OHTO’s Tourism Conference to Explore the Power of Referrals

Pembroke, ON (September 10, 2018) – Registration is now open for Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization (OHTO)’s eighth annual Tourism Conference and AGM, taking place October 29, 2018 at Bark Lake Leadership and Conference Centre in Irondale, Ontario.
The OH! Tourism Summit is Ontario’s Highlands’ largest conference, bringing together tourism operators from all over the region to explore a common theme through networking and collaboration. OHTO is proud to be working alongside our partners in tourism at #MyHaliburtonHighlands to bring to life this exciting conference.
The conference theme this year is “Rave Reviews: How Cultivating a Destination Experience Mindset Can Amplify Your Most Powerful Marketing Tool”. Attendees will take a closer look at the power of referrals, the importance of connecting with individuals' specific interests in an authentic way, and offering impactful experiences that will lead visitors to share their remarkable stories and generate word of mouth marketing. After a day of collaboration, delegates will walk away with tactics that will help them to connect with consumers in new ways and generate more referrals by marketing through people instead of to people.
“Word of mouth has always played a big role in driving tourism business to our region, but in this digital world we live in, it is even more important because there is greater access to the recommendations of trusted friends, colleagues, and even strangers on the internet. Since research has proven recommendations significantly influence travel purchases, referrals are paramount,” says Nicole Whiting, OHTO’s Executive Director. “Our aim with this year’s conference is to demystify what it takes to get more people raving about us and highlight the successes in and around the region from those who have fully embraced this cost-effective digital-first approach to marketing tourism.”
The one-day event will kick off with a keynote address by David Peacock, Zac Gribble, and Andrea Gardi of Regional Tourism Organization 4 (Huron, Perth, Waterloo and Wellington), who will share their own experiences and success with generating greater word of mouth through their visitors and the impact that has had in their destination. During the AGM portion of the day which takes place just before lunch, the OHTO will follow up with an overview of the past year and share what lies ahead for the Ontario’s Highlands region. Finally, the afternoon features multiple opportunities to network with industry peers to further explore the concepts and opportunities that have been shared throughout the day.
The OHTO is pleased to partner with Haliburton County this year, and looks forward to hosting a conference in a unique camp setting at Bark Lake Leadership and Conference Centre.

Attendees will be encouraged to disconnect to reconnect, wander the grounds and explore
experience stations, and be inspired through conversations and learning in a space that sparks
creativity. An optional social event with live music will close the conference off at the Dominion
Hotel and Pub in Minden.
Tickets for OH! Tourism Summit can be purchased online for a flat rate of $45 +HST. The AGM
portion of the day, taking place from 11:20 a.m. until 12:20pm on October 29, is free to attend.
Full conference details, including registration and program information, can be found at

About OHTO
Ontario's Highlands Tourism Organization (OHTO) is a not-for-profit organization mandated by
the Province of Ontario to increase tourism within the counties of Haliburton, Lanark, and
Renfrew and portions of Frontenac, Hastings, and Lennox and Addington. Find out more at


For more information, contact:
Sara Dunbrook
Digital Communications Specialist
Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization
613.629.6486 ext. 206