Name: Kris Hoff
Company: Happy Times Tours & Experiences
City, State: West Allis, Wis.
Years in the Industry: 23 years
How did you first get involved in the industry?
A friend recommended that I take a job with a tour operator in Milwaukee. I was only doing it temporarily I thought. However, after a couple weeks I realized this was my passion and I loved every aspect of what I was doing.
Who has inspired your career?
I have met several people in the industry that have inspired me. Their determination, passion and creativity inspire me and I am proud to call them my friends. Plus, if there is a crisis, we are all there for each other...no matter what time of the day or night. Tracy Schueller at Personalized Coaches & Tours, Annette Trotter at Turner Coaches, Frances Manzitto from Visit Clarksville, Janet Rebman with Custom Tours & More, and Tami Manton with Group Theater Tix & Tours are some of the top people that continue to be inspirations to me. The list could go on because there are a lot of great industry representatives and group leaders that inspire me to be better and do better daily.
What has been the greatest challenge/opportunity in your career?
Greatest challenge I can undoubtedly say is COVID. While things are rebounding, it has been slow. We really had to think outside the box for the business to survive and generate income. Strange enough that is also the biggest opportunity. Meeting new businesses partners, discussing situations in an open environment, watching trends, and creating new unique experiences was an end result from everything that happened with COVID.
What advice would you give to others about working in this industry?
Right now, I would say it is a wonderful industry, but it is stressful. Between employee shortages and vendors not being able to accommodate groups, you are in a constant state of change and having to get creative to get the end result you want. In the end, it usually works out, but we all want our clients to have the perfect trip.
Why is it important for you to belong to Women in Buses Council?
I believe that the Women in Buses Council is a powerful group of women in this industry and being part of the Women in Buses Council allows for networking, educational opportunities and mentorship opportunities that you could not have normally.