Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and Will Seccombe, CEO of VisitFlorida, spoke yesterday at the Skift Global Forum.

Tull oversees all of the Las Vegas organization’s marketing, advertising and sales efforts. She joined the LVCVA in 2005, and has experience in travel and tourism, healthcare administration and journalism.

For VisitFlorida, Seccombe leads the state’s destination marketing organization in partnership with its Board of Directors and the statewide tourism industry. Seccombe joined VisitFlorida in March 2008 as Chief Marketing Officer.

Here are are 10 things we learned:

  • “If you look at what BrandUSA is doing, it is an opportunity to welcome the world,” Tull said. “I think they are headed in the right directon for sure.”
  • “You can’t control all the social media content. You just have to let it go” because trying to control it will hurt authenticity, Tull said.
  • “Our responsibility [destination marketing organizations] is to create a platform that they [hotels, big and small, and attractions] couldn’t otherwise create themselves,” Tull said.
  • Business travelers who attend a conference in Las Vegas often will return as leisure travelers, Tull said.
  • “They [BrandUSA] were slow out of the gate,” Seccombe said, adding that everyone should contact their congressional representatives to urge them to reauthorize BrandUSA.
  • “That’s $200 million that will be lost” if Congress doesn’t reauthorize BrandUSA, Seccombe said.
  • “We [DMOs] probably have the most to gain and most to lose regarding BrandUSA’s success,” Seccombe said.
  • “People are not taking all their vacation time. There is a huge opportunity,” Seccombe said.
  • Some 95% of visitors to Florida have been in the state previously, Seccombe said. “There is nothing more powerful than the advice of friends and relatives.”
  • Creating and owning great content is only part of the solution, Seccombe said, adding that a DMO has to be involved in “sharing it and letting other people share it.”

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Photo Credit: Skift reporter Samantha Shankman (left) questions Cathy Tull of the Las Vegas Convention and Vistors Authority and Will Seccombe of VisitFlorida about tourism trends at the Skift Global Forum in New York City on Oct. 9, 2014. Skift