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Meeting Leaders: Michael Vescio

Executive Profile

Name: Michael Vescio

Title: Director of Sales

Organization: Discover DeKalb Convention and Visitors Bureau

Location: Tucker, Georgia

Birthplace: Fulton, New York

Education: Florida State University — bachelor’s degree in theater management

Career History:

Amerihost Management, regional director of sales, 1992–98

Park Plaza International, director of sales, 1998–99

Imperial Investment Group, director of sales and catering, 1999–2006

Global Management and Investment, regional director of sales, 2006–08

First Call Hospitality, sales manager, 2008–13

City of Brookhaven, Georgia, tourism manager, 2013–2015

Discover DeKalb Convention and Visitors Bureau, director of sales, 2015–present

Michael Vescio, director of sales at Discover DeKalb Convention and Visitors Bureau, started working in the hospitality industry on a whim.

“I just thought it sounded like fun to work at a hotel,” Vescio said. “I started at the front desk, then learned to do the audit, and that led to starting their sales department. I became the regional director of sales, which is a role I’ve held twice.”

Vescio grew up in Satellite Beach, Florida, and attended Brevard Community College and Florida State University in Tallahassee, where he got a Bachelor of Arts degree in theater management. He’s been an actor, taught theater classes and worked on behind the scenes projects. Vescio’s bubbly, outgoing, “theater kid” personality makes him a natural in the hospitality industry.

Over the past four decades, Vescio has worked as the regional sales director for Amerihost Management and Global Management and Investments, managing sales for 30 hotels, and Amerihost Inn and Suites, where he worked on brand expansion, developing relationships with the city they were expanding into, hiring staff and managing grand openings.

“I understand the hotel business very well, so it’s easy for me to speak their language because of all the onboarding I’ve done before,” he said. “Currently, at Discover DeKalb, we have over 7,000 rooms in over 70 hotels in five cities, and each city has a different focus. My job is to get people excited about coming to our county.”

Vescio moved over to the destination marketing organization arena about 15 years ago, working at the Brookhaven CVB for 5 years and then moving over to Discover DeKalb 10 years ago. He has channeled his energy into developing creative ways to attract visitors, like his involvement in the Cherry Blossom Festival and the Food Truck Roundup event in Brookhaven. He loves highlighting the area’s various offerings to attract visitors.

“DeKalb is very diverse, and the communities we represent are very diverse,” he said. “Even though we get a lot of people who will go downtown for various attractions, DeKalb has its own attractions, like Stone Mountain Park, which is the second-most-visited attraction in the Southeast. In general, staying in DeKalb is more affordable than the downtown area. We get a lot of reunions, motorcoach travel, students and sporting events here, too.”

Vescio and his staff attend roughly 36 trade shows, conferences and conventions of travel professionals each year. But that’s not the only thing that keeps him busy: He’s been the recipient of numerous industry awards for his outstanding work and sits on the board of several organizations.

Vescio has won numerous awards throughout his 40-year career, including a national award for a marketing effort from Ramada Inn, the 2023 President’s Award from Georgia Motor Coach Operators Association (one of several for that organization) and the Shining Example Award from the Southeastern Tourism Society. He is also a two-time finalist for Corporate Ally of the Year Award for the OUT Georgia Business Alliance.

Of his long and illustrious career, Vescio insists he’s still having fun.

“I got involved in this because I just thought it would be fun,” he said. “Once you really get into hospitality, you just don’t want to get out of it.”

Tips from Michael Vescio

• Be prepared and do your research before talking with a planner.

• Offer a FAM to showcase your area and discuss new hotels and attractions in your market.

• Create a unique and memorable experience for all to enjoy.