Agenda

We are excited to share more information about the presenters and topics for 2018, our forth annual conference. There will be several programming sessions occurring simultaneously, it is recommended to bring several company representatives in order to "divide and conquer" all educational components of the conference.

Be sure to subscribe to our email list for agenda updates. More speakers will be added to the lineup in the coming weeks.

Friday

Bat Watching & Sunset Experience via Kayak

6:15 PM - 8:30 PM

Kick off your Austin visit with a sunset guided kayak tour of Lady Bird Lake where you’ll get a front row view of the iconic Congress Avenue “Bridge Bats” as they put on their nightly aerial show before taking off into the night skies. Join your fellow GFTC18 attendees on this relaxed, private kayak tour where you’ll learn about the world’s largest urban migratory bat colony of Mexican free-tailed bats. Enjoy magnificent sunset views of Austin’s growing skyline, and witness one of the world’s most incredible wildlife spectacles right in the middle of downtown. (This is not included in GFTC18 Registration; Tickets available soon to attendees and Friends & Family.)

Saturday

Urban Axe Throwing Competition

11:00 AM - 1:30 PM

Enthusiasts of the sport will argue that axe throwing was invented about 5 minutes after the first caveman created the first axe. Historically, throwing axes at stuff (which is a ridiculously fun thing to do) happens outdoors. In Austin, they like their AC and beer coolers, so we’ve partnered with the premier competitive axe throwing club in town to bring you the GFTC18 Axe Throwing Tournament! So bring your competitive spirit and sense of adventure and find out what urban axe throwing is all about. (This is not included in GFTC18 Registration; Tickets available soon to attendees and F&F.)

Explore East Austin Walking Food Tour

3:45PM - 6:30PM

Our East Austin Tour simply put, is just really cool. It's the perfect event for an adventurous traveler & seasoned food tour professional. We’ll provide an insider tour of Austin’s fastest growing and most diverse neighborhood district, pairing great eats with multiple libation options. Sip on craft beers from a local brewery and handmade cocktails from our favorite hole-in-the-wall; feast on an array of mouthwatering selections from several of Austin’s famous food trucks; take in the ambiance at one of the country’s best new restaurants; and, to top it off, satisfy your sweet tooth with boozy milkshakes. Explore this eclectic side of town that’s making a name for itself as a global melting pot of local restaurants, breweries and bars. You don't want to miss this truly unique and truly Austin experience delivered by your GFTC18 City Hosts, Austin Eats Food Tours. (Available to GFTC attendees and Friends & Family.)

GFTA “We Salute You” VIP Event

7:30 PM - 10:00 PM

Behind every Association, especially those curating an international event like GFTC18, is a solid cast of hard-working and dedicated folks that bring their A-game day in and day out behind the scenes to ensure GFTA Members continue to thrive globally and deliver on our core pillars: Network, Learn, Share and Succeed. This VIP Event allows GFTA a platform to thank our sponsors, speakers, partners, employees and staff, previous and current City Hosts, Advisory Board, Members with perfect GFTC15-18 attendance, and other esteemed brands and individuals who have made this journey not only necessary, but possible. (Invitation only)

Sunday

Sunday Funday Brunch

9:30 AM - 12:30 PM

The only thing Austinites take more seriously than barbecue is the time-honored day-drinking tradition they call brunch. Forget about stodgy country club buffets or greasy short-order breakfast slop — GFTC18 City Hosts, Austin Eats Food Tours, bring you the very best brunch fare at some of Austin’s hottest restaurants. Featuring a wide variety of cuisine, you’ll enjoy thoughtfully plated, farm-to-table brunch fare from some of Austin’s most celebrated chefs. But don’t forget — brunch is so much more than eggs and Bloody Marys! After the breakfast portion, you will feast on delectable dumplings at a contemporary dim sum spot before sinking your teeth into some high-end southern comfort food. In a city known for innovation, Austin’s preeminent chefs bring exciting new flavors and techniques to our favorite meal of the week. Oh, yeah — and there are mimosas on the luxury bus in case all the brunch cocktail offerings aren’t enough. Don’t mess with Texas, and definitely don’t mess with brunch. (Available to GFTC attendees and Friends & Family.)

EzTix Welcome Soirée

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Join the welcome celebrations on Sunday evening to kick-start GFTC18 in Austin as we mix and mingle with fellow colleagues from around the globe at Clive Bar, one of Austin's premiere outdoor live-music venues. Come find out why Austin is the "Live Music Capital of the World" as we privately enjoy the sounds of The Golden Roses, a local Texas/Americana band, while noshing on the famous flavors from La BBQ, Austinites preferred and top-rated Texas BBQ restaurant! The EzTix Welcome Soirée will offer you the opportunity to check-in early for GFTC18 at this initial networking event and is included in your GFTC18 registration.

Monday

Conference Registration & Networking with Morning Coffee

7:30 AM - 9:00 AM

Coffee, tea, and water will be available during Monday morning registration. Please be sure to eat breakfast before arriving.

Opening Remarks & Welcome To #GFTC18

8:20 AM - 9:00 AM

Speakers: Warren Etheredge, Stephen Adler, Shane Kost

Join the Mayor of Austin, Steve Adler, and Master of Ceremony, Warren Etheredge, as they welcome attendees and kick-off GFTC18 in style setting up expectations for the jam-packed next two days and providing attendees with insight on how to get the most out of your conference experience. Don't miss the exciting and important updates from GFTA Executive Director, Shane Kost, regarding the vision and future of GFTA and the impact this will have on Members across the world in 2019 and beyond.

Influence Emotion to Motivate Action: Communication Techniques to Engage Any Audience [Keynote]

9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

Speakers: G. Riley Mills

In this informative and fast-paced Keynote session, attendees will learn how to increase their ability to effectively exchange information and influence behavior change in others. From delivering clear and concise information to leading effective and efficient meetings or events, your success depends on your ability to communicate. You will learn how to master communication and influence behaviors to achieve desired reactions in others using the secret techniques that leaders and professional performers have used for centuries.

Morning Networking Break

9:45 AM - 10:00 AM

The Hidden Boom: Unlocking Corporate Events & Partnerships As a Primary Growth Driver [Skills Training Session]

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Speakers: Andy Potter, Gina Schammel, Kenny Dunn

A majority of sales and marketing focus and budget within the Tourism and Events space is put on business to consumer (B2C) transactions. But what if you're company is leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table in undiscovered but available revenue? In this facilitated panel discussion, three Food Tourism business to business (B2B) experts will provide tactical analysis, step-by-step strategies and actionable items to help you rethink your corporate events platform while engaging in strategic partnerships that can lead to double and triple-digit business growth. After this session, you'll have the confidence to kickstart your B2B sales channel development and distribution with the tools, resources and clear plan to help reach your business growth goals.

Marketing Done Right: Learning to Drive Ticket Sales [Skills Training Session]

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Speakers: Casey Clark, Cassi Niekamp

It's no secret that revenue is everything when running a business of any size or shape. Too often business leaders don't focus on the right controlled metrics and therefore don't fully understand the sales channels at their disposal to drive ticket sales and profitability. In this detailed session, you will learn how to breakdown and overcome the barriers of marketing while uncovering industry best-practices that will drive results. If you want actionable and tangible things to do to increase your marketing efforts and conversion rates, then this is the session for you.

Create a Memorable Narrative: Leveraging the Power of Storytelling in Business [Skills Training Session]

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Speakers: G. Riley Mills

Anyone working in today’s business environment can benefit from the use of storytelling as a communication tool. All great leaders are great storytellers, and all great communicators understand the power of narrative. A good story will not only make your messages more memorable, but it will also help you engage an audience and help you build rapport as well as more meaningful relationships. In this fun and fast-paced session, attendees will learn a simple story map to create compelling stories, how to use stories to excite and motivate others and the five essential stories every person should be ready to tell if the opportunity arises.

Morning Network Break

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Meet the Author & Speaker: Gary Riley; “The Bullseye Principle: Mastering Intention-Based Communication to Collaborate, Execute, and Succeed”

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Speakers: G. Riley Mills

Book Signing Session: Skills Training and Keynote Speaker Gary Mills will be available for a meet-and-greet in the general networking area immediately following the first set of Skills Training Sessions to purchase or learn more about his best-selling book, "The Bullseye Principle". Gary will be signing bookplates and answering your questions on how to master intention-based communication.

About "The Bullseye Principle: Mastering Intention-Based Communication to Collaborate, Execute and Succeed"

The Bullseye Principle is the definitive how-to guide for communicating, collaborating, and executing as a leader in the business arena. With these “soft skills” trending above technical knowledge in executive wish lists, this book provides invaluable guidance for new and experienced leaders alike; from the planning stages to the outcome and beyond, the discussion features critical insight and actionable tips based on award-winning methods. Polish your presence, utilize intention, influence emotion, engage workers, build relationships, make connections, and leverage the power of storytelling—it all comes down to technique. This book shows you everything you need to know to start communicating more effectively, starting today while helping you build a robust repertoire of communication skills that put you ahead of the pack.

Create a Memorable Narrative: Leveraging the Power of Storytelling in Business [Skills Training Session 2]

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Speakers: G. Riley Mills

Anyone working in today’s business environment can benefit from the use of storytelling as a communication tool. All great leaders are great storytellers, and all great communicators understand the power of narrative. A good story will not only make your messages more memorable, but it will also help you engage an audience and help you build rapport as well as more meaningful relationships. In this fun and fast-paced session, attendees will learn a simple story map to create compelling stories, how to use stories to excite and motivate others and the five essential stories every person should be ready to tell if the opportunity arises.

The Hidden Boom: Unlocking Corporate Events & Partnerships As a Primary Growth Driver [Skills Training Session 2]

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Speakers: Andy Potter, Gina Schammel, Kenny Dunn

A majority of sales and marketing focus and budget within the Tourism and Events space is put on business to consumer (B2C) transactions. But what if you're company is leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table in undiscovered but available revenue? In this facilitated panel discussion, three Food Tourism business to business (B2B) experts will provide tactical analysis, step-by-step strategies and actionable items to help you rethink your corporate events platform while engaging in strategic partnerships that can lead to double and triple-digit business growth. After this session, you'll have the confidence to kickstart your B2B sales channel development and distribution with the tools, resources and clear plan to help reach your business growth goals.

Marketing Done Right: Learning to Drive Ticket Sales [Skills Training Session 2]

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Speakers: Casey Clark, Cassi Niekamp

It's no secret that revenue is everything when running a business of any size or shape. Too often business leaders don't focus on the right controlled metrics and therefore don't fully understand the sales channels at their disposal to drive ticket sales and profitability. In this detailed session, you will learn how to breakdown and overcome the barriers of marketing while uncovering industry best-practices that will drive results. If you want actionable and tangible things to do to increase your marketing efforts and conversion rates, then this is the session for you.

Lunch Experience

12:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Join City Hosts, Austin Eats Food Tours, and venture out of the Palmer Event Center for lunch at two of Austin’s most iconic artisan restaurants. Lunch Experiences, a new event debuting at GFTC18, encourages you to get your networking on while enjoying these delicious curated, prix fixe lunch menus. Choose from one of two Lunch Experiences offered both Monday and Tuesday where you’ll join your old and new Food Tourism friends over great meals and conversation before the afternoon Master-Class Workshops begin. (This is not included in GFTC18 Registration; Tickets available soon to attendees only and includes transportation; Vegetarian options available.)

Scaling Exponentially [Master-Class Workshop]

2:45 PM - 4:15 PM

Speakers: Casey Clark

Have huge growth plans on the horizon for your business? Or looking to develop an organization chart that meets the challenges of 5X growth? In this Master-Class Workshop, you'll work with other like-minded brands in small cohorts towards similar objectives and breakdown the key ingredients that will be required to lead, execute and scale to the next level. If it's growing into new markets, adding new segments or leaping into a scaled management team, you and your team will leave with thought provoking ideas and changes to be implemented into your business to scale exponentially. (This session is by Invitation Only; Minimum revenue and company size is required to attend this session.)

Navigating Human Capital: How to Recruit & Train Extraordinary Tour Leaders [Master-Class Workshop]

2:45 PM - 4:15 PM

Speakers: Lauren Aloise, Kelsey Tonner

Tour leaders are on the front lines of any Food Tour Business - and can therefore make or break your customer experience. But when and how do you build a strong team? What's the secret hiring sauce? In this Masterclass Workshop, you will learn how to recruit your dream tour leader employees, how to effectively use employee referral programs and learn which crucial processes you should use to recruit year-round. Whether you're looking to move beyond Owner/Operator or you're a scaled model with dozens of employees, within this session you'll discover industry best practices for recruiting and interviewing, training and on-boarding, and ongoing development and retention.

Financial Power: The Art of Making More Money [Master-Class Workshop]

2:45 PM - 4:15 PM

Speakers: Dave Leveque, Analise Smith

Financials are connected to all aspects of your business; whether growing your profit or getting more comfortable with cashflow management, it's paramount you have a robust financial plan and rules in place to execute your business soundly. In this Master-Class Workshop, you'll learn how to unlock key areas of your business by breaking down the gross and net margin financial levers, provide you with tools on how to analyze your pricing, discover systems that allow you to effectively manage cost of goods sold, and discuss budgeting as well as return on investment planning. By attending this Workshop, you will leave with the necessary tools to take back control of your finances and discover new and innovative strategies on how to increase your profit margins.

City Host Tribute Experience by Austin Eats

6:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Everything is bigger in Texas, and the food tours are no exception. At this year’s City Host Experience, the team at Austin Eats Food Tours is set on wining and dining GFTC18 attendees in Austin via executive buses. Experience a distinct selection of the best dining Austin has to offer — from thoughtful farm-to-table fare and funky fusion cuisine, to locally brewed craft beers & ciders, to the out-of-the-way local favorites that aren’t in any guidebooks! Come hungry, and be prepared for a feast of the Capital City’s best sights, eats and drinks on this 3.5 hour customized event. To top it all off, all attendees will rally at the end of the tour at the same watering hole where everyone can continue to mix, mingle, and network. (Available to GFTC attendees and Friends & Family.)

Tuesday

Networking with Morning Coffee

7:30 AM – 8:30 AM

Coffee, tea, and water will be available during Tuesday morning. Please be sure to eat breakfast before arriving.

Day 2 Kick-Off Discussion & Expectations

8:30 AM - 8:45 AM

Speakers: Warren Etheredge

MC Warren Etheredge recaps what's going well, lessons learned and other considerations from Day 1 as GFTC18 heads into its second and final day of programming. Warren will also set the stage for the Round Table Cohorts that will function as active focus groups for companies and operators of similar demographics and backgrounds to discuss and review head-on the challenges and viable solutions required to elevate your brands in this speed-dating themed session.

Focus Groups: Round Table Cohorts

08:45 AM - 10:15 AM

Speakers: Warren Etheredge

Wish you could sit at an intimate table (or five) with businesses and colleagues that are like-minded, enjoying similar statistics but also pain points? Or perhaps you recall at a previous GFTC or networking event that some of the biggest, most important key takeaways and "aha!" moments happened in that casual, off-chance discussion you had during a quickly organized meet-up or networking break? Yeah- we totally get it and decided to do something about it. Welcome to Focus Groups via Round Table Cohorts- a unique opportunity to discuss and needle through topics that are most important to you and more importantly chosen by you with brands and colleagues that are similar in business demographics, location and/or size. Facilitated by MC Warren Etheredge, walk away with new key insights and uncover actionable items as you move through a variety of different cohort groups sharing key Q&A responses on fixed topics important to your business and professional development.

Networking Break

10:15 AM - 10:30 AM

Emerging Tech & Data Analytics – Part 1 [Master-Class Workshop]

10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Speakers: Jeremy Mitchell

Interested in moving your organization to data-driven decision making? Constantly wishing technology could help provide deeper insight into your business? It's no secret there's a lot of tech and tools out there but it's easy to get overwhelmed by where to start or what to look for despite their strategic importance to any organization. In this unbiased Master-Class Workshop, you'll learn how to dive into the emerging technology and data analytics landscape that impacts the entire Tours, Activities and Events space, with acute focus on Food Tourism. By breaking down the most important business metrics and analytics, attendees will learn how to optimize tech and data by learning what it means, why it's hugely important and how you can leverage technology to better understand, track and improve your bottom line to help drive key investment decisions in sales, marketing, operations and human capital.

Lunch Experience

11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

Join City Hosts, Austin Eats Food Tours, and venture out of the Palmer Event Center for lunch at two of Austin’s most iconic artisan restaurants. Lunch Experiences, a new event debuting at GFTC18, encourages you to get your networking on while enjoying these delicious curated, prix fixe lunch menus. Choose from one of two Lunch Experiences offered both Monday and Tuesday where you’ll join your old and new Food Tourism friends over great meals and conversation before Part 2 of Emerging Tech & Data Analytics Master-Class Workshop and Closing Remarks. (This is not included in GFTC18 Registration; Tickets available soon to attendees only and includes transportation; Vegetarian options available.)

Emerging Tech & Data Analytics – Part 2 [Master-Class Workshop]

1:45 PM – 2:45 PM

Speakers: Joseph Martin

Now that you have a better understanding of emerging tech and the data metrics you should be tracking and analyzing, Part 2 of this Master-Class Workshop will focus on the role of data visualization as it pertains to business intelligence, allowing your business to understand the significance of data by placing it in a visual context to identify patterns, trends and correlations. With a technology-driven process and detailed reporting that allows you to clean your data and extract meaningful and actionable insights, you will learn how to make more informed business decisions backed by analysis while enabling continuous monitoring of your strategies and data-driven decisions to influence performance and desired business outcomes.

Networking Break

2:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Closing Remarks & GFTC19 Announcement

3:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Speakers: Warren Etheredge

Join MC Warren Etheredge as he recaps the key learnings and takeaways from GFTC18 session, speakers, workshops, networking events and much more. You don't want to miss some very important and exciting announcements regarding GFTA and GFTC19 as we conclude this year's conference.

GFTA Dinner Banquet

5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

We learned that if you're going to have an Awards Ceremony, you better bring the food (and lots of it) along with some adult beverages to a group of Food Tourism Professionals. So be sure to attend the GFTA18 Awards Ceremony where we'll start things off with an hour and half Dinner Banquet being held on the stunning outside ground-level patio of Palmer Events Center overlooking Lake Austin and the brilliant Austin skyline as you enjoy music, drinks and delicious fare from a locally celebrated food truck-turned-caterer. (Included in GFTC Registration; F&F tickets available soon; Vegetarian options available)

Official GFTA Awards Ceremony

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Speakers: Warren Etheredge

A thriving industry like Food Tourism deserves a lot of recognition to the brands, people and otherwise that inspire us, that propel us forward, that open doors to new realities we didn't think were possible. We're proud and humbled to provide such a platform during the 2018 GFTA Awards Ceremony to celebrate the hard work, influence, and dedication that our colleagues around the world continue to demonstrate. Don't miss this once-a-year opportunity to tip your hat and stand and applaud one another as we put on our best suits and dresses in a private ceremony inside the Palmer Events Center. (Included in GFTC Registration; F&F tickets available soon)

GFTC18 After-Party

8:00 PM - 10:30 PM

By now, you must realize that we Food Tourism professionals really like a good party. We deliver on that expectation immediately following the GFTA Awards Ceremony with food, drinks, music and dancing on the outside patio of Palmer Events Center as we take in the Austin sunset over Lake Austin and watch Austin move from day to night with new and old friends.

After After Party

10:30 PM - ????

Be sure to check the official GFTC18 conference app via Whova to find out where the After After Party will be held. Let's find out who the super troopers are and take the party to the wee hours of the morning in a city that rarely sleeps.

Wednesday

Hangover Brunch-Lunch Experience

9:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Need a little hair of the dog after an exhilarating and educational GFTC18? Let Austin Eats Food Tours and their expert team send you off in style as they deliver you by luxury bus to interesting breakfast/lunch spots for a last indulgence of the best food/drink Austin has to offer. You can’t leave Austin without enjoying some of the Capital City’s best breakfast tacos & brisket cheddar kolaches, followed by more unique fare & then some decadent treats to leave you full and satisfied as you end your GFTC18 experience. Whether you’re still feeling the party from the evening before and interested in morning libations, or need to be plied with coffee and grub, this is the perfect send-off networking opportunity with your old and new Food Tourism pals.

Friday

Bat Watching & Sunset Experience via Kayak

6:15 PM - 8:30 PM

Kick off your Austin visit with a sunset guided kayak tour of Lady Bird Lake where you’ll get a front row view of the iconic Congress Avenue “Bridge Bats” as they put on their nightly aerial show before taking off into the night skies. Join your fellow GFTC18 attendees on this relaxed, private kayak tour where you’ll learn about the world’s largest urban migratory bat colony of Mexican free-tailed bats. Enjoy magnificent sunset views of Austin’s growing skyline, and witness one of the world’s most incredible wildlife spectacles right in the middle of downtown. (This is not included in GFTC18 Registration; Tickets available soon to attendees and Friends & Family.)

Saturday

Urban Axe Throwing Competition

11:00 AM - 1:30 PM

Enthusiasts of the sport will argue that axe throwing was invented about 5 minutes after the first caveman created the first axe. Historically, throwing axes at stuff (which is a ridiculously fun thing to do) happens outdoors. In Austin, they like their AC and beer coolers, so we’ve partnered with the premier competitive axe throwing club in town to bring you the GFTC18 Axe Throwing Tournament! So bring your competitive spirit and sense of adventure and find out what urban axe throwing is all about. (This is not included in GFTC18 Registration; Tickets available soon to attendees and F&F.)

Explore East Austin Walking Food Tour

3:45PM - 6:30PM

Our East Austin Tour simply put, is just really cool. It's the perfect event for an adventurous traveler & seasoned food tour professional. We’ll provide an insider tour of Austin’s fastest growing and most diverse neighborhood district, pairing great eats with multiple libation options. Sip on craft beers from a local brewery and handmade cocktails from our favorite hole-in-the-wall; feast on an array of mouthwatering selections from several of Austin’s famous food trucks; take in the ambiance at one of the country’s best new restaurants; and, to top it off, satisfy your sweet tooth with boozy milkshakes. Explore this eclectic side of town that’s making a name for itself as a global melting pot of local restaurants, breweries and bars. You don't want to miss this truly unique and truly Austin experience delivered by your GFTC18 City Hosts, Austin Eats Food Tours. (Available to GFTC attendees and Friends & Family.)

GFTA “We Salute You” VIP Event

7:30 PM - 10:00 PM

Behind every Association, especially those curating an international event like GFTC18, is a solid cast of hard-working and dedicated folks that bring their A-game day in and day out behind the scenes to ensure GFTA Members continue to thrive globally and deliver on our core pillars: Network, Learn, Share and Succeed. This VIP Event allows GFTA a platform to thank our sponsors, speakers, partners, employees and staff, previous and current City Hosts, Advisory Board, Members with perfect GFTC15-18 attendance, and other esteemed brands and individuals who have made this journey not only necessary, but possible. (Invitation only)

Sunday

Sunday Funday Brunch

9:30 AM - 12:30 PM

The only thing Austinites take more seriously than barbecue is the time-honored day-drinking tradition they call brunch. Forget about stodgy country club buffets or greasy short-order breakfast slop — GFTC18 City Hosts, Austin Eats Food Tours, bring you the very best brunch fare at some of Austin’s hottest restaurants. Featuring a wide variety of cuisine, you’ll enjoy thoughtfully plated, farm-to-table brunch fare from some of Austin’s most celebrated chefs. But don’t forget — brunch is so much more than eggs and Bloody Marys! After the breakfast portion, you will feast on delectable dumplings at a contemporary dim sum spot before sinking your teeth into some high-end southern comfort food. In a city known for innovation, Austin’s preeminent chefs bring exciting new flavors and techniques to our favorite meal of the week. Oh, yeah — and there are mimosas on the luxury bus in case all the brunch cocktail offerings aren’t enough. Don’t mess with Texas, and definitely don’t mess with brunch. (Available to GFTC attendees and Friends & Family.)

EzTix Welcome Soirée

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Join the welcome celebrations on Sunday evening to kick-start GFTC18 in Austin as we mix and mingle with fellow colleagues from around the globe at Clive Bar, one of Austin's premiere outdoor live-music venues. Come find out why Austin is the "Live Music Capital of the World" as we privately enjoy the sounds of The Golden Roses, a local Texas/Americana band, while noshing on the famous flavors from La BBQ, Austinites preferred and top-rated Texas BBQ restaurant! The EzTix Welcome Soirée will offer you the opportunity to check-in early for GFTC18 at this initial networking event and is included in your GFTC18 registration.

Monday

Conference Registration & Networking with Morning Coffee

7:30 AM - 9:00 AM

Coffee, tea, and water will be available during Monday morning registration. Please be sure to eat breakfast before arriving.

Opening Remarks & Welcome To #GFTC18

8:20 AM - 9:00 AM

Speakers: Warren Etheredge, Stephen Adler, Shane Kost

Join the Mayor of Austin, Steve Adler, and Master of Ceremony, Warren Etheredge, as they welcome attendees and kick-off GFTC18 in style setting up expectations for the jam-packed next two days and providing attendees with insight on how to get the most out of your conference experience. Don't miss the exciting and important updates from GFTA Executive Director, Shane Kost, regarding the vision and future of GFTA and the impact this will have on Members across the world in 2019 and beyond.

Influence Emotion to Motivate Action: Communication Techniques to Engage Any Audience [Keynote]

9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

Speakers: G. Riley Mills

In this informative and fast-paced Keynote session, attendees will learn how to increase their ability to effectively exchange information and influence behavior change in others. From delivering clear and concise information to leading effective and efficient meetings or events, your success depends on your ability to communicate. You will learn how to master communication and influence behaviors to achieve desired reactions in others using the secret techniques that leaders and professional performers have used for centuries.

Morning Networking Break

9:45 AM - 10:00 AM

The Hidden Boom: Unlocking Corporate Events & Partnerships As a Primary Growth Driver [Skills Training Session]

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Speakers: Andy Potter, Gina Schammel, Kenny Dunn

A majority of sales and marketing focus and budget within the Tourism and Events space is put on business to consumer (B2C) transactions. But what if you're company is leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table in undiscovered but available revenue? In this facilitated panel discussion, three Food Tourism business to business (B2B) experts will provide tactical analysis, step-by-step strategies and actionable items to help you rethink your corporate events platform while engaging in strategic partnerships that can lead to double and triple-digit business growth. After this session, you'll have the confidence to kickstart your B2B sales channel development and distribution with the tools, resources and clear plan to help reach your business growth goals.

Marketing Done Right: Learning to Drive Ticket Sales [Skills Training Session]

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Speakers: Casey Clark, Cassi Niekamp

It's no secret that revenue is everything when running a business of any size or shape. Too often business leaders don't focus on the right controlled metrics and therefore don't fully understand the sales channels at their disposal to drive ticket sales and profitability. In this detailed session, you will learn how to breakdown and overcome the barriers of marketing while uncovering industry best-practices that will drive results. If you want actionable and tangible things to do to increase your marketing efforts and conversion rates, then this is the session for you.

Create a Memorable Narrative: Leveraging the Power of Storytelling in Business [Skills Training Session]

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Speakers: G. Riley Mills

Anyone working in today’s business environment can benefit from the use of storytelling as a communication tool. All great leaders are great storytellers, and all great communicators understand the power of narrative. A good story will not only make your messages more memorable, but it will also help you engage an audience and help you build rapport as well as more meaningful relationships. In this fun and fast-paced session, attendees will learn a simple story map to create compelling stories, how to use stories to excite and motivate others and the five essential stories every person should be ready to tell if the opportunity arises.

Morning Network Break

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Meet the Author & Speaker: Gary Riley; “The Bullseye Principle: Mastering Intention-Based Communication to Collaborate, Execute, and Succeed”

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Speakers: G. Riley Mills

Book Signing Session: Skills Training and Keynote Speaker Gary Mills will be available for a meet-and-greet in the general networking area immediately following the first set of Skills Training Sessions to purchase or learn more about his best-selling book, "The Bullseye Principle". Gary will be signing bookplates and answering your questions on how to master intention-based communication.

About "The Bullseye Principle: Mastering Intention-Based Communication to Collaborate, Execute and Succeed"

The Bullseye Principle is the definitive how-to guide for communicating, collaborating, and executing as a leader in the business arena. With these “soft skills” trending above technical knowledge in executive wish lists, this book provides invaluable guidance for new and experienced leaders alike; from the planning stages to the outcome and beyond, the discussion features critical insight and actionable tips based on award-winning methods. Polish your presence, utilize intention, influence emotion, engage workers, build relationships, make connections, and leverage the power of storytelling—it all comes down to technique. This book shows you everything you need to know to start communicating more effectively, starting today while helping you build a robust repertoire of communication skills that put you ahead of the pack.

Create a Memorable Narrative: Leveraging the Power of Storytelling in Business [Skills Training Session 2]

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Speakers: G. Riley Mills

Anyone working in today’s business environment can benefit from the use of storytelling as a communication tool. All great leaders are great storytellers, and all great communicators understand the power of narrative. A good story will not only make your messages more memorable, but it will also help you engage an audience and help you build rapport as well as more meaningful relationships. In this fun and fast-paced session, attendees will learn a simple story map to create compelling stories, how to use stories to excite and motivate others and the five essential stories every person should be ready to tell if the opportunity arises.

The Hidden Boom: Unlocking Corporate Events & Partnerships As a Primary Growth Driver [Skills Training Session 2]

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Speakers: Andy Potter, Gina Schammel, Kenny Dunn

A majority of sales and marketing focus and budget within the Tourism and Events space is put on business to consumer (B2C) transactions. But what if you're company is leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table in undiscovered but available revenue? In this facilitated panel discussion, three Food Tourism business to business (B2B) experts will provide tactical analysis, step-by-step strategies and actionable items to help you rethink your corporate events platform while engaging in strategic partnerships that can lead to double and triple-digit business growth. After this session, you'll have the confidence to kickstart your B2B sales channel development and distribution with the tools, resources and clear plan to help reach your business growth goals.

Marketing Done Right: Learning to Drive Ticket Sales [Skills Training Session 2]

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Speakers: Casey Clark, Cassi Niekamp

It's no secret that revenue is everything when running a business of any size or shape. Too often business leaders don't focus on the right controlled metrics and therefore don't fully understand the sales channels at their disposal to drive ticket sales and profitability. In this detailed session, you will learn how to breakdown and overcome the barriers of marketing while uncovering industry best-practices that will drive results. If you want actionable and tangible things to do to increase your marketing efforts and conversion rates, then this is the session for you.

Lunch Experience

12:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Join City Hosts, Austin Eats Food Tours, and venture out of the Palmer Event Center for lunch at two of Austin’s most iconic artisan restaurants. Lunch Experiences, a new event debuting at GFTC18, encourages you to get your networking on while enjoying these delicious curated, prix fixe lunch menus. Choose from one of two Lunch Experiences offered both Monday and Tuesday where you’ll join your old and new Food Tourism friends over great meals and conversation before the afternoon Master-Class Workshops begin. (This is not included in GFTC18 Registration; Tickets available soon to attendees only and includes transportation; Vegetarian options available.)

Scaling Exponentially [Master-Class Workshop]

2:45 PM - 4:15 PM

Speakers: Casey Clark

Have huge growth plans on the horizon for your business? Or looking to develop an organization chart that meets the challenges of 5X growth? In this Master-Class Workshop, you'll work with other like-minded brands in small cohorts towards similar objectives and breakdown the key ingredients that will be required to lead, execute and scale to the next level. If it's growing into new markets, adding new segments or leaping into a scaled management team, you and your team will leave with thought provoking ideas and changes to be implemented into your business to scale exponentially. (This session is by Invitation Only; Minimum revenue and company size is required to attend this session.)

Navigating Human Capital: How to Recruit & Train Extraordinary Tour Leaders [Master-Class Workshop]

2:45 PM - 4:15 PM

Speakers: Lauren Aloise, Kelsey Tonner

Tour leaders are on the front lines of any Food Tour Business - and can therefore make or break your customer experience. But when and how do you build a strong team? What's the secret hiring sauce? In this Masterclass Workshop, you will learn how to recruit your dream tour leader employees, how to effectively use employee referral programs and learn which crucial processes you should use to recruit year-round. Whether you're looking to move beyond Owner/Operator or you're a scaled model with dozens of employees, within this session you'll discover industry best practices for recruiting and interviewing, training and on-boarding, and ongoing development and retention.

Financial Power: The Art of Making More Money [Master-Class Workshop]

2:45 PM - 4:15 PM

Speakers: Dave Leveque, Analise Smith

Financials are connected to all aspects of your business; whether growing your profit or getting more comfortable with cashflow management, it's paramount you have a robust financial plan and rules in place to execute your business soundly. In this Master-Class Workshop, you'll learn how to unlock key areas of your business by breaking down the gross and net margin financial levers, provide you with tools on how to analyze your pricing, discover systems that allow you to effectively manage cost of goods sold, and discuss budgeting as well as return on investment planning. By attending this Workshop, you will leave with the necessary tools to take back control of your finances and discover new and innovative strategies on how to increase your profit margins.

City Host Tribute Experience by Austin Eats

6:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Everything is bigger in Texas, and the food tours are no exception. At this year’s City Host Experience, the team at Austin Eats Food Tours is set on wining and dining GFTC18 attendees in Austin via executive buses. Experience a distinct selection of the best dining Austin has to offer — from thoughtful farm-to-table fare and funky fusion cuisine, to locally brewed craft beers & ciders, to the out-of-the-way local favorites that aren’t in any guidebooks! Come hungry, and be prepared for a feast of the Capital City’s best sights, eats and drinks on this 3.5 hour customized event. To top it all off, all attendees will rally at the end of the tour at the same watering hole where everyone can continue to mix, mingle, and network. (Available to GFTC attendees and Friends & Family.)

Tuesday

Networking with Morning Coffee

7:30 AM – 8:30 AM

Coffee, tea, and water will be available during Tuesday morning. Please be sure to eat breakfast before arriving.

Day 2 Kick-Off Discussion & Expectations

8:30 AM - 8:45 AM

Speakers: Warren Etheredge

MC Warren Etheredge recaps what's going well, lessons learned and other considerations from Day 1 as GFTC18 heads into its second and final day of programming. Warren will also set the stage for the Round Table Cohorts that will function as active focus groups for companies and operators of similar demographics and backgrounds to discuss and review head-on the challenges and viable solutions required to elevate your brands in this speed-dating themed session.

Focus Groups: Round Table Cohorts

08:45 AM - 10:15 AM

Speakers: Warren Etheredge

Wish you could sit at an intimate table (or five) with businesses and colleagues that are like-minded, enjoying similar statistics but also pain points? Or perhaps you recall at a previous GFTC or networking event that some of the biggest, most important key takeaways and "aha!" moments happened in that casual, off-chance discussion you had during a quickly organized meet-up or networking break? Yeah- we totally get it and decided to do something about it. Welcome to Focus Groups via Round Table Cohorts- a unique opportunity to discuss and needle through topics that are most important to you and more importantly chosen by you with brands and colleagues that are similar in business demographics, location and/or size. Facilitated by MC Warren Etheredge, walk away with new key insights and uncover actionable items as you move through a variety of different cohort groups sharing key Q&A responses on fixed topics important to your business and professional development.

Networking Break

10:15 AM - 10:30 AM

Emerging Tech & Data Analytics – Part 1 [Master-Class Workshop]

10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Speakers: Jeremy Mitchell

Interested in moving your organization to data-driven decision making? Constantly wishing technology could help provide deeper insight into your business? It's no secret there's a lot of tech and tools out there but it's easy to get overwhelmed by where to start or what to look for despite their strategic importance to any organization. In this unbiased Master-Class Workshop, you'll learn how to dive into the emerging technology and data analytics landscape that impacts the entire Tours, Activities and Events space, with acute focus on Food Tourism. By breaking down the most important business metrics and analytics, attendees will learn how to optimize tech and data by learning what it means, why it's hugely important and how you can leverage technology to better understand, track and improve your bottom line to help drive key investment decisions in sales, marketing, operations and human capital.

Lunch Experience

11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

Join City Hosts, Austin Eats Food Tours, and venture out of the Palmer Event Center for lunch at two of Austin’s most iconic artisan restaurants. Lunch Experiences, a new event debuting at GFTC18, encourages you to get your networking on while enjoying these delicious curated, prix fixe lunch menus. Choose from one of two Lunch Experiences offered both Monday and Tuesday where you’ll join your old and new Food Tourism friends over great meals and conversation before Part 2 of Emerging Tech & Data Analytics Master-Class Workshop and Closing Remarks. (This is not included in GFTC18 Registration; Tickets available soon to attendees only and includes transportation; Vegetarian options available.)

Emerging Tech & Data Analytics – Part 2 [Master-Class Workshop]

1:45 PM – 2:45 PM

Speakers: Joseph Martin

Now that you have a better understanding of emerging tech and the data metrics you should be tracking and analyzing, Part 2 of this Master-Class Workshop will focus on the role of data visualization as it pertains to business intelligence, allowing your business to understand the significance of data by placing it in a visual context to identify patterns, trends and correlations. With a technology-driven process and detailed reporting that allows you to clean your data and extract meaningful and actionable insights, you will learn how to make more informed business decisions backed by analysis while enabling continuous monitoring of your strategies and data-driven decisions to influence performance and desired business outcomes.

Networking Break

2:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Closing Remarks & GFTC19 Announcement

3:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Speakers: Warren Etheredge

Join MC Warren Etheredge as he recaps the key learnings and takeaways from GFTC18 session, speakers, workshops, networking events and much more. You don't want to miss some very important and exciting announcements regarding GFTA and GFTC19 as we conclude this year's conference.

GFTA Dinner Banquet

5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

We learned that if you're going to have an Awards Ceremony, you better bring the food (and lots of it) along with some adult beverages to a group of Food Tourism Professionals. So be sure to attend the GFTA18 Awards Ceremony where we'll start things off with an hour and half Dinner Banquet being held on the stunning outside ground-level patio of Palmer Events Center overlooking Lake Austin and the brilliant Austin skyline as you enjoy music, drinks and delicious fare from a locally celebrated food truck-turned-caterer. (Included in GFTC Registration; F&F tickets available soon; Vegetarian options available)

Official GFTA Awards Ceremony

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Speakers: Warren Etheredge

A thriving industry like Food Tourism deserves a lot of recognition to the brands, people and otherwise that inspire us, that propel us forward, that open doors to new realities we didn't think were possible. We're proud and humbled to provide such a platform during the 2018 GFTA Awards Ceremony to celebrate the hard work, influence, and dedication that our colleagues around the world continue to demonstrate. Don't miss this once-a-year opportunity to tip your hat and stand and applaud one another as we put on our best suits and dresses in a private ceremony inside the Palmer Events Center. (Included in GFTC Registration; F&F tickets available soon)

GFTC18 After-Party

8:00 PM - 10:30 PM

By now, you must realize that we Food Tourism professionals really like a good party. We deliver on that expectation immediately following the GFTA Awards Ceremony with food, drinks, music and dancing on the outside patio of Palmer Events Center as we take in the Austin sunset over Lake Austin and watch Austin move from day to night with new and old friends.

After After Party

10:30 PM - ????

Be sure to check the official GFTC18 conference app via Whova to find out where the After After Party will be held. Let's find out who the super troopers are and take the party to the wee hours of the morning in a city that rarely sleeps.

Wednesday

Hangover Brunch-Lunch Experience

9:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Need a little hair of the dog after an exhilarating and educational GFTC18? Let Austin Eats Food Tours and their expert team send you off in style as they deliver you by luxury bus to interesting breakfast/lunch spots for a last indulgence of the best food/drink Austin has to offer. You can’t leave Austin without enjoying some of the Capital City’s best breakfast tacos & brisket cheddar kolaches, followed by more unique fare & then some decadent treats to leave you full and satisfied as you end your GFTC18 experience. Whether you’re still feeling the party from the evening before and interested in morning libations, or need to be plied with coffee and grub, this is the perfect send-off networking opportunity with your old and new Food Tourism pals.

Presenters

The #GFTC18 agenda format includes several programming sessions occurring simultaneously, it is recommended to bring several company representatives in order to "divide and conquer" all educational components of the conference.

View all Speakers