Lindsay Hill was nominated as one of the 2018 Groups Today Top 10 Next Gens by readers for making a difference in the industry. In her role as tourism sales manager for Destination DC, she has found a passion for helping groups of all ages expand their worlds through once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and educational experiences.
Tell us about your career. How did you become involved in the group travel industry?
I got the travel bug from my first trip to Washington, D.C., in eighth grade and a trip to Brazil when I was 14. I was in a local youth choir that traveled and performed in Brazil, New York and Japan. I continued traveling in college with service trips. Junior year of college, I switched my major to history and while flipping through the university course book, saw tourism classes. I had no idea it was an option—and ended up taking every course I could before graduating.
I pursued Heritage and Cultural Tourism in graduate school and was accepted to The George Washington University (GW). After completing, I did a few part-time jobs working for local tour companies and then three years as a conference planner back at GW. I planned continuing education events for rehabilitation counselors, many of whom had disabilities.
I then moved over to Destination DC when the coordinator position in the tourism department became available. After 2.5 years in that position, I became the tourism sales manager.
Rumor has it Destination DC is your dream job. Why?
I always strived to work in the leisure side of tourism—creating itineraries, helping people generate wonderful memories. While a student at GW, Destination DC staff would frequently present to our classes. The mission and initiatives of the organization really excited me, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it one day. When I was offered the tourism coordinator position, it felt like my world opened up. I was finally going to do it—make a difference in travelers' lives and impact the city. How much cooler could it get? I can't believe that I get to impact people in such a profound way by showcasing the city that I fell in love with so many years before and that changed my life so much.
How do you navigate relationships between vendors and tour operators?
Simply, this industry cannot survive without relationships. We are a family and need to help each other to realize the overall goal: help others fulfill their dreams. What I have learned is that no group is exactly alike. It is important to listen—truly, wholly listen. I know that there are situations where conversations are necessary to make an experience 110 percent. When I am provided with feedback, I do not simply write it off. I think about it, discuss it further, and try to find a solution. Honesty and open communication are key.
What is your most prized accomplishment in your career so far?
I have never felt that the goal was to be recognized for my achievements or my hard work. My most prized accomplishment is knowing that I am making a difference.
How do you hope to make a difference in the travel industry?
The most important aspect of travel to me is the impact it has on growing the world's understanding of each other. No matter how young you begin, a trip to an unknown area breaks down barriers through a myriad of different experiences. I hope to provide opportunities within travel for those experiences to expand and grow deeper. Travel is the simplest way to create peace, and I hope to be a conduit for that journey.
Courtesy of Groups Today.