Whether for business or pleasure, visiting a city is often an exhilarating experience. Unique restaurants, cool attractions, comfortable lodging and plenty else add to this excitement, meaning that travel and tourism professionals are present at every stop on any given trip.

In honor of National Travel and Tourism Week 2017—and to show our appreciation for the 46,000 employees in KC’s hospitality industry—we asked frontline and administrative personnel working in this vital tourism sector to share their experiences, and their expertise. Their skills and duties are wide-spanning, offering the most diverse look at Kansas City’s hospitality sector, each truly showcasing How We Do KC. 

Q: How long have you worked in the hospitality industry?

A: This is my first taste in the industry and I’m eating it up. I’ve only worked in the industry for about a year. I taught for 17 years before that, retired and my wife and I moved Downtown. We’re empty nesters, so we wanted to live, work and play in the same place. The KC Streetcar started operating around that same time, so it just made perfect sense.

- John Bachmeier, KC Streetcar Operator and Acting Supervisor

A: 25 years. I started as a lifeguard for a summer job after high school. From there, I continued to work for five straight summers, learning the industry and paying for college. After graduation, I worked 18 years with Great Wolf Resorts, which brought me to Kansas City.

- Matt Lawrence, General Manager, Schlitterbahn

Q: What do you like about working in KC?

A: First and foremost, this is home. The Kansas City metro has so many unique communities that have their own personality… I’m a curious person, so it’s easy to have a new experience every weekend.

Most of my time is spent in Overland Park, where it’s a privilege to work in a community with strong unity and collaboration, and a passion for looking toward the future. The state line is not an issue when we work as one to entertain visitors. Honestly, the visitor thinks we’re all one big city and that’s a good thing!

- Dana Markel, President, Visit Overland Park

A: What’s not to like? It’s definitely an invaluable experience working in a city with such a renewed sense of purpose and excitement for its future. Not to mention the people, local culture and, of course, the food.

- Aaron Brandenburg, Chief Concierge, Hotel Phillips

A: It has all of the amenities of a big city with a small-town personality, entrepreneurial spirit and a diverse and vibrant cultural scene.

- Steve Querrey, Director of Operations, Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que

Q: What are your top three favorite things to do in KC?

A: I’m a diehard Kansas City Royals fan. Fell in love when George Brett won his first batting title in 1976, so anytime they’re playing I try to get out to the ballpark. First Fridays are another one of our musts, and live music is great, especially in the summertime. We especially love KC Live! in the Power & Light District and Crossroads KC at Grinders in the Crossroads Arts District.

- John Bachmeier, KC Streetcar Operator and Acting Supervisor

A: Live music, craft beer at one of our great microbreweries and First Fridays or Saturdays in the Crossroads District or West Bottoms.

- Steve Querrey, Director of Operations, Joe’s Kansas City Barbeque

Q: What’s one insider tip you always give to people visiting KC?

A: Not all barbecue is the same! I recommend trying ALL of them, which means they will certainly have to visit KC more than once.

- Matt Lawrence, General Manager, Schlitterbahn

A: Listen to the locals. Don’t be afraid to explore and be spontaneous during your trip. Kansas Citians love their city, are happy to host you and will only recommend the best to you. It’s the best way to create a unique experience while you’re with us.

- Aaron Brandenburg, Chief Concierge, Hotel Phillips

A: Take in the sights, sounds and tranquility of our miles of paved trails. A walk through nature provides a sense of well-being that can’t be purchased. It’s free, it’s therapeutic and it provides personal benefits that go beyond the experience.

- Dana Markel, President, Visit Overland Park


Are you a hospitality and/or tourism professional? Find out how you can enter our National Travel & Tourism Week contest to win great prizes.


Contact Visit KC