Nathan Tollett recently rejoined the sales team at the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau as director of sales, following a stint as national sales manager for The Golden Nugget hotel in Las Vegas. During his early years at the bureau, Tollett was known for orchestrating customized, quirky site visits, many of which successfully lured groups to Houston.
Tell me about your creative site visits. One of the most memorable was the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association. They were here for just three hours, which is a short time to make an impact. We dressed up in deli outfits with hats and aprons; put a sheet cake with their logo on it in a meeting room; and we even rented a cow from a petting zoo, named "Moo Baby." They asked me to ride the cow around the exhibit hall. Luckily, it had a saddle.
What do you like best about the industry? I enjoy the relationship side of the business. There are so many moving parts: the hotels, the CVB, etc. The rules change, but the relationships stay the same. I like going to a trade show and seeing the same people, perhaps working on different projects.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? I would visit the Mediterranean and tour the coastal cities. Anything by the water brings me peace of mind.
Any advice for newbies? It's OK to be different, but do it with an understanding of the customer; make sure they can relate to it.