Name; Kimberly Janes
Title: Tourism Program Manager
Organization: Visit Chandler
Location: Chandler, Arizona
Birthplace: Albuquerque, New Mexico
• Bachelor of Science in hotel and restaurant management, Northern Arizona University
• Master of Tourism Administration, The George Washington University
Career History: Restaurant management, hotel front desk, reservations/revenue management, event management, convention services, sales
Kimberly Janes has been with Visit Chandler for almost 20 years. As tourism program manager, she knows just about everything there is to know about the destination.
A lifelong Arizona resident, Janes always knew she wanted to work in hospitality. She got her bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management from Northern Arizona University and later followed that with a master’s degree in tourism administration from The George Washington University, focusing on sustainable tourism management. She first landed on the CVB side of the business when one of her college instructors who worked at the organization urged her to apply for an open position.
“It’s hard to believe when you think about how many years it’s been — but I have always been proud to work for a destination because it’s all about building relationships,” said Janes. “It’s very much hands-on with everyone from many different perspectives. That’s the rewarding side of being in this industry: You get to help everyone in some aspect.”
Janes enjoys working with local businesses, as well as people, planning events and has watched Chandler go from a town with just 1,300 hotel rooms to one with roughly 4,000. Along the way, one thing she loves most about her job is getting to know the stories behind area restaurants and businesses, as well as sharing the planning of special events for visitors.
“Those little nuggets of information are always helpful, especially when you’re trying to connect people or get them to really experience the community,” said Janes. “Every destination wants to have great food and great shopping and great experiences, but I think it’s uncovering the story behind those businesses that really helps people connect to that place.”
For those who are considering a career in hospitality, Janes has some simple yet profound words of wisdom: Follow your passion. She says that within the industry, there is an endless variety of roles, and the key is to dial into what motivates you and what draws you in. Spend some time learning who the different partners are in a destination and building relationships with them, and doors will open to you.
“It’s more than just being a people person; it’s understanding what motivates a person to travel and knowing how to share information with them,” said Janes. “You almost have two different roles: one where you are trying to make locals aware of what’s happening in the community to be proud of it and understand the uniqueness, and then one for the travelers coming in and making sure that they understand what they’re experiencing and making the most of their visit.”
The fact that no two workdays are the same is something that Janes loves about her job.
“There’s a lot more information out there about destination organizations now than there used to be where the goal is to share that, and a large part of it is being flexible and being accommodating,” she said. “Some destinations are big enough that they have specialized sales staff, for example. In smaller destinations, you wear many hats; you have to come at something from all angles.”
One of Janes’ favorite things is to connect visitors with unexpected treasures in Chandler that are tucked away, something that after 20 years she can practically do with her eyes closed.
Tips from Kimberly Janes
• Build relationships early with the destination experts. The destination marketing organizations have a wealth of information about their community.
• Be open about your wants and needs. Convey all the details, including what has and has not worked in the past.
• Stay in contact. We’re looking to build a lasting relationship with you.