Get to know the VisitDallas sales and services teams through your new series.
Posted on Aug 31, 2020 By Diana Alvarez
Over the next few weeks and months, we'll introduce you to some VisitDallas staffers that help make meetings, conventions and events in Dallas happen. Get to know them – and recognize their faces – for your next visit to Dallas.
First up: Raul Santillan, Senior Manager of Membership.
Tell us about yourself, Raul.
I am the senior manager of membership, overseeing opportunities for local businesses to connect with travelers – both leisure and business – to Dallas. I have been with VisitDallas for 13 years, initially starting in an administrative role. (After seven years in commercial real estate, I decided I needed a change!)
After joining the team, I quickly learned that I wanted to contribute more to the organization and waited patiently for that opportunity to present itself. Once it did, I jumped on it and haven't looked back. I am a people person and I wanted to be in a role where I can connect people. The membership team – small but mighty – is all about that, and it is truly a team that is dedicated to helping others.
Tell us about your job.
I consider myself a connector. I enjoy learning about an individual's business and all the things that make it work day in and day out. From there, my job is to figure out how to connect that service, whether internally with a Visit Dallas team member in another team, a fellow Dallas-based partner or client. Ultimately, it is my job to secure and provide a true value in their investment with VisitDallas.
Your job is very connected with our members. What's a favorite memory?
My best job memories are those centered around introductions. I truly enjoy figuring out how to take two businesses and talk through how they can work together. Sometimes we all surprise each other with the ideas we come up with, and those are the little things that I cherish. I have made hundreds of great connections who often times become close friends, and to be able to deliver a service and show them the value of being VisitDallas members is so rewarding.
Tell us about a recent example of how VisitDallas delivered for a group/client.
The examples that stand out the most are the ones that demonstrate long-term value. One story that comes to mind is a recent partner who expressed concern regarding ROI on her membership. After conversations with this member, we landed on a strategy that connected her more closely with other members in her business space. She saw how a membership goes full circle and the benefit of using the VisitDallas community to grow her business. She has been a partner and a friend for six years now!
What should meeting planners know about Dallas as a destination?
As a destination, Dallas has a lot to offer. I think the biggest one is the people – we are just friendly folks. Wherever you are in Dallas, you will find a person or group of people willing to help. More specifically, the hospitality scene in Dallas is a tight-knit community and understands the value of visitors to our city.
What should meeting planners know about VisitDallas?
We value our customers and we will always put our best foot forward to provide a stellar experience for them and their attendees.
Tell us about your favorite things to do in Dallas.
Recently I have enjoyed supporting small local storefronts like Paleta Mia and Fry Daddy's in Southeast Dallas. I have also enjoyed Bonton Farms and its Market Cafe for morning coffee and breakfast.
On the outdoors front, exploring the Trinity Audubon and its surrounding nature trails are always a nice way to get out of the house. The Dallas Arboretum never gets old – it is a wonderful escape to enjoy flowers, plants and scenery close to home.