Tell us a little about what The Vice President of Sales does at Traverse City Tourism.
One of the great things about being at Traverse City Tourism is the variety in my days. In the sales department, the goal is simple: find group business we do not currently host and invite them to convene in Traverse City. How we go about that can vary greatly depending on the type of group, so that’s where the fun begins. Our sales efforts consist of targeted groups at the state, regional, national and even international levels. We are very passionate about all of the amenities that make Traverse City a world class destination, and telling people about that is a pleasure.
What did you do before Traverse City Tourism?
Before I came to Traverse City Tourism, I worked for the Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was a Director of Convention Sales and worked with national groups that used multiple hotels and the Salt Palace Convention Center.
What do you love the most about working for Traverse City Tourism?
I get to live here and I get to work with some incredible people! The leadership and staff of Traverse City Tourism, and the tourism partners we represent, all understand the value of bringing people to our area. Two things that really stand out are the Community Champion program -- where we recognize local people for their initiative in helping to bring groups to our area -- and the site inspections we conduct with potential meeting clients. I love being able to match the accommodations from our hotels, restaurants, and attractions to fit a particular group's needs, and escorting them as they discover our amazing city!
What attractions, destinations, restaurants, etc. do you favor in Traverse City?
That’s a really hard question to answer, and I think it comes down to what you’re looking for on any given day. Sometimes my favorite thing is the awe-inspiring Sleeping Bear Dunes, on other days it's the bustle of downtown or the Village at Grand Traverse Commons. And of course, there’s always room for wine tasting, or a craft brew or distillery tour. Some of my favorite spots have been shared with clients and include, Amical, Red Ginger, and the Boat House.
What’s your favorite downtown lunch spot and why?
Again with the favorites question – it’s too hard! The Dish for great soups and salads, Little Fleet is fun and different, and North Peak has some great variety.
How would you describe Traverse City to a first-time visitor?
I usually let them know that when they come to visit, at one point they will say, “I had no idea Traverse City was so amazing!" I love to wait for that aha! moment, and it always happens.
Traverse City is unlike any other northern experience. Not only do we have the natural beauty of lakes, beaches and forests, but we combine those with first class accommodations, a walkable, charming downtown with boutique shopping and award winning restaurants, the history that makes up the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, beautiful wine trails and vibrant cultural opportunities. By the time they leave, they have found their new favorite place to be.
What is your perfect day in Traverse City?
Anything that gives me a day with my two sons and spending time in Traverse City. We’d probably start with a great breakfast then head to the Sleeping Bear Dunes – it’s so inspiring! We'd do every stop on the Pierce Stocking Drive, head back to Traverse City and downtown, poke around the shops, maybe stop at a distillery, and perhaps try out some paddle boarding on the bay. If time permits we would also visit the gardens at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, grab a snack at the Michigan Farm Market, sample some wine (at TASTES of Black Star Farms or Left Foot Charley), and then take a peaceful cruise aboard the Tall Ship Manitou.
If you could wish for a celebrity sighting on the streets of downtown Traverse City who would you want to see?
I can't decide between two people...
Tim Allen, because he’s hilarious and I love what he’s done with the Pure Michigan campaign. Or, today, I’d have to add Tom Izzo. It is March, after all!
What is your favorite season in Northern Michigan?
Traverse City has more to offer as a four-season destination than anywhere else I can think of! People here embrace all the seasons and enjoy the winter, spring and fall offerings – that’s cool. Still, if I had to pick one season it would be summer, when I can walk on that gorgeous sand and play in the Bay!
Describe a memorable Traverse City moment/experience.
I had the pleasure of conducting a site inspection with a gentleman representing a group whose members are extremely interested in wildlife, particularly birds. That meant that in addition to all the usual things I always highlight, we had some unique areas to see as well. Part of what was memorable was that when he arrived he was a bit skeptical that Traverse City would be able fill all his group's needs. (This group required “markers” or a grading scale of wildlife offerings combined with amenities that would entice their attendees, and he had assured me that this was a monumental task!)
We were heading out on the Old Mission Peninsula and he was telling me how absolutely beautiful our area was, how wonderfully it would work for their group and how, despite his skepticism, we turned out to be the poster child of all that a wildlife destination can offer.
And, no kidding, just then a bald eagle began to float in front of us -- right on cue!