Home base: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Years in the travel industry: 18
As TourismSolved's production manager, Susan works closely with all our teams to manage the delivery of client-focused online marketing and technology solutions. In other words, Susan is the glue to our operations: She manages all project development to ensure our team achieves quality work on time and within budget expectations.
Over the last 18 years, Susan has worked for Hertz, Dollar Rent A Car, Thrifty Car Rental, and TripAdvisor. She's stayed in the travel industry because she loves how travel can transform us as people. "I believe everyone should travel as often as possible. Getting outside of your little world is the most important thing we can do as global citizens. Travel has never been as accessible as it is today and there is no excuse (aside from Covid-19!) not to get out there and experience the world."
Susan and her family travel whenever they get the chance. While she loved visiting Mosel, Germany, and standing before the Pont du Gard in France, there's one place that will always be her favorite. "Hawaii has my heart," she says.
Learn more about Susan
What is a favorite memory of a tour experience you’ve taken?
I took a day tour of Maui years ago. It was memorable because our tour driver decided that we should go off-roading to make the full circle around the island…mind you there was no road that allowed for that at the time. Off-roading in a 15-passenger van is not something one would normally do, but we survived. It was definitely an adventure!
What’s been a big learning moment in your career?
I've had a lot of success with "thinking outside of the box" moments in my travel career. I was lucky enough to be in travel when the internet started to become popular (yes, I am a dinosaur who can still use GDS systems). It's not being afraid to decide to use new technology to bring your company a new portion of business that has taught me the most. Stepping outside of your comfort zone can bring big rewards.
What’s one of your proudest accomplishments in your career?
Being a part of a team at one of my former places of employment that talked one of the largest OTAs into creating a direct connection with us rather than having to utilize a GDS. That saved us a lot of money and allowed us to get real time inventory in their hands. We were the first in our industry to accomplish that. It paved the way for change.
How do you see travel changing over time? What’s exciting about these potential changes?
I think a change I would like to see is travelers and travel providers respecting each other and the process. I think travelers, well Americans at least, have become very entitled and almost selfish when it comes to travel. From people getting angry over lines at the airport, to treating travel employees and fellow travelers rudely...I hope that changes. Travel is supposed to be fun and exciting. Not stressful and unpleasant. I hope people learn to find the joy in the journey again.
What 3 things can every tour operator do to make their experience enjoyable for travelers?
1. Offer exceptional communication. Nothing worse than having a question and no one to answer it.
2. Hire guides that love their jobs. There is a big difference between those that do and those that don't....and trust me, your customer can tell the difference immediately.
3. Remember that your experience will be a part of a lifelong memory. The customer trusts you with that memory...respect that.
When you’re not working, where can we find you?
When I'm not working, and not on vacation, you can find me with my husband, Alan. We're either planning our next travel adventure, looking for the perfect cup of coffee, or cruising around on stand-up paddleboards.
What's something surprising people might not know about you?
I’m a landlocked mermaid. I love palm trees, sand, and saltwater. I dream of living in a place where I can experience all three regularly. Until that day, I'll just travel there.