A Visionary is a strategic thinker, envisioning new possibilities in a dynamic world.
David Strang is currently serving as Global Director of Sales at ConferenceDirect. David prides himself on being a trusted resource for securing the best hotel venues and hospitality services at the most favorable terms possible for his diverse group of clients.
Prior to joining ConferenceDirect, David held the position of Director of Sales for Teneo Hospitality Group. Mr. Strang enjoyed a long career with the Jumeirah Hotel Group serving as Global Director of Sales, Americas. David established the Jumeirah Brand in the Americas, driving group business into Jumeirah’s global portfolio of luxury hotels and resorts. His numerous trips throughout Asia, Europe, and the Middles East has provided invaluable hotel and destination experience.
In the midst of holiday travel, David shared some of his thoughts with MarketID…
JN: The importance of strategic partnerships in our industry is key. What are some takeaways you’ve learned in the last year?
DS: With experience and longevity comes relationships – but you need to work at it. I am very proud of the lifelong partnerships, fostered over 25 years in our industry. And what it is especially true over the past year is how important my amazing stable of contacts has been to my success. When building partnerships, it is key to always be professional, respectful, positive but also toss in a whole bunch of fun.
JN: In selecting destinations, building relationships with key partners is crucial. How has this benefited your global events?
DS: My hospitality career has grown over the years from airport hotel in Chicago to repping hotels in 22 international destinations to now sourcing over 400 programs annually all over the globe. Having the right trusted contacts in the right places is critical. Destinations and industry partners also need to understand the value of building relationships. Much of what we do right now can be very transactional. And with budgets and staffing levels tight, it is very easy to cancel and cut relationship building parts of the process. Fundamentally it has never been more important to strengthen our partnerships – We will work with the partners we trust and who make life easy.
One of best parts of my job is being able to give business back to these trusted partners. Example – A DMC in London hosted a post IMEX Frankfurt FAM 5 years ago – They knocked it out of the ballpark and have continued to be positive collaborators ever since. This DMC was the first and only one called for a 900-person group arriving in May 2022. Relationships take time and require effort but are a crucial component to driving business into selected destinations and business partners.
JN: You’ve worn different hats within our industry for over 20 years. What has each experience brought to your current role?
DS: There has always been a bit of naïveté in my career path – Always believing that my hotel or my destinations are the best until I realized they might not be. I think this simplistic view of the world served me well at each stage of my career. But I always remain curious and looking to know more about the people and places around me. Each role built more experiences and understanding, allowing me to be more prepared and grow as a person. Having a better appreciation of the world around you, staying engaged and well informed and fostering positive relationships will impact every facet of life.
JN: What are some key advices to share with other and future change agents/global innovators?
DS: Stay curious, stay engaged, stay kind and be professional! Foster those relationships in your life.