This week on the show, we’re enjoying another travel conference edition. Join us at Destinations International (DI) as we talk to a panel of distinguished guests from the tourism industry. With decades of combined experience, they delve into the world of careers and professional development in tourism. From the resilience of hospitality professionals to the importance of collaboration and partnerships, we want to share insights gained at DI.
- Butch Spyridon: President & CEO of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation
- Catherine Jenkins: Marketing & Communications Manager at Kent County Tourism Corp
- Cheryl Kilday: President & CEO of Destination Myrtle Beach
- Darien Schaefer: President & CEO at Visit Pensacola, Inc.
- Darryl Leggieri: President at Discover Saratoga-Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau
- Gary Wheat: President & CEO at Visit Macon
The Power of Partnerships: Success Stories Shared at Destinations International
Each guest answered five questions about the value of events like Destinations International and why coming together with others in the travel and tourism industry makes you a better tourism professional. They share what the word partnership means to them and share the importance of collaboration in their roles.
Butch Spyridon: President & CEO of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation
On the show, Butch discusses his 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry and highlights the resilience and hardworking nature of those in the travel and tourism niche. He also emphasizes the importance of creating bonds and friendships in one’s career and establishing a network. Butch also shares why he believes that experiences we enjoy during travel can be more valuable than material possessions.
Catherine Jenkins: Marketing & Communications Manager at Kent County Tourism Corp
Catherine shares that attending the conference has made her a better professional by providing opportunities to learn from industry experts and peers. She emphasizes the importance of collaboration and partnerships in her success and how the travel and tourism communities provide support for her work. Overall, Catherine describes the DI conference as inspiring and exciting and a place that makes her feel ready to rejoin her colleagues in Kent County and start making plans for the future.
Cheryl Kilday: President & CEO of Destination Myrtle Beach
We welcome Cheryl back to the show to share her thoughts on Destination International as a place to access data about the travel and tourism industry, talk to the people who developed it, and interact with that information to get a deeper, better understanding than just reading it off of an online article. Cheryl also emphasizes the importance of peer-to-peer connection and why building a network and developing relationships at the conference is so helpful.
Darien Schaefer: President & CEO at Visit Pensacola, Inc.
Darien dives into why partnership is critical to what we do in destination marketing. He talks about the value of working with peer organizations in your destination and elaborates on why it is key to our success to build as many partnerships as we can. Darien also shares that his words for Destinations International in 2023 are beneficial and important.
Darryl Leggieri: President at Discover Saratoga-Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau
We’re always looking to give newcomers to the travel and tourism industry a helping hand, and Darryl shared the advice he would offer. He highlights the importance of the bonds and friendships you create over your career and why establishing your network is so important. Darryl explains why he describes his experience at Destinations International as engaging and why he loves catching up with colleagues on the conference floor.
Gary Wheat: President and CEO at Visit Macon
Gary and I discuss the power of partnership. He describes how talking to and learning from his counterparts in the travel and tourism community with a shared understanding is therapeutic. As Gary shares his enthusiasm in creating a positive experience for travelers, his deep understanding of the travel and tourism industry is inspiring. Gary explains why his words for Destinations International in 2023 are friendship and validation.
From the importance of networking and collaboration to the resilience and adaptability required in the face of challenges like the pandemic, these professionals share their insights and experiences. As they highlight the value of strong partnerships, continuous learning, and making a difference in their communities, it becomes clear that the tourism industry is not just about travel and hospitality—it’s about forging connections, creating memorable experiences, and shaping the future of destinations.
Stay tuned for the second part of our series, where we will continue to hear insights from travel experts at Destinations International.
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