Peter Waugh was nominated as one of the 2018 Groups Today Top 10 Next Gens by readers for making a difference in the industry. His lifelong passion for theater led him to his role as Domestic Sales Manager for Broadway Inbound, where he does all he can to make Broadway accessible and relatable to everyone.
How did you become involved in the group travel industry, and what led you to your position as Domestic Sales Manager with Broadway Inbound?
This is a story I tell frequently. I moved to New York to pursue a career as a performer. I was auditioning as often as I could and continuing to study voice and technique, but needed to have a day job to support myself. I had previous experience in food service but decided that I didn't want to pursue that lifestyle, so I found a job as a salesperson at a software company.
Over time, the grind and the heartbreak of being a performer had lost its appeal. The fun and joy of it had lessened, so I knew I had to give it up. However, I knew that I had to find something that was related to theater—which I have known and loved my whole life.
I applied to all sorts of jobs that were in the theater world and adjacent industries, and then I found a job listing with Broadway Inbound for a salesperson to handle their domestic market. I applied and was eventually hired. I already knew Broadway and sales—I just had to learn a few things about the travel industry. Luckily, the travel industry is a fun thing to learn, and full of wonderful friends and mentors.
You're an ambassador for Broadway to markets across the United States, Canada and the world. What do you love about Broadway?
I grew up attending the theater and performing in shows as often as I could—it was always part of my family, from at least my grandparents' generation. I've always enjoyed stories—don't we all?—and Broadway has told and continues to tell some of the greatest stories we've got. I love that Broadway can take a story that you already know and tell it in a new and thrilling way, adding song and dance to elevate and enhance the tale. I love that Broadway can make you consider something you may have never thought about; it can serve as a stage for new ideas and perspectives. I love that Broadway can bring you joy, make you laugh, make you feel that you belong.
Art is a powerful, unifying force and Broadway is energetic, collaborative art in every sense.
What are your top three tips for building relationships that bring countless guests to Broadway?
Engage. Listen. Participate. Anyone who knows business knows that it's all about relationships—be they with your suppliers, colleagues or clients. Anyone who knows the travel industry knows that these relationships tend to blur the lines into friendships, and what's better than working with your friends?
Engage with people whenever and wherever you can: Chat for a few minutes at a trade show, go out to dinner, go on a late-night adventure to a local tavern.
Listen to what they're saying, get to know what makes their business unique and learn what their challenges are. Once you know, you'll be best equipped to find solutions that work for both of you.
Participate however you can; volunteer, go on a tour, visit their offices, serve on a committee. Have your face keep on popping up, and you'll each have no choice but to build a rapport, build trust and build business.
What is your most prized accomplishment in your career so far?
I am very lucky: I get to sell a product that I love and care deeply about. And it may sound corny, but I feel most accomplished when I get to share that love with others. It's the best feeling when I recommend a show and someone gets the chance to see it and they report back that they loved it! I love hearing those reports and I will never tire of it. I've also been privileged to work with my own high school English teacher to bring a group of her students to come and see a play they studied. That was a special day that I'm sure meant the world to those kids, and I was very proud to have had a part in it.
How do you hope to make a difference in the travel industry?
I have served and continue to serve on a few industry committees and hope that my time there has bettered—and will continue to better—the futures of those organizations and make the industry stronger. Via the friendships that I've forged, I am confident that the future will be bright as we grow and move forward together.
I will also continue to do all I can to make Broadway accessible and relatable to everyone; there's a show out there that will speak to you in ways you never imagined—and I will help you find it!
Courtesy of Groups Today.