When it comes to your career, have you ever wondered how do I get started, am I doing it right or what does someone in that position do? Wonder no more! This is the first of many interviews that will get you BloggedIn with people working in various aspects of the meeting and events industry.
First up, Art Shaw, Director of Sales – Eastern Region for the Fort Worth CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau).
Art has been working in this industry for over 30 years. He got his start when he took time off between high school and college to be a “ski bum,” at which point he worked at a hotel. After his break, he attended the University of New Hampshire, where he obtained a degree in Hotel Administration. His first job after graduating was with Marriott, where he worked for 16 years, mostly in food and beverage. Afterward, he worked for Starwood for 9 years in their global sales department. Then he got to where he is now, the Fort Worth CVB.
When asked why he left his previous employers, Art stated that he wanted a change in scenery, but more notably he enjoyed working for smaller companies. “Marriott and Starwood were both small when I started with them…and now they’re huge!”
Now, as a CVB representative, Art’s primary responsibilities are to promote Fort Worth and bring meetings of all sizes to Fort Worth, from the DC area. Meetings of any size can have its challenges, but that’s what Art loves. Having to solve the issue of where to park 800 planes for a week isn’t something you deal with every day (or ever). “It’s the unusual stuff that makes it fun!”
That being said, having a lack of control is a downside. CVB reps can’t tell their partners in the city what to do. They aren’t involved in the negotiations or contracts. “I can send them business that I think is good, but they may have a different option on what’s good.”
Art’s biggest challenge though is getting clients to understand what Fort Worth is about and what the city can and can’t do. His goal then becomes to bring them to the city. “When they see it, they truly get it.” Texas is a big state and has a lot to offer; however, there’s the misconception that all cities in Texas are like Dallas, which is not true. Bringing your clients to the city to experience it firsthand so they can touch and feel the city is the best way to get them to understand.
Like the rest of us, Art has made mistakes and learned from them. When he first started, it didn’t cross his mind to tell clients when he was going to be on vacation for extended periods of time. If an issue arose while he was gone, his clients didn’t understand why he didn’t take action. Now, when Art plans to be out of town for more than a day or two he tells his key clients. It’s important to keep everyone in the loop.
So, as a veteran to the industry, what advice does Art have for you? “NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK! You get jobs through the people you know and through people who know you’re looking.” You can never know too many people.
Art leaves us with this statement, “Helping others is like donating blood…it doesn’t take a lot of time or money, it’s easy to do, and it will pay back.”
Stay tuned for more BloggedIn Interviews and let us know if there’s a particular position you want to know more about or questions you want answered!