Influencers of Group Travel: Greg Dotson
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!
Manager, Group Sales | Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
An experienced sales and marketing professional, Greg Dotson is passionate about the arts and bringing that magic to groups of all kinds. He has served in many different roles throughout his career, including valuable experiences in multiple areas of the tour & travel industry, which have led him to where he is today at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
"Before arriving at the arts center, I spent many years as a cast member at Walt Disney World, performing and managing shows in the theme parks and beyond," Dotson said. "I gained experience as a student tour operator planning group travel at Kaleidoscope Adventures. I represented attractions throughout North America as the National Sales Manager for Merlin Entertainments. And, most recently, found more ways to culture as a third-party ticket reseller with Tiqets."
We asked Dotson how it felt to be someone folks in the industry could turn to for guidance and reassurance.
"It makes me feel great—it makes me feel like I have gained their confidence over the years, and I think a lot of that comes from the experience that I've had in all the different categories of the group travel industry," Dotson explained, noting that he's able to pull from his diverse experiences to inform his position with the Dr. Phillips Center. "It means the world to me that people feel comfortable reaching out to me for any type of guidance regarding group travel."
Dotson sees the immense value in volunteering and community involvement, demonstrated by his service on the Board of Directors for SYTA and on the Foundation for Orange County Public Schools (OCPS), where he helps produce the single largest fundraiser for the arts and raises money to support students experiencing homelessness and poverty within the district.
"Social media and staying connected online is a simple way those in our industry can influence others in their own communities and circles," said Dotson, emphasizing the focus on positivity—not negativity. "We must learn to communicate in ways that are different than we did before, continue evolving and growing as the industry does. The group travel industry is getting younger and younger, so it's vital we learn to market to audiences in the way they'll understand and appreciate the information."
Dotson also believes that any opportunity you can find to volunteer is a valuable way to give back to the community.
"I will often volunteer at industry trade shows in New Member Orientation to answer questions and to make them feel more comfortable," he said.
When it comes to the future, Dotson says the industry at large must continue to educate others about the importance, value and necessity of group travel.
"A degree in hospitality is only valuable when you can apply your knowledge to industry experience," he said. "There is coursework available through the Student & Youth Travel Association where you can learn the essentials of student travel and the American Bus Association is regularly updating and sharing industry tips that can be applied to any type of business."
Dotson hopes to continue influencing the group travel sphere through education.
"When I first started at the Dr. Phillips Center, and similar to when I've worked at other places, I spent time talking to our front of house colleagues—our guest services representatives, security, valet parking—to give them an understanding of what my role is, what my needs are and how we can help each other," Dotson said. "I encourage those in our industry to spend time doing that because that will not only help others understand the importance and value of group sales, but also continue building relationships and trust within your company which is essential to growing within your role."
To read more about the rest of the 2022 Influencers of Group Travel, click here.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.