February 25, 2020 - Ritz Carlton Marina del Rey, California

Register for International Marketing Forum West

Join us for a day of in-depth interactive sessions and insightful discussion with industry experts while building relationships with your peers. Rate is $995.



8:00 – 9:00 am

8:30 – 9:00 am

9:00 – 9:30 am
International Travelers Destination Decision & Buying Behavior – Established Markets
A data-driven look at how travelers from the U.S.’s top markets are making their destination decisions and how they’re transacting that travel. We’ll start at the top of the funnel to examine what are the top attracters and deterrents for selecting destinations, attractions and experiences and which digital media and offline sources have the biggest impact on consumer’s selection. From there, we’ll look at how that does (and doesn’t) correlate with actual buying behavior.

  • Erin Francis-Cummings, President & CEO of Destination Analysts

9:30 – 10:15 am
What the Hell is Going on in China?
From trade wars to travel warnings, the relationship between the U.S. and Chinese governments is a non-stop rollercoaster. But what does that mean for U.S. destinations seeking to develop or expand their Chinese visitor base? We’ll take a look at trends in Chinese visitation and, more importantly, the most recent developments in the Chinese travelers’ decision-making process. Gain insights on where destination decisions are being made and how you can tap into this ever-expanding market.

  • Alina Xiang, President & CEO, East West Marketing

10:15 – 11:00 am
Is India the next China or the White Whale?
Everyone is intrigued by the rapid growth of arrivals from India. But depending on who you ask, Indians are either high-spending, upscale hotel-staying dream visitors or frugal business travelers staying with friends and family. Add to that the highly fractured ecosystem of agents and buyers and the world’s second most populous country is perplexing to say the least. Our panelists will break down this emerging market and speak truth to what the Indian market is – and isn’t – and whether (and how) you should approach it.

  • Greg Edevane, The Countryside of Philadelphia
  • Robert Y. Graff, Vice President Sales & Marketing, BINDLESTIFF TOURS
  • Kathy Smits, Vice President, International Tourism, Los Angeles Tourism

11:00 – 11:15 am

11:15 am – 12:00 pm
The South is Rising Again – Getting Started in Latin & South America
New markets from South and Latin America are on the rise, with significant new lift coming to the U.S., particularly in the west. Countries like Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina and Panama are suddenly real opportunities for growth in international visitation while countries like Brazil and Mexico continue to show growth. This panel session will provide a 101-session covering the state of these markets, media consumption habits and booking behavior. You’ll leave with actionable takeaways on how to get started – or ramp up – your destination or attraction efforts in these markets.

  • Tyler Gosnell, Director of International Marketing, Visit California
  • Daniel Schwartz, Director, Americas, San Francisco Travel
  • Ivar Hottentot, Product Development Manager, Meeting Point North America

12:00 – 12:30 pm
Data Privacy the Future of Marketing for DMOs, Attractions & Suppliers
Europe’s launch of GDPR has started a wave of new data privacy regulations around the world that are fundamentally changing how destinations reach global consumers. With increased importance being placed on “first-party” data, destinations and attractions will soon be challenged to find targeted audiences through “traditional” digital network providers. At the same time, travel agents and tour operators have an opportunity to leverage the first party consumer data they have collected to create innovative new ways to partner with DMOs and other suppliers. In this session, get a better understanding of what regulations like GDPR mean for the industry and how destinations and travel providers need to adapt to be effective.

  • Gray Lawry, VP, Strategy & Insights, Miles Partnership

12:30 – 1:45 pm
Lunch On Your Own

2:00 – 3:00 pm
Coronavirus and Chinese Tourism
The Coronavirus has been devastating to Chinese outbound tourism and those brands that depend on it. This session will provide in-depth information regarding the current state of the virus and best estimates for its ultimate demise. We’ll also examine how US brands have responded to the virus and maintained connections through the crisis as well as offer tips and suggestions for preparing for the post-virus rebound.

  • Matt Grayson, President – Americas, Dragon Trail Interactive

3:00 – 3:30 pm

3:30 – 4:15 pm
Free Marketing is Good. Free Audience is even Better.
While you’re agonizing over where to spend your limited international marketing dollars, millions of potential visitors (who are actively searching your destination or business) are making decisions based on the content and information already available in the world’s largest travel content ecosystem: Google. Are you doing everything you can with Google’s free destination and business tools to provide the most compelling and informative picture of your product for international consumers? In this session, you’ll discover the size of this audience (spoiler alert, it’s huge) and get tips and tricks on how to optimize your footprint throughout Google’s travel and search environment.

  • Chris Adams, Head of Research & Insights, Miles Partnership

4:15 – 5:00 pm
Test Your Knowledge – International Visitor Quiz Challenge
In this interactive session, you’ll test your knowledge of international inbound markets. It’s a fun and informative quiz on typical travel behaviors of visitors from the top 11 countries. Who stays in America longest? Who spends the most? Who is more likely to explore on a motorcycle? Who prefers national parks to city sightseeing? You’ll leave this session with new insights and possibly a winning prize.

  • Gregg Butler-Gant, Sr Business Development Manager, Expedia Group

5:00 – 6:30 pm

Hotel Information


4375 Admiralty Way
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
Ph: (310) 823-1700 (direct); (800) 241-3333 (reservations)

Special International Marketing Forum Rate: $299

Please book your hotel reservation at this link. Mention RTO Summit West. Cut-off date for the block is February 4, 2020.

UNAUTHORIZED HOUSING PROVIDERS. It has been brought to our attention that an unauthorized third-party housing company has tried to solicit attendees to secure hotel rooms for RTO Summit West. No outside housing agency is approved nor authorized by RTO Summit to secure any rooms from attendees for our event. They are not associated with our company and are not in any way involved with our negotiated room block at the Ritz Carlton, Marina Del Rey. RTO Summit does not solicit hotel reservations for the event. We have a room block set up at the Ritz Carlton, Marina Del Rey for your convenience, but the actual reservations should be made directly with Ritz Carlton. We would strongly advise against booking through any third-party housing company or giving them any personal information.