Uniting for Success in the Travel Industry, with Nicole Mahoney

Episode 367

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This week we’re coming to you directly from the ABA Marketplace in Nashville, where I’m talking to eight amazing travel industry experts about why there’s a sense of energy and forward focus in 2024. They share more about the experiences visitors to their destinations are requesting and dig into the importance of authenticity and making genuine connections between visitors and locals.

In this episode, you’ll hear from these travel and tourism industry leaders:

Key Insights from ABA Marketplace 2024

The ABA Marketplace 2024 conference brings together travel and tourism professionals to share insights, discuss industry trends, and explore opportunities for growth and collaboration. It’s a fantastic opportunity to connect and exchange ideas, and it emphasizes the significance of partnership and sustainability in the industry.

Lorey Hall: Leisure Sales Manager, Meet Northern Kentucky

Lorey discusses the significance of building relationships in the travel and tourism industry and shares why attending industry events is such a great idea for new professionals. She also stresses the importance of authenticity, professionalism, and persistence in building successful partnerships.

Kris Hoff: President & CEO, Happy Times Tours and Experiences

Building strong connections with tour operators enhances visitor offerings. Kris shares why he prioritizes offering exclusive, hands-on, immersive experiences and discusses the trend towards experiential travel. He also digs into the value of the connections made at events like ABA Marketplace and why they’re crucial for building relationships, not just for business but also for future personal connections.

Adam Jacobson: Director of Sales & Marketing, Villa Roma

Adam reflects on the meaning of partnership and shares his reaction to winning the Spirit of Partnership Award at ABA. His word for the ABA Marketplace is ‘partnerships’; and he describes why he enjoys making connections and meeting other people in the industry.

Sonya Nash: Executive Director at LaGrange County, IN CVB/Visit Shipshewana

Sonya emphasizes the importance of building genuine relationships in the travel and tourism industry, which takes time and dedication. She encourages new professionals to be authentic, provide results, and maintain professionalism while being actively engaged in industry organizations and events.

Jill Shorkey: Director of Group Tours, Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region

There’s no doubt that the last few years have been tough for the travel and tourism industry, which is why Jill is so excited about the returning numbers of visitors and travelers post-pandemic. She discusses the interest in creating memorable group experiences and highlights the importance of making connections with industry colleagues, and partners to enhance offerings, entice travelers, and encourage repeat visits.

Marlene Smith: Sales Manager, Traverse City Tourism

Marlene shares her excitement for the tourism industry in 2024, mentioning increased business for tour operators and the opportunity to explore new destinations. There is a focus on developing more tour products, including group-friendly restaurants and exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences. Marlene encourages future tourism professionals to find their niche, hone their skills, and not be afraid to network and meet new people.

Greg Takehara: CEO at Tourism Cares

Greg discusses the impact of the travel industry on sustainability and social-economic issues. He discusses the interest in responsible travel and carbon offsets, emphasizing the importance of meaningful travel experiences. We also discuss the importance of collaboration and partnership in addressing industry challenges, particularly in the context of sustainability and addressing social, environmental, and economic issues.

Darrin Thurman: Tourism Manager, Visit Springfield, IL

Darrin discusses the limitless opportunities within the tourism industry, emphasizing the potential for diverse career pathways and growth. He expresses excitement about the steady improvement in business post-pandemic and the renewed energy from staff and visitors in his location. Darrin describes the ABA Marketplace as a place of “heart,” emphasizing the sense of family, camaraderie, and love within the industry, and encourages young professionals to explore the incredible potential the industry has to offer.

The Importance of Building Lasting Relationships

We explore the dynamic world of travel and tourism, and explore the impact of the industry on sustainability and social-economic issues. Our amazing guests highlight the importance of building lasting relationships, the excitement of the resurgence of post-pandemic travel, and the value of learning and making connections within the industry.

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