Briefly describe business:
Visit Anchorage’s mission is to attract and serve visitors to the Municipality of Anchorage. With more than 135 miles of paved trails, the nation’s third-largest state park, first-class amenities and a blend of cultures found only in Alaska, Anchorage lives a Big Wild Life™.
When did you first become involved in the visitor industry?
In 1998, I took a seasonal job at the Westmark Inn Skagway, the largest hotel in the city. I recall that on my first day in Alaska, I saw multiple glaciers, a breaching whale and an eagle aerie. Sharing all this with cruise and highway guests was so pleasurable that I returned for a total of four seasons.
How did you get your start with the cruise industry?
Although my summers taught me important lessons about cruise passengers and their excitement for Alaska, it was my work in sales and marketing for Holland America Line where I learned how difficult it is to convert customers’ dreams into vacation reservations. I’ve never forgotten that, although many people desire to visit Alaska, we must be aggressive and proactive in selling the state. Vacation sales and marketing is especially competitive on a global stage.
What’s the best part of your job?
My best days are those spent telling our story. We talk of technical advertising plans, market reporting and web analytics, but really it’s all about connecting our beautiful city with potential travelers. Like all Alaskans, my job is made easier by the iconic imagery found here and the high satisfaction reported by our visitors.
What’s your favorite cruise passenger story?
My last day in Skagway was Sept. 11, 2001 and I recall that the MS Volendam was embarking in port. I like to remember the raw kindness shown between passengers that day.
What should Alaska do to better support/protect the visitor/cruise industry?
We are all in the business of hospitality. Kindness and warmth are not imported Alaska qualities. When we see our visitors as fellow humans and countrymen rather than outsiders and foreigners, they take home memories not only of our glaciers and animals, but also of Alaska’s people.