Gary Hernbroth spent 17 successful and colorful years in the luxury hotel business in sales and operations leadership, including stints with Westin, Fairmont and Park Lane Hotels. It was there, especially in Northern California where he lives now, that Hernbroth discovered the power of sports-related travel at a time when it took some convincing to explain the potential benefits of the market. Hernbroth did this in part by attracting professional sports teams to stay at his properties when they were in the Bay Area to play the region’s professional teams. But once team travel secretaries began telling their counterparts about the services Hernbroth’s hotels could provide, word traveled fast and the case for going after sports groups became easier to make.
In 1995, Hernbroth founded Training for Winners, taking his years of industry knowledge and sharing it through motivational talks and workshops for others in the industry. Today, he travels the country speaking to groups to encourage their sales professionals and leaders to be the best they can be. In this conversation with SportsTravel Executive Editor and Publisher Jason Gewirtz, we talk with Hernbroth about his early awakening in sports-related travel, what makes the market different than other group segments, and what advice he has for sales professionals in the current climate.
Among the topics discussed in this episode:
- Hernbroth’s appearance at the first TEAMS Conference & Expo (3:13)
- His background in luxury hotel sales (4:28)
- His awakening to the power of sports-related travel (9:00)
- What makes the sports market different than other group travel markets (12:02)
- The importance of a strong CVB in booking sports events (14:58)
- The strength of sports-related travel during the pandemic (16:41)
- How sales professionals can do their job better in the current climate (19:37)
- How event organizers and hotels should communicate about available services (23:38)
- Getting CVBs to partner with hotels to create new alliances (26:32)
- The nature of relationships between event organizers and CVBs (29:24)
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