Congrats to Maria Skrzynski, Marketing Coordinator / Office Manager at Destination Ann Arbor. She’s one of seven winners in the inaugural Emerging Tourism Star class, a program in partnership with MMGY Global.
Readers can meet the winners in past and upcoming issues of The Travel Vertical and they’ll all be recognized in person during the 22nd Annual eTourism Summit on Sept. 20–22, 2021 in Las Vegas.
What’s an Emerging Tourism Star? Savvy individuals (of any age!) in destination marketing and attractions that are new to the eTourism Community of digital travel and tourism professionals or have risen to the challenges of a role.
- Winners will be directly connected with a travel and tourism leader as a mentor
- Winners receive a scholarship to attend eTourism Summit
- Winners will participate in a panel conversation at eTourism Summit moderated by MMGY
- One winner will fill the eTS Emerging Tourism Star Advisory Board Seat (an annual appointment)
Q: How did you arrive in your role at Destination Ann Arbor?
A: I’ve always had a passion for travel. Growing up, my mother was a successful travel agent, and we’d accompany her on fam trips. Because of this, I was able to experience new places and adventures often! Fast forward: I attended Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and found myself regularly using Ypsireal.com, the local Ypsilanti CVB website, for activity ideas. The brand stood out to me and later, after working several years in customer service leadership, I applied to an open position with Destination Ann Arbor as the Office Manager in Ypsilanti!
Q: How has your role grown over the past 2-3 years?
A: I started working more closely with the marketing team because of my interest in destination marketing. I began attending weekly marketing meetings and assisting with special projects. Once we began working from home because of the devastating impact of Covid, I began wearing a few ‘new hats’ which included writing blogs for Destination Ann Arbor, managing the Ypsi Real social media pages, assisting with website management, and building community engagement. Now I’m working alongside the marketing team, and attending webinars to continue to learn more.
Q: Sounds like an ideal fit for someone who grew up knowing about fam trips. Can you see yourself involved in destination marketing for the long term?
A: Absolutely! It’s funny to think that I’ve been attending fam trips for my whole life! I am genuinely interested in destination marketing and sharing great experiences with others. I feel grateful knowing that I can combine my passion for community and travel and bring that into the work that I do every day. I’ve always had interests in writing and have had fun reflecting and growing as a social media coordinator. Because of this, destination marketing is a great fit for me!
Q: Speaking of social media, in your experience can you tell us about one of the most impactful messages you’ve shared?
A: One of the most impactful messages in my experience was amplifying the message that Black Lives Matter through our social channels. Because of the importance and meaningful message behind the murals that came together because of local leaders, artists, and residents around Ypsilanti, the post took off and quickly became the top performing post in the page’s social media history. The photo was captured by a local photographer from a bird’s eye view. What makes this so impactful is that we could help share this statement to reach tens of thousands of people.
Q: What are you hoping to get out of your first eTourism Summit?
A: I’m so excited and really looking forward to meeting the other winners! I can’t wait to learn more from them as my peers and share our experiences. I’d love to make new connections with other DMOs and vendors for future partnerships and opportunities. There is a lot to learn from others with years of experience and from rising stars, so I’m looking forward to beginning and building those relationships at eTourism Summit!