Hello all! My name is Thomas Pierce, and I’m a senior Strategic & Corporate Communication major with a minor in Spanish. I plan to graduate in the Spring of 2022, and I’m also a member of the Chapman Men’s Soccer team and the Chapman Club Ice Hockey Team. During the summer months of 2021, I worked as a Marketing Agent for Welk Resorts. Welk is a luxury resort company owned by Marriott Vacations Worldwide, and its portfolio of properties includes locations in California (Escondido, Lake Tahoe, and Palm Springs), Colorado (Breckenridge), New Mexico (Santa Fe), Missouri (Branson), and Mexico (Cabo San Lucas).

My life goal is to see as much of the earth as I can. I have an intense passion for traveling, and I want to form my professional career around this passion. I have always been immensely interested in the tourism & hospitality industry because of the potential for travel and the opportunity to ascend to managerial and leadership roles. Therefore, when I was searching for an employment opportunity for the summer months of 2021 and discovered this Marketing Agent at Welk Resorts position, it truly caught my eye. After applying for this position on Indeed and going through the interview process, I was offered the position and didn’t think twice about accepting it.

As a Marketing Agent for Welk, my main target was to successfully promote Welk Resorts to the public in Southern California. My primary duty in this position was to book qualified individuals, couples, and families for tours of Welk’s luxury properties. While I had the ability to book these qualified persons at any of Welk’s locations, I was a member of the Greater Los Angeles Marketing Team, and our team was tasked with promoting Welk’s Escondido property. In this position, I was teamed up with Managers, and other Agents in Welk Resort branded booths at events around Orange County and Southern California. As an Agent in the booth, I had to use direct communication techniques that I have acquired in numerous communication courses at Chapman to successfully call over individuals, couples, and families. Once I could engage in a conversation at the booth, I educated these people on the promotional gifts that we grant qualified people for attending a tour at a Welk Resorts property. These gifts ranged from a two-night trip to Oahu, Hawaii, a seven-night cruise from LA to Baja California Sur, to four tickets to the San Diego Zoo. To successfully book a tour to Welk’s Escondido property, these people had to choose their gift, sign up for a date and time to take the tour and make a refundable deposit at the booth. To successfully book a tour, precise communication techniques had to be utilized to ensure accuracy and clarity for Welk Resorts and the guests.

My shift locations for this Marketing Agent position included:

Picture of the stadium booth

The Outlets at Orange, Del Amo Fashion Center, The Orange County Fair, and Angel Stadium of Anaheim. During my two months as an Agent, I was incredibly fortunate to work inside the stadium at six Los Angeles Angels Games. Sports are a massive part of my life, and to be able to watch Shohei Ohtani hit home runs during my breaks was something I will never take for granted. My work as an Agent strengthened my ability to handle rejection, but when all the cards fell into place and qualified people signed up to travel down to Escondido to check out Welk’s original property, all of the hard work at the booth truly paid off. I was applauded by all Managers and other Agents for my efforts and improvements over this two month period, and was honored at the Welk corporate meeting as a top performer with hitting escalation (more than seven tours in a commission period) in my final week as an Agent.

This position was the perfect introduction into the tourism & hospitality industry, which is surging to unprecedented heights following an enormous setback from the COVID-19 pandemic. I am currently in the application process for the 4 + 1 Accelerated MBA at Chapman, and with my Strategic & Corporate Communication Bachelor’s Degree, a potential MBA degree, and this Agent experience, I hope to be able to continue ascending to new heights in this industry. As I mentioned, my life goal is to travel, and this experience is providing me with the professional framework to make that goal a reality.