Hosts Global Liaison Team: Chatting with Cynthia
Cynthia Lavery, Director of Global Sales calls Baltimore home. She’s passionate about her hometown, having served in the destination’s hospitality industry for over 13 years. She began working for Hosts Baltimore back in 2013 and has since grown her sales role to encompass the globe! Cynthia works with clients across a variety of industries and keeps a pulse on the trends in her various markets through her involvement and efforts in FICP, PCMA and SITE. She loved sharing her passion for our industry in this month’s global liaison blog…
Q: What do you enjoy most about your Global Liaison role?
A: As the former Director of Sales for Hosts Baltimore, I had the pleasure of selling one specific destination for many years. While I loved the experience, I’m very excited to be in my new global sales role where the world is truly my oyster. I get to learn, see and appreciate all that makes our amazing 300+ destinations unique and the facets of each location that are most attractive to our clients.
I also love the challenge of solving a client’s specific needs! Every program is a puzzle and we have the local DMC experts to solve the variables to ensure a perfect fit! It’s so satisfying to see how programs come together and client’s challenges are solved every time.
Lastly, I also get to travel to a lot of amazing places with the various events and meetings Hosts Global produces and/or participates in.
Q: What do you find most interesting about your sales focus?
A: I enjoy learning about our clients and strategic partners businesses and what makes them tick. Being exposed to their individual company cultures and what drives their brand is eye-opening. It’s also inspiring for me to see that every company, big or small, Fortune 1,000 or Fortune 100, all benefit from and yearn for the need to meet face to face, network, connect on a higher level and be rewarded.
I have had the pleasure of meeting amazing people in our industry who were introduced as clients and have since become friends; those who share my same passion for travel, for creativity and the joy of seeing a plan come together. It’s made my job so enjoyable and keeps me motivated to deal with the ups and downs of the sales world.
Q: Where do you find inspiration for innovative offerings and creative concepts that “wow” your clients?
A: Everywhere. I scour social media, LinkedIn, even Bravo shows (my guilty pleasure) for inspiration. I follow our DMC members on Facebook and Instagram to get a glimpse of the creative concepts they are producing in their destinations. My inbox is filled with every hospitality industry newsletter because it’s necessary to be in the know in all areas of our world. I constantly immerse myself in the industry by trying new restaurants to tempt the taste buds, attending as many events I am invited to, and reading as many articles as possible.
Q: What’s the advice you find yourself sharing with your clients regularly about our industry?
A: I love my job. I get to be the dedicated go-to for my clients regardless of where their event is taking place around the globe. I ensure their experience from Hosts destination to destination is seamless and I work hard to integrate a little fun.
That being said, our industry is full of high-stress and is fast-paced. Planners’ time is valuable, and we are responsible for showing our value. I believe in transparency and encourage my clients to share their budgets and critical decision factors up-front, so we know what’s most important to them and can work on making their lives easier. To us (the DMC’s), this intel is our jewel, it allows us to give the best service and find the right solutions right from the start.
Q: What are your favorite industry trends, and which would you like to see retired?
A: My favorite is anything retro and nostalgic. These trends have the ability to transport guests and allow them to connect to cherished times when life may have seemed different, easier and comforting.
Event themes are similar to fashion trends which repeat through the years but return with a fresh and new twist. Events that have stood out to me used themes like the Roaring 20’s, the 80’s and Little Havana, but somehow made it fresh and new again.
It’s not my place to say anything should be retired. Creativity is in the eye of the beholder and if a client has not done something before it’s new to their guests. One thing I do find difficult is when trends seem to take a bit of time to hit other parts of the world, so they may seem a bit outdated in the industry but new to certain destinations. Food trucks come to mind when I say that but honestly, will food trucks ever get old? A diner is still an amazing food service concept thriving decades later!
Q: What’s something that has surprised you during your hospitality career?
A: Between my time in the hotel industry and the DMC industry I’ve come to realize that the overall hospitality community is extremely tight knit despite the competitive nature of what we do in some cases. It’s an industry only those in it truly ‘get’. It’s our own little society or club, that I truly am glad I joined so long ago.
Q: Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
A: In my very first hospitality job, I was told that I was hired because of my memory since I recalled a personal story that my future boss had shared months earlier. He felt my ability to listen and connect was worth investing in and told me to never lose that trait. From this experience I realized that having the passion to get to know others would get me much further in my career than any other tool. I am grateful he pointed that out to me early on and I believe it is what makes me who I am and how I have gotten to this point in my career.
To learn more about Cynthia, visit her in Chicago, Dec 2 – 4, 2018 and Pittsburgh for PCMA: Jan 6 – 9, 2019 or contact her via email.