Season 1: Episode 4 Hotels, Hospitality & Survival Pt 1

Small business is at the heart of the Texas Economy.

We’re taking a macro look at the state of hospitality and tourism in Texas. Out-of-town tourism brings a City money that is paid in food, rented rooms, goods, services and taxes. That money generates more wealth for the City, and it requires thousands of invisible hands to put together a conference or make a flawless visit to any city. In this episode we look at the ripple effect that Covid-19 has had on the Texas tourism industry, what DMO’s are doing to pivot and what’s in store for the future of Texas travel the fate of the hospitality industry as we carry on.

Bios and business information for all the guests featured in Season 1 can be found on Find out how you can work with them and support your Texas small businesses.This episode of Emerging Texas Strong is sponsored by Texas Mutual Insurance Company, a leading worker’s comp provider in Texas, and is a production of Earnest Media. If you are interested in sponsoring a heartful podcast focused on the journey of Texas business owners for a focused market audience email,

Episode 4 Guests:

Shawna ReidVisit Bay Area Houston

Craig DavisVisit Dallas

Armando Seledon, CSEPVisit San Antonio

Shane Sorenson, Texas Travel Alliance

Bios and business information for all the guests featured in Season 1 can be found on Find out how you can work with them and support your Texas small businesses.
This episode of Emerging Texas Strong is sponsored by Texas Mutual Insurance Company, a leading worker’s comp provider in Texas, and is a production of Earnest Media.

Texas Mutual Insurance Company

If you are interested in sponsoring a heartful podcast focused on the journey of Texas business owners for a focused market audience email,

We also promised to share links to all local CVBs, DMOs and travel associations across Texas to help you find an ally for your hospitality business when you most need it!

Texas Travel AllianceThe Texas Travel Alliance is the primary advocate and voice for the Texas Travel Industry, representing a diverse membership of Texas travel destinations, accommodations, attractions, transportation and support businesses. We strive to deliver exceptional value to our members. We offer a variety of member-driven public policy initiatives, business networking opportunities, marketing programs, and educational offerings, all designed to strengthen our members and position our Industry for success today and in the future.

Visit DallasVisit Dallas markets Dallas as the ideal visitor and convention destination in Texas. Dallas celebrates its heritage in hospitality. It’s the one city where Texan meets modern and legacy meets luxury. Dallas is the leading business and financial center in the Southwest offering travelers an unparalleled array of amenities and a central location with two major airports and more domestic nonstop flights than any other U.S. city.

Visit Bay Area Houston – Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a fun-filled family vacation, the Visit Bay Area Houston website is the place to start.

Visit San Antonio – Be adventurous and visit San Antonio. A city rich in history, bursting with culture, and booming with modern attractions, San Antonio invites visitors to discover what’s old and explore what’s new. From our spectacular parks and green spaces, to festive seasonal events, to local shopping, dining and drinking. We have it all. And, we’re eager to host you.

Visit HoustonHouston First Corporation (HFC) is the official destination management/marketing organization for the city of Houston.  A local government corporation, Houston First also owns the Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel, manages the George R. Brown Convention Center as well as 10 city-owned properties, underground and surface parking for nearly 10,000 vehicles and developed the Avenida Houston entertainment and convention district. HFC’s vision and efforts enrich the lives of Houstonians in a number of ways, beginning with promoting the region as a destination for tourism and convention business. The organization also works to attract film production to the area and operates theaters where world-class performances take center stage, all while managing outdoor spaces where festivals and other activities thrive. 

Visit El Paso – Destination El Paso is organized as the parent of two branded operating divisions: Visit El Paso and El Paso Live. Visit El Paso is responsible for destination marketing for the City of El Paso and includes Convention Development and Meeting Planning Services; El Paso Film Commission; Tourism Development to include management of two Visitor Information Centers, as well as advertising and media relations. El Paso Live is responsible for venue and event management for City of El Paso-owned venues: Judson F. Williams Convention Center, Abraham Chavez Theatre, Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Centre, and McKelligon Canyon Amphitheatre & Pavilion. Each operating division is represented as a brand with its own website and social media presence.

Visit Corpus ChristiVisit Corpus Christi is a 501c6 Destination Management Organization contracted by the city of Corpus Christi with a mission to create a better community by sharing Corpus Christi with the world. The organization is primarily funded through Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) paid by visitors while staying overnight in hotels and short-term rentals. Visit Corpus Christi also has a non-profit foundation that supports the hospitality and tourism industry via education programs, raising and providing funding to individuals and businesses during times of need through the Visit CC Cares program.

Visit Irving – The official destination marketing organization for Irving, Texas, the Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau represents the city’s $1.96 billion-per-year hospitality industry community and welcomes more than three million visitors annually. Funded solely by hotel tax collections, the Irving CVB connects corporate, convention and leisure visitors to our hospitality industry partners – the city’s hotels, meeting venues, restaurants, attractions and shops, as well as attractions throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The strength of the visitor industry and the city’s hotel tax collections also provide the funding resources for the Irving Arts Center and the Preservation and Redevelopment Program.

Visit Galveston Visit Galveston is the official blog site for Galveston Island by the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau. It’s designed to provide inspiration for your next road trip, romantic getaway or vacation to Galveston Island, Texas. Learn insider tips, best-ofs, seasonal happenings, event planning and more. The full site is currently under development and will launch in Summer 2021. We promise there will be much more here to help you design the ultimate Galveston getaway. Check back often! In the meantime, we hope you find this information entertaining and educational as we share authentic experiences about Galveston Island and the people that make it awesome. 

Visit Laredo – Many things distinguish the 65,000 acres where Texas real estate begins from the other 106M that comprise this great state. Laredo is quite on the edge, located on mile marker 1 of Interstate Highway 35, on the southern U.S. border and at the beginning of a tourism experience that is as unique, as it is charming.

Visit Padre Island – Padre Island Beach is a year round beach paradise! Whether you want to escape the winter cold or hit the beach for your summer vacation, this Texas island won’t disappoint. Every age and personality can find exactly what they want and need on their tropical escape; whether that’s relaxation, fun activities, family excursions or a vibrant nightlife.

Explore Victoria – The official Facebook page for the City of Victoria, TX Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Visit AustinVisit Austin has the best job in town. We’re here to promote all of the things in Austin that people are already talking about. This city has a one-of-a-kind culture and universal appeal, and we want to make sure people know about it. Our mission is simple. 
Visit Austin is charged with marketing Austin nationally and internationally as a premier business and leisure destination, thus enriching our community’s overall quality of life.

Visit Fort WorthVisit Fort Worth is the 501c(6) marketing organization for the city’s hospitality industry. We share the Fort Worth welcome with all to enhance Fort Worth’s image, economy and quality of life through business and leisure tourism. 

Visit AmarilloThe Amarillo Convention and Visitor Council promotes a tourism experience along Interstate 40 and Interstate 27 in the Texas Panhandle that combines western heritage, Route 66 nostalgia, outdoor majesty (including the nation’s second largest canyon), an exhilarating arts community along with over 6000 hotel rooms.

Visit Fort Davis – The purpose of the Fort Davis, Texas Chamber of Commerce is to represent the Community of Fort Davis and Jeff Davis County in the Development of Goals and programs which will bring about economic stability, historic preservation and improved quality of life.

Visit Alpine – While Alpine isn’t a big city, it’s still a full-service town, offering plenty of conveniences and necessary equipment for a fun trip. Our businesses, most of which are locally owned and managed, will appreciate your patronage.

Visit Big Bend – Big Bend is home to a few remarkable communities: Marathon, Study Butte, Terlingua Ghost Town, Lajitas, and Big Bend National Park. Communities offer services, amenities, and entertainment. Accommodations run the range from convenient and comfortable to resort luxury. A variety of guided outdoor activities are available. Big Bend is a diverse region with endless possibilities for adventure and discovery.

Visit Marathon – Just 40 miles north of the entrance to Big Bend National Park lies Marathon — a quaint community that boasts a delightful climate, beautiful surroundings and friendly people. Situated in what is known as the Magnificent Marathon Basin and centrally located to many of the area’s unique attractions, Marathon hosts a range of folks — from astronomers gazing at the night sky to biking or birding enthusiasts to Big Bend hikers and explorers.

Visit Abilene – The basic mission of the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau is increase the number of guests who play, stay and return to Abilene. The Bureau supports local businesses and venues by actively encouraging individuals, event planners, and groups to discover the benefits available to them from choosing Abilene as their host destination. Whether visiting Abilene for business or pleasure, convention or competition the ACVB goal is to create and promote enjoyable, quality experiences through uncompromising customer service for our guests.

Visit Lubbock – Lubbock is bustling with events and happenings throughout the year making it a great location to get the perfect story.

Visit Midland – Midland, Texas is a warm and inviting West Texas city, conveniently located on Interstate 20, halfway between Fort Worth and El Paso. Easily accessible, it boasts Midland International Air & Space Port, serviced daily by American, Southwest, and United Airlines and is the closest airport to Big Bend National Park. This is the perfect destination to begin a West Texas road trip, a tour of the Big Bend region, host your meeting, sporting event, or family reunion.

Visit MesquiteThe Mesquite Convention and Visitors Bureau is a tourism organization under the City of Mesquite. We inspire travel to Mesquite and foster authentic experiences resulting in vocal advocates for Mesquite through utilizing new technologies and key trend insights in bringing the targeted visitor to Mesquite.

Visit San Marcos – San Marcos Convention & Visitors Bureau

Visit New Braunfels – Every year, thousands of visitors flock to this charming oasis in the Texas Hill Country. Unique shops, quiet cafes, and lively bars line our tree-shaded streets, while several fascinating museums and walking tours help keep New Braunfels history alive. Our arts scene thrives with galleries, studios, concerts, and plays.

Visit Fredricksburg – The Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor Bureau is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit corporation funded by lodging tax collected by the City of Fredericksburg and Gillespie County. The organization is governed by a 13-member board of directors representing the local hospitality industry and is headquartered at 302 East Austin Street. In addition to its marketing and sales activities, the Convention and Visitor Bureau also operates the Fredericksburg Visitor Information Center, located at the same address.

Visit Port A – Port Aransas also means business. We are your one-stop business information point if you are looking at expanding or just starting up in Port Aransas and Mustang Island. With over 5 million visitors a year and 4,000 local citizens, we are a thriving coastal community with great opportunities. Contact us and let’s get started!

Visit Waco – The Waco Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) was established in 1983. It is a department of the City of Waco, Texas, a municipal corporation. The CVB is responsible for marketing Waco and its partner cities in the county as a destination. The CVB also manages the Waco Convention Center and the Waco Tourist Information Center. The CVB has an Advisory Commission, appointed by the Waco City Council.

Visit Sugar LandVisit Sugar Land is the official destination marketing organization for the City of Sugar Land. The team actively markets Sugar Land, Texas as a tourism destination, sells to meetings, and is responsible for increasing economic prosperity for Sugar Land, its residents and marketing partners.

Visit PearlandThe Convention & Visitors Bureau in Pearland is a division within the City Of Pearland, City Manager’s Office. The role of the Convention & Visitors Bureau is to promote and coordinate tourist related activity within the City of Pearland. To accomplish this mission, the Convention & Visitors Bureau will be responsible for the promotion of hotel rooms and convention attendance within the City; will work with tourist related organizations within the City to coordinate marketing, advertising, promotion and programming; will work with State and regional organizations which are responsible for the promotion of the region, and finally will work to coordinate activities within City Government which directly or indirectly impact tourism.

Visit Kerrville – Kerrville is in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, 60 miles NW of San Antonio on I-10. Visit our CVB for maps, brochures and surrounding area information.

Visit Boerne -The Boerne Convention and Visitors Bureau is committed to sharing the Boerne experience, resulting in an increase in hotel revenues and positively impacting the local economy.

Visit Gonzales – Gonzales holds a unique place in Texas history as the site of the firing of the first shot for Texas independence. October 2, 1835 eighteen townsmen stood on the bank of the Guadalupe River and refused to give up their small cannon to the Mexican Army. A flag was fashioned showing a black replica of the cannon on a white background with words that would echo through the years, “Come and Take it.”

Visit Cuero – Thank you for your interest in Cuero, Texas! Cuero has a long and rich history that has greatly contributed to our present vitality, warmth, and success. We are a logical choice for anyone wishing to relocate to beautiful wide open spaces where immediately you’ll feel a sense of belonging!

Beaumont CVB – As the official Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), our mission is to promote and market Beaumont, Texas as a premier visitor and convention meeting destination for the purpose of positively affecting the city’s economy.

Visit Texarkana – The Texarkana USA Regional Chamber of Commerce is a partnership of businesses, organizations, and professionals working together to build a healthy economy and improve the quality of life in a community. To accomplish these goals we are active in many roles including economic developer, community planner, tourism hospitality and resource, business spokesperson, economic counselor and teacher, government relations specialist, human resources adviser, and public relations practitioner.

Discover Denton – Conveniently located at the intersection of I-35 East and West, Denton is just a quick drive from Dallas-Fort Worth. Home to one of America’s best Main Streets,we invite you to come see why we are one of the best small towns in Texas.

Visit Plano – Named one of the “happiest places in the country”, Plano is located just a few miles north of Dallas and is ready to welcome you! 

Visit Grand Prairie – Free tourist information and assistance are waiting for you at the Teri Jackson Tourist Information Center and Texas Gift Shop. Travel counselors are available to assist with directions, lodging, attractions and any other questions regarding the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

Experience Liberty Hill – Want to experience everything Liberty Hill has to offer? This site will help you find all of the information you need to keep up-to-date with Liberty Hill’s events and discover new things to love about Liberty Hill!

Visit Frisco – Frisco, Texas, offers fun for the whole family in a safe, affordable and unique setting. Located just 25 minutes north of downtown Dallas, Frisco is a convenient 20 drive minute from both Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field Airport.

Visit College Station – Our mission is to enhance economic growth through the marketing and promotion of the College Station area as a premier destination experience. 

Visit Tyler – Creating rosy experiences.

Visit Killeen – Killeen, TX – located in Bell County – has grown in multitudes of people from all over the world, thanks to Fort Hood. With the addition of the University of Central Texas A&M, Central Texas College, and homes being built at a rapid rate, Killeen is becoming one of the fastest growing cities in America. As the population grows, new businesses are pouring in. Killeen is known as the neighbor of Fort Hood. The Killeen economy is heavily dependent on the Fort Hood post, soldiers and their families. We have a strong talent pool with U.S. Army veterans, an accessible community college, and a stand-alone, state-supported university. American values are strong here. At one time, Elvis himself was stationed at Fort Hood and lived in Killeen.

Visit Brownsville – Brownsville is a thriving city, rooted in a rich Hispanic culture. We are Texas’ southernmost city located in the tropical zone on the Rio Grande River and the Gulf of Mexico. While we celebrate our rich history and unique environment, we look to the future.

Go Round Rock
Stop by the downtown Round Rock Visitors Center for information on events, must see attractions, shopping, lodging and dining options. Our knowledgeable staff is ready to help you find local favorites and ensure a great stay!

Texas Association of Convention & Visitors Bueaus – Our mission is to support our member organizations by providing exemplary destination marketing education and advocacy. We provide seminars and conferences to train and develop DMO professionals, creative destination marketing strategies to stimulate and motivate your sales team, and industry trend analyses to inform your decision making. TACVB provides its members with peer-to-peer idea exchanges, tips on increasing your reach through new technology and tools to meet the changing demands of meeting planners and tourists to our great state of Texas. TACVB = the competitive edge in destination marketing.

Texas Hotel & Lodging Association – Our mission is simple: THLA advocates for legislation, regulations, resources, and a business climate that will promote a strong, vibrant, and growing lodging and tourism industry within Texas. Our goals both current and historic are to promote the resources and ability of the lodging industry operators to be successful.

Texas Association of Business – The Texas Association of Business is the voice of Texas Business. TXBIZ influences policy development and drives legislative decisions in Texas and Washington D.C. advocating for members’ bottom line. TXBIZ represents companies of all sizes and industry sectors. They, along with our 200 local chamber partners employ thousands of Texans and produce $8 billion annually in business.

Texas Downtown Association – Founded in 1985, the Texas Downtown Association is the only statewide organization dedicated to downtown. We are member driven and member supported. We’re here to learn, share ideas, and connect with people, businesses, cities, and organizations who want to strengthen their downtowns.

Texas Costal Bend Tourism Association – The purpose of the Texas Costal Bend is to promote tourism in the South Texas Coastal Bend region.

Meeting Planners International Texas Hill Country Chapter – Serving Austin, San Antonio and other Central Texas cities, MPI Texas Hill Country was chartered in 1983 and is home to more than 300 members. The chapter hosts two annual conferences and numerous networking events each year, giving its members exceptional opportunities to build and enhance their resumes as meeting professionals. When you join MPI Texas Hill Country, you become part of an organization dedicated to your personal and career success. You’ll connect with the innovative learning, passionate people and big ideas that will empower you to become an agent of change and reinvent the world.

Episode 4 Transcript:

Texas Mutual Co…: 00:00 Support for the emerging Texas strong podcast comes from Texas Mutual Insurance Company, a Workers’ Comp provider committed to helping companies build a stronger, safer Texas.

Host, Linsey Li…: 00:11 On this episode of emerging Texas strong

Shawna Reid, Vi…: 00:13 In Bay Area Houston we’ve got nature. We were a birding destination. We’ve started to look into capturing those tourists that are coming into town, or then even our locals who might not realize that it’s spring migration. We have over a million birds fly over through our skies each day. That’s a lot of birds. That’s great for people who…

Linsey Lindberg…: 00:33 We’ve all picked so many weird hobbies! I have never been a bird person before, but I recently bought one of those laminated bird identification guides, and I’m very proud of it. And I get it out every once in a while. And I go, Oh, that is this kind of swallow.

Shawna Reid, Vi…: 00:51 Yeah. Yeah.

New Speaker: 00:52 I know this now!

Shawna Reid, Vi…: 00:53 It’s quite amusing. Actually

Host, Linsey Li…: 00:55 Welcome back to Emerging Texas Strong, a growing collection of stories, lessons, and advice from small business owners in Texas, working hard to survive this pandemic economy. We follow a collection of businesses and weave their stories together. As we navigate a full season of big picture topics like cultivating resiliency, why 2021 is the time to lean into trade associations and opportunities for future growth. Episode 4 is Hotels, Hospitality, and Survival. This episode is so big that I had to split it into two parts. In part one, we’ll start with a macro look at the state of hospitality and tourism. By first speaking with DMO and travel alliances across Texas DMO stands for destination marketing organization and almost every large Texas city has one

Shawna Reid, Vi…: 01:44 Good afternoon. I’m Shauna Reed with Visit Bay Area Houston. Visit Bay Area Houston is a regional DMO located just outside of Houston. We represent the four cities of Kemah, League City, Seabrook and Nassau Bay.

Linsey Lindberg…: 01:57 Can you just say what a DMO is? What does that stand for, please?

Shawna Reid, Vi…: 02:01 Yeah, so a DMO is a Destination Marketing Organization or in some other places, it can be a Destination Management Organization. It’s about bringing everyone together and promoting our destination as a place that locals and visitors alike would like to visit.

Craig Davis, Vi…: 02:18 My name is Craig Davis. I’m president and CEO of Visit Dallas. Visit Dallas is responsible for bringing tourism and economic development through visitation, bringing conventions and visitors into the city of balance in 2019. And before we brought an average of 27.7 million people a year to visit Dallas, we do a hundred miles circle outside of Dallas and really concentrate on bringing everybody outside in because our job is really to bring visitation through hotel rooms. So for us, success is somebody that comes in, stays in a hotel and spends their money on attractions and using services. And paying for services within Dallas, that economic development in a pre-pandemic year is about an $8 billion industry for Dallas. One of the largest industries in our city.

Armando Seledon…: 03:12 Hi, I’m Armando Saladon, I’m a destination experience manager. I love what I do and my job is to show them the experience. So I like to take them into different nooks of the city, like Southtown or The Pearl, or, you know, a little taqueria in the West Side or something like that. And I like to really show them that. I think, for my part of the hospitality industry, I think just showcasing that experience of it all is my favorite part. So Visit San Antonio is the marketing arm for the city. We promote tourism travel convention, conference service business to come to San Antonio so that we can gain more business for the city.

Linsey Lindberg…: 03:47 You have an awesome job, lucky.

Host, Linsey Li…: 03:51 They are the people in charge of bringing tourism to our cities. And I absolutely love that there is an entity whose job it is to shout it from the rooftops, how great our wonderful Texas cities are. But more than that, right now, these groups are the ones looking at the big picture and planning for what Marcel Brunel, our business coach from Episode 3, called the next right thing. One big example of this is our new friend and advocate from the Texas Travel Alliance, Shane Sorenson.

Shane Sorenson,…: 04:21 Hi, I’m Shane Sorenson, director of loyalty and business development for the Texas Travel Alliance. We focus on providing professional development and advocacy efforts for the entire industry in Texas. The Texas travel Alliance has been working to grow and strengthen travel in Texas for well over 30 years. So just now that the legislature has just now started reconvening. We are advocating with a number of legislators to help create some sort of relief program. We know the travel industry has been hit the hardest among everybody. And so we know it’s going to be a while before people feel confident traveling again. And so we have to find a way to support all the small businesses. And it’s roughly 60,000 small businesses in Texas that make up part of the travel industry. And so we have to find a way to support them so that when travel does return, that they’re ready, they’re ready to welcome those visitors back.

Host, Linsey Li…: 05:10 One of the reasons it feels imperative to do an episode like this is because it takes thousands of hands to put together a conference or make a flawless visit to any city. And that’s the thing. If we do our job really well, it’s invisible and people don’t realize the ripple effect. It has in so many directions out of town. Tourism brings a city money that is paid in food, rented rooms, goods, services, and taxes. That money generates more wealth for the city. One great trip paves the way for more.

Craig Davis, Vi…: 05:42 Well, the whole essence of bringing tourism and visitation in is, is to have people come in from the outside and buy our goods and services. So without tourism, our restaurants will not survive. And that has been actually the case. Right now. You see, in this current pandemic, tourism has dropped dramatically and our restaurants can’t survive alone on our local citizenry. They need to have that outside influence and tourism brings in money that people don’t understand. It flows all the way up and down the chain here in Dallas, in every other area. And by definition, they’re paying taxes on our behalf because every kinds action they’re paying for paying local and state taxes. So the goods and services supplied in Dallas by visitation is about $500 per family. And so they, by definition get to $500 worth of goods and services donated to them by people that don’t live here. And it’s a tough thing to, to, for people to understand, because most people don’t know that somebody is a visitor, unless they’re wearing that land here that says, “Hi, my name is Craig and I’m with this association” or that kind of thing. But for the most part, we bring in millions of visitors every year that are buying our goods and services and are keeping our businesses alive.

Linsey Lindberg…: 06:57 I think it’s important to point out that it is such a trickle down effect too, because what that essentially does is it’s promising future years of business of people who are not from San Antonio, spending their money in San Antonio, absolutely that’s money that is used for tax purposes that is not paid for by the local tax population, correct.

Armando Seledon…: 07:21 It’s, it’s kind of a tourism funding tourism. The fact that it was a dead halt because of coronavirus, it was scary to see. And I seen hotels operating at five to 10% occupancy and it’s intense and they’re down to 10% staffing because they can’t afford to have people right now. So it’s, it’s a big thing. Another ripple effect is just what happens to the invisible labor force. When there’s a sudden cut to the jobs that happened behind the scenes.

Host, Linsey Li…: 07:54 These are the people you don’t think about a full hotel staff isn’t needed at 10% occupancy. The people who load the sound and lighting equipment into the convention centers leave their equipment on the shelf. Restaurants and catering companies have no one to feed airport. Shuttle buses are parked museums and amusement parks. They’re doing their best to survive while DJ’s venues, rentals, planners and photographers are all trying to make, do with a few weddings that are still happening. These are the locals with jobs that are dependent on a thriving tourism and hospitality industry. In the most recent jobs report, most cities have said they’ve regained all their jobs, lost it in the pandemic, except for the restaurant live entertainment, tourism and hospitality industry. Well friends that’s a lot

Craig Davis, Vi…: 08:46 During COVID. It was estimated that the, by far, the greatest percentage of job loss came from the hospitality industry. So if we didn’t know what hospitality brought to this community into this economy, as we know it, now, the reality is, is that tourism doesn’t really get the respect. It deserves amongst government, uh, and because it is effortless that people come in and they just expect that that happens in the background, but it’s not like manufacturing jobs. They can say, you know, we manufacture widgets out of this city. Hospitality takes part in every city in the background, and there are so many jobs that are connected directly with it and connected indirectly with it. Every restaurant is part of this, every hotel, every attraction, every amusement park, they’re all part of this, this micro system of, of, uh, an interconnected group of people that, that serve. And in many cases, you know, this is probably one of the largest, if not the largest growing economy in the world is, is tourism because people now have more money to spend, um, they’re living longer and they have that ability to go and see the world. So this will continue to become a more important industry as we go along. And I hope that when the book is written on COVID, that people will realize just how incredibly important this economy is to the overall spend in the world.

Shawna Reid, Vi…: 10:20 People coming in and staying in an area, it generates much more than, than hotel occupancy tax, as you said, and there’s the sales tax revenues that come in from people, you know, buying gas even, or whatever, there’s sales tax, there’s mixed beverage tax from our restaurants and bars. There’s, there’s a lot of different revenue generators caused by people coming in and visiting an area.

Shane Sorenson,…: 10:43 I think something fun, worth pointing out is, um, there was a survey done recently about savings. People have not been traveling they’ve half the time not being commuting to and from work. And so some of them haven’t even been sending their kids to physical school. And so they’re not giving their kids lunch money. And that sort of thing, a fun metric that I saw lately was that in a typical pre pandemic month, an American household would save, uh, six to 8% of their income in savings. That number has spiked to almost 12.9 to 13% is the average monthly savings now. And if you look at America as a whole, that’s a trillion dollars in pent up money that we’re going to see people spend at some point. And so that’s why I encourage people to just, if you’re, if you’re at the end of your rope, the, the old saying, tie a knot and hold on a little bit longer, because there is a pent up demand. And we believe that we’re going to see that as soon as restrictions lighten up. And I believe when people start traveling again, they’ve got a little bit more disposable income that they’ll be able to throw at you and throw at your destination to really experience it in different ways. So now’s not the time to stop marketing. Now’s not the time to be quiet. And now’s the time to market in new and different and exciting ways. Get your voice out there and make sure people are aware of that. You exist because when it’s time to travel again, and as people start getting out there again, they’ve got a little extra money in their wallet to spend with you.

Craig Davis, Vi…: 12:18 Another thing that visit Dallas did to pave the way for return of travel was to be the first city to work with the Global Bio-risk Accreditation Association, to make sure that our buildings were, were certified as being clean GBAC, Global Bio-risk Accreditation Association are the first people that we knew of that could give us cleanliness seal of approval. So Dallas did a deal through our hotel association to provide scholarships for hotels, to go through the process, to get that accreditation, not only that, but both of our airports, DFW and love field are accredited. We have 50 hotels that are either finished with the accreditation or are on their way of getting that accreditation. And then 60 or 70 additional museums, public buildings from the city. Um, they have also been accredited. So when it’s time to travel, and that is a very big thing. People want it to make sure that they’re going to be safe. Another thing that we did is once the pandemic hit and we realized that people were not going to get into a plane. Anytime soon, people we knew would get into their cars to go and visit a destination. And it is our job to make sure that when people are wanting to travel, they’re going to know that Dallas is on their list.

Armando Seledon…: 13:39 Businesses go through and seeing how many people have pivoted and whatnot. The resilience in this industry is, is insane right now.

Texas Mutual Co…: 13:48 Support for this program comes from Texas Mutual Insurance Company, a safety-focused Workers’ Comp Provider, supplying information and resources that can help Texas employers stop accidents before they happen more at

Host, Linsey Li…: 14:05 And now back to our show. But, my favorite business minded Texans, as you know, our state is resilient. One of the things I found by talking to people is how many silver linings and resources are available. If you commit to seeing things with fresh creative eyes. One thing though that I’m finding really exciting is realizing that a lot of States only revolve around one major city, maybe two, but in Texas, we’re really unique and special. I mean, like in so many different ways, but for this reason, because we have at least five major metropolitan areas, we have tons of secondary cities that are wonderful travel destinations on their own. And we have all these really cool niche, small towns that are definitely road trip worthy. We’re seeing a refocus on the natural beauty of our state of the opportunities for day travel backyard tourism in Texas, where we have ranch land, camping, lakes, oceans, coastlines, wildlife mountains, vineyards, caves, hot springs, and so much more all just a few hours drive from home

Shane Sorenson,…: 15:16 Right now, majority of the trips being booked are within that 80 mile range. Um, believe it or not, they’re day trips, they’re weekend getaways. Um, we’re not seeing a lot of interstate travel. We’re not seeing a lot of international travel. In fact, um, the latest report that I saw said that it may be 20, 24 before international travel comes back to the level. It was even in 2019. So international travel is going to be something that we’re going to have to rebuild over time. But if we can focus on reaching those people in our backyard, reaching those people within a two hour, three hour window away from where our businesses are at, then we’ve got a really good chance of really growing our own, our own local following.

Host, Linsey Li…: 16:01 Shawna Reed, visit Bay area, Houston,

Shawna Reid, Vi…: 16:03 Texas is so lucky to have such a diverse landscape, a diverse population. You know, there’s so much to see and do around this entire state. And you know, where else can you say it takes you 12 hours to drive from one corner of the state to another. We have so much to offer from mountains and canyons to the Prairie, to the beaches. A lot of folks don’t think of Texas as having water and beaches. And, you know, we have a pretty large coastline and being in Bay area Houston, we represent a lot of that coastline and they area Houston. We we’ve got nature. We were a birding destination. You might not realize that we have, you know, during the spring migration, we have over a million birds fly over through our skies each day. That’s a lot of birds.

Host, Linsey Li…: 16:50 Shane Sorenson, Texas Travel Alliance.

Shane Sorenson,…: 16:54 I think Texas, we, we are very lucky that we have so many different cultural assets. We have regional assets, we have nature assets. Um, if someone wanted that West Texas experience or that desert experience, we have that we have the Big Bend, we have mountains, we have the plains, we have wine country and Texas is one of the fastest growing wine countries in the world. And we have the beaches. We have the forest of East, Texas. We have the Hill Country. And so there is something for everyone. And, and one of the things that I’ve seen really pop up as a, as a new trend kind of along this, this line is the idea of a work-cation or a school-cation, because so many people can work remotely or attend school. Remotely beach destinations are really popular right now because they’re cheap during the week. And well, I can work all day long on my computer and then go put my foot in the water at the end of the day. And that’s kind of a cool thing that Texas has that not a lot of other places have. So we’re very lucky that we can depend on our own citizens, our own residents, the people right there in our backyard to really help get us through this pandemic.

Shawna Reid, Vi…: 18:05 You know, a lot of people are working from home or they’re able to do a work-cation, you know, where they can take their family with them. If kids aren’t in school someplace. And you know, they’re, they’re doing virtual schools to a lot of places. So we’ve seen an uptick in folks using our short term rentals and coming down and renting them rather than for one or two nights, they’ll stay for a week. And because we’ve got the wifi, they can do everything. They can socially distance. They can still, it still feels something different. They’re not looking at the same four walls all day, every day. So that’s what we’ve seen. We’ve seen in Bay Area Houston. We’ve definitely seen an uptick in people doing kind of a work-cation and some of our hotels have even capitalized on that also. So even for our locals that might be working from home, they can, they can rent a room for a day and work there from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Use the wifi just to get out of the house. Maybe they’ve got kiddos at home and they’ve got a big call or something; pivot don’t panic.

Shane Sorenson,…: 19:01 Some of the really cool things that I’ve seen come out of. This has been Galveston. For example, they have these historic homes and mansions, and they were able to schedule these virtual tours. They realized that noone can come and visit them in person. And so they scheduled virtual tours and I never got to experience any of that in person. It was always one of those things that I’ll get to that one day. Well, I got the chance to do that and got the chance to participate on one of those virtual tours. I’ve seen a number of things like that. I’ve, I’ve seen hiking trips where someone has a camera attached to, to their chest or to their forehead. And they’re, they’re showing a new hiking trail that they’ve discovered, or it’s just really incredible how we’ve been able to virtually travel in a way. And it kind of satisfies that desire to travel a little bit when you can’t leave the house or leave locked down. But it’s, there’s been a lot of new things like that that I perhaps wouldn’t have experienced otherwise. But now I want to experience those in person now that I’ve gotten to see them virtually, I want to go do that in person.

Host, Linsey Li…: 20:03 That actually is really exciting because I think, you know, with, um, a hyper-local, uh, food movement with shop local, with all of those things, this really piggybacks on that, and it’s a beautiful way to help small businesses survive to serve a Texas community. And that’s really kind of what this is all about, right?

Shane Sorenson,…: 20:27 I think of places like Schulenberg Texas, for example, it’s this small town between Houston and San Antonio on interstate 10, and they have these amazing painted churches all around town and kind of in, in the country area surrounding them, where decades ago, the immigrants that came over, they didn’t have the resources to build these massive cathedrals, like what you would see in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, but they had the artistry. And so they would build these very simple country churches that are painted like cathedrals in Europe. And it’s fascinating to attend them and go and tour them. So places like that are things that people are discovering. They’re realizing there’s so much more here than just the, the cowboy culture that is made popular on TV.

Host, Linsey Li…: 21:16 To me, it’s important to get everyone in here. This is a big bus and we have room for all of Texas, and I’m really excited to make sure that we’re celebrating and encouraging people to explore and travel to all the places in our own backyard so that we can stand by one another, eat lots of barbecue, take selfies in some unexpected and unexplored, Lonestar towns and ensure that we all emerge Texas strong.

Shane Sorenson,…: 21:45 In the next 10 years, we’re going to see a lot of growth in Texas. I mean, look at the last 10 years, the amount of people who have relocated to Texas has changed the landscape of business, of leisure, of travel as a whole in Texas. And so looking forward to the next 10 years, we’re working with our state legislators, um, to support travel friendly legislation, to make sure that Texas is at the forefront of people’s minds, whenever they’re looking for travel destinations. Um, and we will continue as an industry to push out as many resources as we can to, to let people know what those trends are. As we, as we see them happening,

Host, Linsey Li…: 22:21 Craig Davis visit Dallas.

Craig Davis, Vi…: 22:25 And, um, in many cases for, for most of us, you’re not going to make a decision to relocate into a city unless you first visit there. So that visit is essentially the first date to future decisions. A lot of people come here on a visit and they decide that they want to relocate here, or they want it. They want to build a business here. So without that visit that the rest is lost. So it’s, it’s important for everybody to understand that that visit is so crucial to the rest of somebody’s decision-making process. I would not have relocated to Dallas if I hadn’t been here before and seeing the city and love the city. So it is so crucial that people understand what we do.

Shane Sorenson,…: 23:08 We’ve seen a lot of interesting things, um, with visitors coming from out of state that decide, Oh, this place is better than I thought it was. They’ve they’ve got everything that I would have had to go to five different States back home to experience. They’ve got it all right here within two hours. And so we’ve seen a lot of the visitor experience convert into this is a place that I’d like to move my business. This is a place where I’d like to move my family. And so we’re seeing really major shifts a lot in the major Metro areas of Texas. I have a friend who’s a local real estate agent and he got a and 50 offers on a house before it ever hit the market. And he had his first showing and, um, a friend of mine here in the Austin area, her neighbor’s house went on the market. It was 900 square feet built in the sixties and went for over $340,000 because they were going to tear it down and build a new home on the lot. And they just wanted the dirt. So we’re seeing a major shift of people from States with a higher cost of living that are wanting to really maximize their income. And they think Texas is cheap. And so they’re moving here and they’re building their homes here. And in some cases they’re buying two or three homes and they have the vacation home on the beach and they have their main home, wherever that might be because they’re trying to capitalize on the quality of life that that Texas has to offer that maybe they’re not getting where they’re at.

Host, Linsey Li…: 24:38 And because I thought it was important. I asked Shane from Texas travel Alliance, what advice and events he has coming up for hospitality businesses in the coming months who want to be active in lean-in right now,

Shane Sorenson,…: 24:49 We have a number of programs that we do throughout the year. One of them is actually, we’re going to return to an in-person event, uh, this April, where we invite our legislators to join us. But it’ll be a two day conference focusing on advocacy and how to do that locally with the resources that you have and then how to advocate for yourself and for the industry on a statewide level. And then we will invite our legislators to come face-to-face with us. Everything will be safe and socially distance, of course. Um, but we will invite our legislators there so they can hear our voice and have that conversation with us face to face. Um, so that’s one of our events coming up this April 26 through 28th in Austin, and then every fall we do a conference that is really a culmination of everything that has happened throughout the year. We invite voices from the entire travel industry. So we have people that are small business owners. We have, uh, attractions and theme parks, like Six Flags and Sea Wprld, um, industry leaders from destination marketing organizations representing the big cities like Dallas and Houston and Austin and San Antonio all the way down to, um, small communities like dripping Springs and like Seguin and, and, and port Aransas and such for really representing the entire industry around the state. And, and we talk about the trends that we’ve seen that year and where we go from here looking forward. And so that’s a great way to start planning for what next year holds. And so we do that conference every fall. It’ll be an Amarillo this year in September.

Host, Linsey Li…: 26:24 Thank you for joining us on this episode of emerging Texas strong. Let’s take a second and review a few of the things that might be useful to you from this episode. Number one, a DMO stands for a destination marketing organization and your area probably has one reach out and find out they can help. I’ve included links to all Texas DMOs CVBs and the Texas Travel Alliance in today’s show notes on our website, emerging Texas Number two, the hospitality and tourism industry has a multiplier effect, not just on the number of annual tourists in your city, but in the micro system of jobs, economic drivers, and the non-local tax base and all that spending money that works its way into the economy. Thanks to those. Out-of-towners looking for directions and advice on tacos and barbecue. Number three, backyard tourism, working vacations, nature, escapism, it’s all big right now. Make sure you’re tapping into these markets and make the local destination tourism count in 2021. Number four GBAC the Global Bio Risk Accreditation Association, cleanliness seal of approval is one big step that Dallas took to boost, travel confidence for their visitors, look into it and see if it’s a good fit for your business. And five, the future looks bright in Texas friends. So if you feel like you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on, come back for part two. As we dive back into the topic of hotels, hospitality, and survival, but from a micro perspective, and we’ll talk with industry business owners across the state podcast, production interviews, edits, sound design, and office snacks for the emerging Texas strong podcast are done by Linsey Lindberg. If you want to connect with the guests in today’s show or find out more about the advocacy training conference in April, put on by Shane Sorenson and the Texas travel Alliance, bios and business information for all guests featured in season one can be found on Find out how you can work with them and support your Texas small businesses to share the hope, the journey, the struggles, and the advice. Be sure to follow, like rate and subscribe to emerging Texas strong on the web so that you can always have the latest episode directly to your phone. And if you’re enjoying the show and you want to show us some love, leave a five-star review, it will totally help more people find us. Follow us on Facebook at emerging Texas strong or Twitter at Texas strong pod, where I’ll be sharing some special treats from this episode like Bay area, Houston’s bird migration dates and information on how some of our Monda celadons favorite taquerias over in the West side of San Antonio, a link to Galveston’s virtual mansion’s tour and the amazing painted churches in Schulenberg Texas all mentioned in today’s show. And if you’d like to be interviewed, please reach out Emerging Texas strong is a production of Earnest Media. If you’re interested in sponsoring a heartful focused on the journey of Texas business owners for a focused market audience, we would love that email Remember, you’ve got a friend somewhere in Texas, who’s rooting for you. I’m your host Linsey Lindberg. Join us next time. For more stories of Texas small business on Emerging Texas Strong≥.

Texas Mutual Co…: 30:05 Support for the Emerging Texas Strong podcast comes from Texas Mutual Insurance Company. A workers’ comp provider committed to helping companies build a stronger, safer Texas.

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