"Five questions" with Mark Horace, Director of Sales and Marketing, Hampton Inn & Suites DuPont

Thursday, February 11, 2016 6:00 PM by Matt Wakefield

How did you decide to get into the tourism industry?

I loved the restaurant industry and had dreams of owning/operating a restaurant. Then I realized the hours of operation didn't sit well with me. A friend turned me onto the idea of hotels for a career while studying at Washington State University. The fantasy of working at a resort in the Caribbean sounded very enchanting, but realized the weather in Pierce County is far superior. No humidity.

Why are you active in Travel Tacoma + Pierce County?

My Mom is from the Eastside of Tacoma and my Dad is from the South side of Tacoma. Growing up, I thought of Tacoma as a big City with awesome parks (McKinley Park and Lincoln Park). Tacoma, and Pierce County in general, is a really diverse geographical area. Not many counties in Washington, let alone the United States, can boast year round skiing (Crystal Mountain, Lake Tapps, American Lake), the 5th longest suspension bridge in the country (Narrows), tallest mountain in the Cascade Mountain Range (Mt. Rainier), miles and miles of shoreline, and that they hosted a U.S. Open (Chambers Bay Golf Course). There is a lot of great things to do and see in Pierce County. Who needs an old Space Needle?

Where would you like to see tourism in Pierce County go?

I would like to see all marketing dollars and efforts be more collaborative to look like a wheel. A central hub, with a spoke that leads to each unique area/venue in the County. It would give autonomy and eliminate duplication of efforts, resources, and funds. Through economies of scale, cost can be reduced, reach will go further, and each 'spoke' would be able to deliver their message without a need to serve several superiors (Boards, Committees, and Municipalities)

What do you like to do when not at work?

Exercise and Eat! It's a great cycle - Burn calories, cook healthy food, eat as much of it as you want and then repeat the cycle!

What would you like to see as a legacy for others in the industry?

That's a great question. It would be great to see PLU, UPS, UW-Tacoma, or Washington State University open a hospitality program in Pierce County. There are lots of hotels, restaurants, museums and other unique venues that would be waiting patiently with employment opportunities. Ultimately, I want to be able to look back and know I was of service to visitors and other residents in Pierce County.

Bonus question: What are the first three websites you check every day?

Expedia.com, Yelp.com, Bookings.com. I have to stay engaged with customer reviews! Aside from that, I am at the gym at 5:10 a.m., so I don't make it a point to really surf the web before work.

Author: Matt Wakefield

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