I began my career with the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau a little over 2 years ago as the online content manager. Prior to coming on board with the CVB, I honestly had no aspirations of being in tourism, and my preconception of the tourism industry was that of major destinations with theme parks or national monuments for leisure travel.
Since coming on staff and immersing myself in the tourism culture, I now realize the industry is a complex entity that relies on multiple cogs fulfilling their unique role to create a whole visitor experience. From the airline attendant greeting you with a smile to a cab driver telling you about the local hotspots to the hotel housekeeper cleaning your room and keeping it stocked with tiny soaps, they all add to your experience in a destination. I was also intrigued by the various segments of travelers that I had never thought of before such as leisure travelers, convention/meeting participants, tour groups, and international travelers.
My lack of knowledge about the industry was only compounded by my lack of understanding about what a CVB’s purpose was. The short answer is that a CVB is a champion for the area it represents. We promote everything from food to festivals. We attempt to be a reflection of the best our area has to offer and grow a passionate community that is also proud to call the area home. When people are proud of their home, they are excited to show it off.
The opportunities in the tourism industry, particularly at a Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), seem boundless. I feel very fortunate to be in the relatively young field of social/digital media that has a great potential for growth and is constantly evolving. But as important and fun as my job is, it is only one small piece of the pie when it comes to a full service DMO. Other positions people might find interesting are in sales. I find that these individuals have a great desire to work with others to develop strong relationships within the community. Their target can be anything from acquiring sporting events to conventions to tour operators.
Public Relations in tourism is another good path for future tourism hopefuls. A career in PR at a DMO will allows you to interact with travel writers and publications to help sell the destination through original stories and content. Tourist Information also plays a key role at our facility, as they are the frontline and often times, a first point of contact for our visitors. Administration is crucial in handling the ultimate direction a DMO is heading and deals with some of the more political aspects of organization.
Getting to be a part of 30 Under 30 is a huge boost to my career aspirations. It has served as an encouragement and confirmation that God has placed me in a field that truly suites my abilities. I have been able to network with peers that possess amazing abilities and knowledge in respect to their destinations and job functions that have greatly benefitted me. DMO’s, whether large or small, often share similar struggles and we can collaborate to work through those issues for the good of the industry. I was also thrilled to rub shoulders with so many industry leaders at the annual conference. They provided big picture insight into where the industry is heading and what we need to do to prepare ourselves.
This is one of the best industries to be a part of, and I fully intend to continue my advancement in tourism. I am always on the lookout for mentors who can share experience on areas where I have yet to tread. I was taught to dream big, work hard, and set goals. Goals for my career/life are to be the best husband/father I can be for my family, lead a DMO effectively while investing in future leaders as others have invested in me, and be an advocate for U.S. Travel. I don’t know what that journey will look like, but 30 Under 30 has given me a good jumping off point.