Meeting Alliance’s Jessica Siegel recently posed 10 questions to Travel Director Mark O’Byrne. O’Byrne lives in New York City and once was a contestant on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.
JS: How did you get in to the Travel Director profession?
MO: One of the tour guides I worked with in NY suggested that I do TD work during our off season. I contacted a meeting planning company and after a few tries finally got my first program in San Diego.
JS: What is your favorite part of the job?
MO: I know this will sound hokey – but it is without doubt the people. The other TDs that I get to work with are what make the job enjoyable.
JS: Where is your favorite city/hotel to work?
MO: The Anatole in Dallas, of course!
JS: Where is the best location you have travelled to for work?
MO: Capetown, South Africa (and the safari we did afterwards).
JS: Where are some of your bucket list locations you’d like to travel to for work and/or fun?
MO: Japan is at the top of my list of destinations I haven’t been to and would like to go.
JS: What are some of the most interesting event you have seen at a meeting?
MO: I have seen many great events including dinners in baseball stadiums and dinners on the beach with fireworks. But perhaps the most “interesting” was a boat cruise out of Monte Carlo when the sea was a bit too rough. It had to be cut short, but not before everyone (including myself) was feeling a bit worse for the wear!
JS: What is your best tip for those that travel a lot for work?
MO: If possible take at least one night of the program to relax in your room. Order room service, watch a movie or read, and go to sleep early. Just one good night sleep on the road can make all the difference.
JS: What are your interests outside of work?
MO: Running, reading, personal travel.
JS: What are your favorite ways to pass time on a plane?
MO: Reading and sleeping.
JS: What have been some of the biggest changes in your profession from when you started to now?
MO: Like all industries, the onsite world has modernized. The use of personal computers and cell phones onsite is now standard, but I remember when TDs received an allowance if they brought their own laptop. Now there are green initiatives and the move towards paperless meetings.
About the Author
When Jessica is not sorting excel files, mail merging or updating StarCite she can be found running, biking, out on the water, going to see live music or checking out restaurants in her new home city of Philadelphia.