Name: Erin Erdmann
Current Company: Visit Bloomington
Position: Director of Convention Sale & Travel Media
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Recreation with an emphasis in Tourism
How did you get into this field?
The mother of a childhood friend of mine was in an executive position at the Convention & Visitors Bureau in my hometown. I always admired her job and thought that I would want to follow a similar career path of serving an organization and a community at the same time. Little did I know that I could actually major in tourism and event planning. Fast forward to IU, and a girl on my dorm floor introduced me to the tourism major during the fall semester my freshman year and by spring semester I was taking classes for what would eventually become my major. I enjoyed my entire educational experience and never looked back. I also worked at Wonderlab and the Bloomington Visitors Center throughout college to help build up my resume. Those two positions definitely helped me network and get relevant job experience so that I was prepared when I went to the job market after graduation.
What skills are most important for success in this field/position?
I believe strong organizational skills, flexibility, the ability to multi-task, and having a vision are some of the most important skills someone in this industry could possess. It’s also important to be skilled in budgeting, negotiating, and customer service. People who tend to be most successful in the meeting and events industry are creative, proactive, personable, passionate, and able to think outside the box.
What’s the best part of your current job?
My job allows me to be creative and engage with people from all over the country every day. Some days I’m hosting a site visit with a meeting planner, others I’m promoting Bloomington at a tradeshow or pitching a travel-related story to a publication or blog. Most of all I enjoy knowing the conferences, meetings, and publicity I help bring to Bloomington are directly impacting the local community through visitors spending money in our restaurants, hotels, and attractions when they’re here.
What’s the most challenging part of your job or your industry in general?
One of the most challenging aspects of destination marketing is the competition. Every single town or city in the country has something to offer to a visitor, so you’re constantly competing for the attention of those visitors and always wishing you had a bigger budget. Other than that, there really isn’t hardly anything bad to say about this industry…I get to promote the town I live in every day and have fun while doing it.
What does a typical day look like for you in this position?
A typical day for me is never really typical! A lot of my time is spent doing sales related activities like responding to calls/emails from meeting planners and working with local hotels to gather proposals to present to meeting planners. I also spend time planning sales-related events like luncheons and tradeshows, or prospecting for new clients. I frequently am asked for suggestions and recommendations on anything event related – from the best place to have a private dinner to the best caterer or DJ in town. On the media side of my job, I respond to lots of inquiries related to travel/tourism from travel editors and freelance journalists. From gathering photos to accompany a story to finding places for filmmakers to shoot scenes in a movie, every day I spend promoting Bloomington to the press is always new and exciting.
What do you wish you knew when you were a student at IU that you know now?
I wish I would’ve studied abroad. It truly is the time in your life when it is easiest to pick up and live in another country for a few months. I highly encourage all students, whether you think you can afford it or not, to at least consider studying overseas.
Why did you decide to stay in Bloomington?
I stayed in Bloomington originally because I landed a pretty amazing job at IU Athletics working as the catering and event coordinator the summer I graduated from IU. Believe it or not, my roommate found the position being advertised in the local newspaper classified section and on a whim I applied. And after I began working in Bloomington, not just going to school at IU, I really got to experience the community for the first time. The rest is kind of history, and here I am, 15 years later, still in Bloomington. It definitely feels like home and I am proud to live here.
Any other advice?
Network, network, network! Work part-time at a place that will be beneficial to list on your resume in terms of relevant job experience. Take time to explore Bloomington and not just the IU campus. There is so much to do, see, and enjoy here. Remember to soak it all in, too, because four years goes by really fast.
Rachel Brown is a first-year graduate student. She is pursuing a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Professional Health Education. Rachel loves sharing her passion for health and wellness with others, traveling to new places, and enjoying a good meal.
IUSPH Career Services
Job opportunities for Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington majors are diverse and expanding as the emphasis on living a healthy lifestyle grows around the world. Career Services experts in each of our academic departments will provide one-on-one counseling and career building opportunities throughout your academic career, from choosing the right major to developing a strategy to find a job. They can assist you with:
•resume and cover letter preparation
•graduate school preparation