do you have to say?

     "I truly believe anyone in the tourism industry should attend this school. I have only held my position for seven months as Tourism Director and Every day I was telling myself, 'I'm just not there yet,' if you know what I mean. Now, I know I am 'not there,' however, I know I can 'get there' and do my job well, thanks to STS Marketing College. I have an altogether new approach for my marketing plan and I owe it all to STS."

     "Marketing College has continued to revitalize my energy towards tourism, the organization and customer service."

     "Professional development is important. We never know everything and with the TMP designation and the opportunity to attend the program offered for alumni, the development continues as well as keeping me on top of the latest and greatest effecting the hospitality industry. It's good to see how other destinations are dealing with similar situations. Sometimes we forget that although the destination is different - larger or smaller - we all have the same struggle or challenges or needs. I look forward to the Alumni program knowing it will provide new and exciting ideas."

     "This week has been amazing! I cannot imagine that anything else will benefit my career in the way that Marketing College will.  Everything as been exceptional, from the rich curriculum and scrumptious snacks, to the incredible networking events and lifelong friendships I have made with colleagues from across the southeast.  Thank you STS for providing this fabulous opportunity!"

     "I absolutely enjoyed every minute of my Marketing College experience and would highly recommend it to anyone! Not only in the Tourism Industry, but in the Economic Development Industry. In my opinion it is vital that the business world begin looking at us with eyes that see us for what we really are and do. Our Industry creates countless jobs as well as the huge economic impact it makes on our communities!  I am making use of the education I received from STS and carrying it forward.  It is my personal goal to guarantee that my community is well-informed of the impact the tourism industry makes in my county, and our state.  I want you to know how much I sincerely appreciate this experience, and I will be attending the Alumni Class next year."

     "I thoroughly enjoyed the alumni class and left a completed survey for you in the class. I must say we (DMO's) are very fortunate to have an organization like STS providing the level of training, research, networking opportunities and tools for us to better market our destinations."

    "Marketing College was an excellent opportunity to learn from industry leaders about destination marketing. The networking opportunities with peers also proved to be an invaluable experience. I highly recommend the program."

    "Attending STS Marketing College is one of the most memorable experiences of my career. The one week session each year allows you the time to step out of your day-to- day work responsibilities and become re-energized which in-turn helps you stay competitive and marketable in today's travel and tourism environments."

    "As a fan of travel & tourism as an industry, you know that professionalization is the key to continued success. Finishing the STS Marketing College to earn a Travel Marketing Professional certification is the key to professionalization. As a TMP, you will be an active voice for the industry both locally and around the region. This is an important personal goal, a goal that is good for you, good for Tallahassee."

    "Often the newcomers have a limited tourism background and it appears that many attend the marketing school after they have been in the field a while. I feel that the program would be a huge benefit to newcomers and would diminish the learning curve. The networking is by far, the best benefit – at least for me it helped me to realize that there were others still learning the ropes after three years. Most of all, I endorse and support the STS... it is the kind of organization we need."

    "I can't THANK you enough for all of the insight that I gained from STS Marketing College!!!! What a week WELL spent!"

    "I want to thank you (STS) for making Marketing College such a wonderful experience. We implemented so many ideas during our three year stint, all of which have made our Visitors Bureau a better place to be and increased our bottom line as well. I am looking forward to the alumni class and again, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!"

    "I am at CTTP for the state of Tennessee and that means a great deal to me, but having my TMP from STS means the world to me. The acquaintances and very close friends I have made through Marketing College, is worth millions to me. I wouldn’t take back a second."

    "Marketing College is a great way to learn and have fun at the same time.... (STS) did a fantastic job, as always."




















Alumni Course "A" Monday, August 4 - Tuesday, August 5

Class A ~ Big Data, not just for big companies.

Big data pulls from many external sources that would otherwise not be accessible to the typical travel business, This results in a merged “mega database” that provides more information about your travelers than previously available

Big Data is for all companies—micro, small, medium, large and mega—and tourism destinations, that would like to understand their customers better, anticipate their needs and help them to deliver memorable and exceptional services.

Big Data is for companies that care about their customers and want to be in business for the long term. Are you ready for an inside look at how destinations and suppliers are using (big) data to make their businesses more efficient while increasing market share? 

Featuring Darren Dunn, Tim Springstead, Jackie Marabotti and Vivian Mur of Adara, Inc along with special guest Alon Zaibert of Cornerstone Information Systems.

Over two days, this class includes

  1. The future & vision of Big Data – Trends in online marketing.
  2. Direct email campaigns. The original big data trend on the internet.

  3. Retargeting: Best practices and industry trends.
  4. Mobile Marketing; Trends and tactics.
  5. Enhancing and accelerating your social strategy with data.
  6. The new world of programmatic media buying
  7. Killing Sacred Cows, new ways to measure media attribution.
  8. Savannah: A CVB Case Study
  9. Online Travel Agencies – Friend, Foe, or Partner?  
  10. Traditional travel agencies; how are they using data.
  11. Texas: A State Case Study
  12. How to monetize your site data to the benefit of local partners.

  13. Review & wrap up exercise: Using


Adara, the world’s largest travel data platform, connects digital advertisers to people who are going places. We can reach consumers from the point of consideration to the point of purchase. Our real-time access to first party data from over 70 global travel brands includes 250+ million monthly uniques and 5 billion travel searches.

About the Presenters:

Darren DunnSr. Director of Destination & Int’l Air, ADARA INC.

Overseeing destination and international air strategy at ADARA, Darren brings over 14 years of travel industry experience working for such companies as FarePortal, Orbitz, and Expedia/Trip Advisor as part of Interactive Corp (IAC). The diversity of travel companies allowed him to gain valuable experience in destination, air, hotel, and car businesses across the globe.

He has been in the digital marketing industry for over 17 years dating back to a company he co-founded in 1997, called iPromotions. A Seattle company, iPromotions was built to a modest 45 person company and sold in early 2000 to 24/7 Real Media where Darren went onto various leadership roles within the company.

Other Speakers

Tim Springstead – VP; East Coast Sales, ADARA INC.

Tim Springstead is a seasoned leader and executive in the digital media space. Currently the Vice President of Eastern Sales at Adara, the world’s largest travel data platform, Tim leads the sales efforts across key markets including New York, Boston, Atlanta and Washington, DC. Previously Tim served as the VP of Sales at Travora Media managing Travora’s global advertising sales team throughout the US and Europe. In 2011, Tim directed the launch of Globetrotting Digital Media, a travel and leisure division of Evolve Media Corp. He has devoted the past decade to the media and marketing industry and has deep knowledge of sales, media,and technology platforms. Tim has held various positions managing product, operations and revenue at leading companies such as Evolve Media Corp., Travel Ad Network, InterActiveCorp and AskJeeves. Tim holds a BS degree in Computer Applications and Information Systems and MBA from the University of Bridgeport and was named one of PhocusWright’s “35 under 35 in Travel” in 2010.

Jackie MarabottiDirector of Sales SouthEast, ADARA INC.

Vivian Mur – Director; Florida & Beach Destinations, ADARA INC.

Alon ZaibertManaging Director, Agency Sales & Partnerships at Cornerstone Information Systems




Alumni Course "B" Thursday, August 7 - Friday, August 8

Class B ~ Digital Marketing Lab - Master Class

This interactive, in-depth 1 ½ day session will take you to a new level in online marketing.

STS and Miles have brought together some of the most experienced online marketers in the travel industry to offer an intensive, hands on and information packed program on Digital Travel Marketing.

Chris Adams, Dave Serino and Lara Ortiz bring decades of online marketing experience to the Lab - working with dozens of destinations and travel organizations across the South, the US - and all around the world.

This program is aimed at travel professionals who already have intermediate to advanced skills in online marketing. If you are wanting to take your digital capabilities to a new level - then this program is an absolute must.

The Lab will include:

  1. Global All Stars - we review world class campaigns and online marketing programs from around the world - and review what drives success.
  2. Plan for Success - we show you how to develop an online marketing strategy and campaign plans that are future focused, fast and flexible, measurable and practical

  3. Content is King - we show you the where, how and what of creating world class content for your destination or travel organization
  4. Metrics that Matter I - Google Analytics - in this hands on session we show you the essential features and reports of GA - plus time saving tips and tricks
  5. Metrics that Matter II - Social Analytics - the essential of measuring success on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and what that says about your audience
  6. Minority & Multi Lingual Marketing - we present the essentials of marketing to minority & non English audiences - how to create engaging content and plan a world class campaign
  7. Boot Camp Sessions - in-depth but rapid fire sessions on the essential best practices in key areas from SEO to Email.
  8. Integrated reporting & Advertising ROI - we show you how to integrate all your reporting and how to assess the relative performance & ROI of all your marketing
  9. Social Media Masters - the latest changes, trends and opportunities in social media marketing including how to develop an amplification strategy that will greatly expand your reach & impact online
  10. Social Media Monitoring - we look at the best monitoring tools available - including both advanced solutions and simple tools like Hootsuite or Tagboard to see what your visitors are saying & posting.
  11. Wrap Up Campaign Exercise - participants then compete in small groups to develop and present an innovative, world class online marketing campaign. The winner is judged by their peers and presenters.

About the Presenters:

Chris Adams - Director of Research and Online Marketing, Miles. Chris brings world class experience in tourism and online marketing from around the world including as CEO of CVB in New Zealand, at Sky Television in London, Internet Start Ups in the US and New Zealand and for the last 8+ years at Miles in North America and the Asia Pacific. and 
Dave Serino - Founder & President, TwoSix Digital.  Dave is one of the DMO industry’s most sought after speakers and educators. Dave has 20+ years of tourism marketing, online and social media experience - both at a DMO, in Hospitality and a leading Social Media Agency (Think Social). Dave is Founder and President of Two Six Digital (formerly Gammet Interactive) - a leading digital marketing agency based in Michigan. and
Lara Ortiz - Interactive Producer, Miles. Lara has 10+ years of online marketing experience in the US and South Pacific - both as a Creative Director at a leading Hispanic Marketing Agency in Florida and as a Digital Marketing Lead and Producer at Miles in both Florida and New Zealand. and





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