“I have found out there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.”
This quote from “Tom Sawyer Abroad,” a la Mark Twain, is on my business card. The other day I was asked “What do people in the vacation and tourism industry DO on vacation? Go work in a coal mine?”
Far from it. We do the same things anyone else does on vacation – visit museums, explore famous landmarks, enjoy fun parks, over-pack, buy tchotckes – we’re probably just a bit more aware of the “inner workings” of the activities we are enjoying.
It’s like any job in a specialized field; doctors have to go to other doctors, hair dressers can’t cut their own hair (I don’t think), and chefs eat at other restaurants.
I LOVE vacationing, especially in Missouri. I love watching people at work in the tourism industry and seeing the friendliness and joy they bring to travelers.
From hotel housekeepers to stage performers, I always feel like a bit of a “secret shopper,” hoping they will do a great job and make people feel welcome, whether they are answering a visitor’s question or posing for a picture. I’m always secretly rooting for them to do a great job, and I’m happy to say they do 99 percent of the time.
Of course, I can’t really turn that off … it would be like telling an architect to go to New York, but not to pay attention to any of the architecture. Ain’t gonna happen folks.
Do I drive my family nuts with comments like “did you hear the way that employee followed up with suggestions on things to do tonight? What great cross promotion!”
But they haven’t stopped traveling with me yet.
Written by Megan Rapp, assistant director and group sales manager, Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau