Breadcrumbs

Hero Story - Profiles

Profiles

Influencers of Group Travel: Sally Davis Berry

Everyone has that one person in their circle; that trusted individual you can go to for informed guidance, sage advice, valuable experience and more. That person who never fails to bring fresh ideas to the table and challenges what has always been in order to build something better.

In the group travel industry, these are the leaders who have risen to the surface as folks who are always willing to try new things, bolster innovation within the industry, drive others in a positive direction, and are recognizable among group travel professionals as someone who can be relied upon.

We asked our readers to share who among their industry peers should be recognized for their efforts in this realm. Those who were selected to be among the 2022 Influencers of Group Travel were featured in a recent issue of Groups Today

 


 

Sally Davis Berry
Owner | SallyDavisBerry.com, TourismProAcademy.com

With more than 25 years of experience in travel and tourism, Sally Davis Berry has worked in various industry roles, providing her a well-rounded view of the best ways to drive visitation. Davis Berry, who holds a CTP designation, began writing an industry blog in 2016 after realizing the lack of opportunities to learn while working in tourism.

Later in 2019, she launched TourismProAcademy.com, which offers online courses on tourism topics, in addition to free resources for all. Davis Berry also specializes in online webinars for tourism offices to aid their partners and loves to help others succeed in the group tour market.

"I want others to see what an amazing industry this is and that while the days can sometimes seem long and hard, they're worth it," Davis Berry said. "I really love when people attending my webinars tell me that I make things very easy to understand, which allows them to take action. I hope to continue influencing group travel by creating helpful content, whether it's through a blog post or a new course. I also offer a free monthly webinar 'Group Tour Tactics for our New Reality' to help our industry get back on track. I love having TourismPros from around the country join me and connect!"

When it comes to what others can do to influence their own circles and communities, Davis Berry says there are two areas to focus on.

"Helping our hometowns realize the benefits of supporting tourism, and helping to recruit and retain our next generation of tourism pros," she said. "Tourism creates jobs and a better quality of life for residents and it is our responsibility to make sure everyone knows that!"

As the industry rebounds from COVID and plenty of growth and evolution happens, Davis Berry—like many group travel professionals—are examining how they can contribute to building the industry back better. One of the first things Davis Berry does on every one of her webinars is to ask all attendees how long they have been in the industry.

"I ask the 'newbies' to be brave and put their name and email in the chat. Then, I ask the 'old timers' to pick a few of those names and reach out personally to offer to mentor, answer questions and be a resource," Davis Berry said. "Our industry is all about our relationships. With such a large turnover due to COVID, it's our responsibility to welcome and help our new colleagues. I would love to see mentoring programs and meet-ups where we can help newer tourism pros feel supported and welcomed."

To read more about the rest of the 2022 Influencers of Group Travel, click here.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.

 

Influencers of Group Travel: Bob Cline

Everyone has that one person in their circle; that trusted individual you can go to for informed guidance, sage advice, valuable experience and more. That person who never fails to bring fresh ideas to the table and challenges what has always been in order to build something better.

In the group travel industry, these are the leaders who have risen to the surface as folks who are always willing to try new things, bolster innovation within the industry, drive others in a positive direction, and are recognizable among group travel professionals as someone who can be relied upon.

We asked our readers to share who among their industry peers should be recognized for their efforts in this realm. Those who were selected to be among the 2022 Influencers of Group Travel were featured in a recent issue of Groups Today. Keep reading to get to know them!

 


 

Bob Cline
President | U.S. Tours

After working in hospitality at the beach following college, Bob Cline officially started in the travel industry in 1978 managing the tour department at Park Tours, a motorcoach company in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Cline went on to launch U.S. Tours in 1996 and has remained a recognizable figure in the group travel industry ever since. And though he's honored to be recognized as an influencer in group travel, Cline stresses that his efforts are truly team driven.

"My abilities alone are not what has brought recognition to U.S. Tours.," Cline said. "It's the team I've assembled that has made this little company stand apart. Most of my staff have been here for more than 10 years; my operations manager has been here over 20."

According to Cline, the world has experienced three BC eras: Before Christ, Before Computers and Before COVID.

"Today, we are trying to help our customers navigate in the group tour industry after a volcanic moment in time," Cline said. "My team and I are helping several companies find efficiencies and rebuild revenue streams they used to have by providing new products and services. I encourage everyone to look for opportunity—it's out there."

Cline emphasized how everyone in the industry must find a way to make their product or service better than before, including encouraging industry newcomers to get innovative while delivering old fashioned service.

"Look at what you do and find a way to enhance it. You might even be able to charge more money and get more business!" he said. "If that thought doesn't make you smile, get a new job. The world just changed. What you did before COVID isn't going to get you to the mountaintop."

To read more about the rest of the 2022 Influencers of Group Travel, click here.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor of Groups Today.

 

Influencers of Group Travel: Leon Burnette

Everyone has that one person in their circle; that trusted individual you can go to for informed guidance, sage advice, valuable experience and more. That person who never fails to bring fresh ideas to the table and challenges what has always been in order to build something better.

In the group travel industry, these are the leaders who have risen to the surface as folks who are always willing to try new things, bolster innovation within the industry, drive others in a positive direction, and are recognizable among group travel professionals as someone who can be relied upon.

We asked our readers to share who among their industry peers should be recognized for their efforts in this realm. Those who were selected to be among the 2022 Influencers of Group Travel were featured in a recent issue of Groups Today. Keep reading to get to know them!

 


 

Leon Burnette
CEO | Civil Rights Trail Tours
Managing Director | Tourism Pathways

For 35 years, Leon Burnette has served as a Professional Tour Director and Logistics Manager for A-list music recording artists including the Commodores, Rick James, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Quincy Jones, and more. As CEO of Civil Rights Trail Tours, Leon Burnette uses Black heritage tourism as a tool for tourism sustainability, educational opportunities, and new job creation.

In addition, Burnette is the Managing Director and Architect of the Tourism Pathways Project, a group DEI tourism initiative working with group tour operators to help make structural changes in their recruiting, hiring and overall DEI efforts. Over the next five years, The Pathways Project aims to place 300 to 500 individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds in positions throughout the industry.

"I'm a Black man, who is also a group tour professional ... I'm almost standing alone in the group travel and tourism industry," Burnette said. "It means the world to be someone the industry listens to, seeks guidance and leadership from, and to feel supported in my vision for equity and inclusion in the group travel industry. I hope to continue promoting the benefits of travel and developing a sustainable pipeline of training and career opportunities to more individuals in Black colleges and Indian Nations across America."

Burnette explains that the mission of the Tourism Pathways Project is to change the color of the group travel industry by reducing the barriers for BIPOC individuals who want to pursue careers as group tourism professionals, whether they lack money, training or representation.

When it comes to what others can do to influence their own communities and professional circles, Burnette offered some insight.

"Be committed to respecting the socio-cultural authenticity of the communities tour operators visit, and preserve and support the history, culture and economies of their communities," Burnette said.

He emphasized the importance of providing unique authentic and cultural travel experiences that contribute to intercultural understanding and tolerance, along with promoting tourism career opportunities to underserved individuals in the communities they are based in and travel to.

According to Burnette, as travel continues to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, there are several ways the industry can grow to be better.

"Group tour operators should develop a sustained and long-term commitment to create more diverse itineraries, share more diverse stories, and hire diverse voices and storytellers that can design, lead and manage their group tour experiences and packages."

To read more about the rest of the 2022 Influencers of Group Travel, click here.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor of Groups Today.

 

Cathy Stokes, CTIS: A One Woman Show on the Go

Right out of college, Cathy Stokes, CTIS, began working with seniors through her local Parks and Recreation department's adult program. Despite not having any travel experience at the time, Stokes dove right in when those in the program expressed their willingness to hit the road.

Profile Articles

© 2022 Groups Today - All Rights Reserved. Read our   Terms and Conditions