Growing Meeting Attendance While Maintaining a
Personal Touch


U.S. Travel is the national non-profit organization that advocates for all components of the travel and tourism industry. The Education Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) is the organization’s annual forum where destination marketing professionals at the state, regional, and local levels get the critical tools, tips, and knowledge to help them market and grow their destinations.

ESTO faced two major challenges. The first was partially good news: Attendance was growing. While any organizer wants more participants, U.S. Travel was uncertain how to maintain an intimate feel with meaningful networking opportunities as the numbers continued to rise. The second issue was a lack of adequate attendee feedback. With low survey response rates, the planning committee didn’t know if they were choosing topics and speakers that truly resonated with participants. They came to MYB with a desire to know what changes would continue to make ESTO the go-to event for destination marketers.

  • Performed a full diagnostic exam on the entire meeting using MYB’s proprietary Meeting IQ process
  • Analyzed attendee profiles and refined segmentation strategy to better reach target audiences
  • Assessed the effectiveness of conference marketing and participated in on-site experience to determine if ESTO was delivering a unique and exciting attendee experience.
  • Provided benchmarking metrics to gauge success in the marketplace
  • Revised conference survey questions and format to ensure more relevant feedback and increase participation rates
  • Offered assistance with social media strategy to build more awareness and increase community engagement before and after the event

MYB designed a holistic strategy for content development with ideas to elevate the delivery and add new formats to better meet the audience’s needs. The changes were implemented in the following year, and attendee satisfaction rates rose significantly. Importantly, the planning committee added a new program for the first-time attendee segment — a group that MYB recognized was at-risk — that created higher levels of engagement and satisfaction.

With changes to the post-meeting survey that also encouraged higher response rates, and new KPIs, U.S. Travel is now better tracking the success of annual improvements to the conference and what is truly resonating with their audiences.