If you want to settle into your new home for the next four years, you might as well work at a tourist company. Visit Walla Walla is a non-profit tourism organization whose funds come from the bed-tax gathered from local hotels. What’s our city known for? Wine. Wine is an almost monolithic industry in its ability to attract visitors to Walla Walla, but due to wine tasting being a 21+ activity, a certain demographic is generally left out of the equation when we try to attract new visitors to our lovely city. When I was hired as Visit Walla Walla’s Marketing Intern, my task was to figure out how we attract young people to this city.
The major project in this endeavor so far has been in a survey I’ve been developing with the company’s CEO, Ron Williams. Our general goals are to figure out A) What amenities Walla Walla has for younger people, B) What amenities Walla Walla does not have for younger people, and C) The exposure/awareness these various businesses, locations, and activities have in town.
My internship here has also put me in a unique position to try and improve life at Whitman College. I’m currently working on a brochure intended to highlight various local businesses in Walla Walla that cover various needs, services, hobbies, and activities that many people who move here (especially first years such as myself) desire information on so they can become more familiar and settled-in with their new home in Walla Walla.
Working here also puts me in charge of various odds and ends around the office. I take care of the recycling, and help move boxes from the office to the basement. Working here has also given me incredibly valuable knowledge about our town and its traditions. On Halloween, I spent my time helping out with handing candy to the locals who come in the afternoon as a huge crowd to get treats from all the businesses on main street. I have an acute knowledge of Walla Walla’s demographics, its businesses, congressional representation, and more.
One of the biggest challenges of being a Marketing Intern is keeping your momentum. Ideas come and go, emails can take forever to get responses, and since my coworkers are often times out of the office to promote the town and collaborate with other tourism organizations around the country and internationally, I’m often left to my own devices. My work is oftentimes quiet and contemplative, full of second guesses and “nah that sounds stupid” situations, but it’s always work that I come away from having learned something. I’m hoping that by May of 2020, we can have a comprehensive idea of how to make Walla Walla a place for the whole family to visit and find something people of all ages can make memories over.
Experiences like Jordan’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Mitzy Rodriguez