Visit San Luis Obispo County, the non-profit, destination marketing organization for San Luis Obispo County, has announced the hiring of a new Director of Travel Trade, Michael Wambolt. With more than 15 years of hospitality experience, Wambolt will be instrumental in serving the initiatives set forth by the Tourism Marketing District to expand tourism, and create a unified marketing and travel trade approach in San Luis Obispo County. His role will expand County participation in tradeshows, sales missions and tour operator familiarization tours (FAM’s). He will additionally develop business through pursuit of corporate and leisure meetings/conference groups, and through lead generation.
Wambolt discovered a passion and knack for hospitality in 2001, on an excursion across Europe with ConTiki Holidays. Recognized for his ability to create a welcome experience for those around him, he was hired immediately with ConTiki as a cook, site representative, bartender, and assistant manager. Eager to return to the states, Wambolt secured a position as a Front Desk Agent at the SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel in Pismo Beach. Here, he spent 13 years climbing the ranks to Assistant General Manager, Guest Services Manager, and then Director of Sales, all while forging bonds and connections throughout the industry in the county, and throughout the nation. “I have been lucky to spend the last 13 years working and selling hotels here in San Luis Obispo County,” said Wambolt. “During this time I have learned a couple of things. First, we have an amazing County to live and thrive in. Second, our County is not a household name, and third, once someone finds our County, they love it!”
In early 2015, Wambolt was offered an opportunity to act as Director of Sales for Marriott, where he spearheaded the opening of the SpringHill Suites in Atascadero. Shortly after, he was offered the Director of Travel Trade position with Visit San Luis Obispo County. “During my time at the hotel level, I always sold the destination of San Luis Obispo County and now I have the opportunity to create a travel trade and sales strategy that will benefit all of our constituents,” said Wambolt. “I look forward to building strong relationships with our partners and tapping into market share that has been previously unreached, developing new opportunities for San Luis Obispo County.” In addition to creating a travel trade and sales strategy for Visit San Luis Obispo County, Wambolt will also be responsible for building and training a sales staff.
“We are really honored to have Michael on our team,” said Chuck Davison, President & CEO, Visit San Luis Obispo County. “His background and knowledge of the local, national and international market are invaluable. With a strong hospitality background, he has the ability to connect with lodging constituents and understand their needs. His experience will be extremely valuable as we expand our reach through regional and international sales missions, tradeshows and lead generation.”
As the Director of Travel Trade for Visit San Luis Obispo County, Wambolt will liaise with the more than 1300 lodging facilities throughout the region. He has already begun a large outreach campaign to ensure Visit San Luis Obispo County has updated contact information for all hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, vacation rentals and RV parks in the area. Additionally, a new educational component has been created; featuring quarterly seminars focused on timely, tourism industry-related topics. The first will include presentations from TripAdvisor, HomeAway and a panel on water conservation during the drought. Wambolt’s role is new to the Visit San Luis Obispo County staff, and is formed through the funding provided by the Tourism Marketing District, passed in June of 2015. “The passage of the Tourism Marketing District is making it possible for us to focus on the growing needs of our lodging constituents and other tourism partners through the hiring of roles like the Director of Travel Trade,” said Davison. “We are excited to lead the way for our industry and to contribute to the success of tourism in San Luis Obispo County.”