Six questions with one of sales teams' shining stars.
Posted on Jan 8, 2021
There are a lot of folks over here working behind the scenes to make your next event, meeting or tradeshow in Dallas a success. 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.
Today we're introducing you to Courtney McConnell. Courtney is one of the few VisitDallas staffers that does her work away from the Lone Star State; in this case, Courtney represents Dallas 1,300 miles away in Washington, D.C. From her remote office, Courtney oversees efforts for the Mid-Atlantic region, ensuring organizations and companies in that area know about the great benefits Dallas delivers for meetings and events.
Tell us about yourself, Courtney!
Originally from Georgia, I moved to Dallas from Seattle in 2011 and have been with VisitDallas for three years. After crossing over from the airline industry, I landed my first hotel role as a complex dual sales manager in Dallas and then held several positions at various hotels all across the city. In 2017, I joined the VisitDallas team!
What's your job like?
In my current role, my focus is to understand how Dallas can work for a particular event, educate my clients of the city's offerings, and provide the right research and information related to the organization's objective. Oftentimes, the process includes welcoming clients in Dallas for site visits and showing them the hotels and venues that make the most sense for their group. I also work with the services team to make sure all the key pieces are in place for a successful visit.
One of the most consistent aspects of my job is the collaboration with my fellow market teammates. We work together to ensure we've got the right touchpoints for our clients, and I'm always learning from those who have been doing this work longer than myself.
So you may be the lucky person to show a newcomer all the best parts of Dallas! What has that been like?
Recently, I had a client come in who had never been to Dallas. Her group was looking at a Downtown property, but she wasn't sure there would be any activities for them outside of the event.
We did an E-Frogs city tour and then explored the nightlife scene in Deep Ellum, as it was within walking distance of the hotel. There happened to be a pop-up Christmas Bar happening at HIDE, one of the coolest cocktail spots in that neighborhood, and the client loved it. That visit really showcased the walkability and different options for her attendees to entertain in the area. She was so enamored with the city and it secured the first Dallas booking by this organization. We've stayed in touch since that site. That's always a plus too – we make great connections with our clients and often times are able to stay in touch long after the event.
Dallas Delivers is more than a motto for us. Can you tell us about a recent example in which the VisitDallas team really pulled through for a client?
Every client is different, and it's always in our best interest to provide a personalized experience for our clients. There are a lot of decisions at play here and providing the right information to the decision-makers is key. Recently, a retail association I work with was in town for a site visit and after spending the day with them, I realized we needed much more industry-specific information before they could make an informed decision.
So after the first days' activities wrapped, we went to work. I did a ton of research that night, picked them up from the hotel the next morning and was able to present a much more tailored city tour. They were excited to learn everything Dallas could offer specific to their role in the retail world and booked their program with us.
What should meeting planners know about Dallas as a destination?
I get asked what there is to do in Dallas a lot. To that I say it's more than the expected Texas cowboy hats, boots, and country music. (We've got that, too. Don't get me wrong. I wear my cowboy boots everywhere I go!) Dallas is a hot spot for arts, food, culture, music, nightlife sports, etc. For my clients, once the meeting ends and the day is done, it becomes their world to explore. With over 20 different neighborhoods, there is truly something for everyone to experience!
What are some of your favorite Dallas experiences and why?
I have a lot, but here are a few:
- The brunch scene in Uptown. I particularly love Standard Pour!
- Klyde Warren Park does a great job of hosting fun events in their space. Park and Palette is an annual event that is always a good time, but even just getting some ice cream and enjoying a sunny day with friends while their kids run around in the children's park is something I really enjoy.
- The nightlife in Deep Ellum can't be beat. Taking the skyline in on the rooftop at Green Room is one of favorites!
- When I'm in training season for a half marathon and in town, I usually take to the Katy Trail and the streets through Highland Park. The homes are beautiful!
- Tex-Mex restaurants. I think I've been to almost every Tex-Mex restaurant at this point, and I've personally explored all the Margarita Mile stops, which everyone who visits should also do!