• New Group Sales Director at Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau

    POSTED September 13, 2022
    Photo credit: Mary Chris Hotchkiss

When Mary Chris Hotchkiss attended an event near Petoskey in March 2022, she was enchanted.

“I remember thinking as I was leaving that someday this would be a great place to work,” she says.

Someday is here. Hotchkiss was recently named new group sales director for the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau.

“I knew that there was a new executive director and the thought of being in a new destination with a new leader could be a great growth opportunity for me,” she says. Hotchkiss is referring to Jim Powell, who took over the top position in January following the retirement of longtime Executive Director Peter Fitzsimons.

Hotchkiss began her hospitality career working at a restaurant and golf club in her hometown of Williamston. A graduate of Michigan State University, she went on to become group sales manager for the East Lansing Marriott at University Place. In 2007, she joined the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau, where her duties as sales manager included promoting the Greater Lansing Area as a destination for conventions, meetings, and events. 

“It was helpful to be in hotel sales before coming to the CVB because I had walked in the shoes of a hotelier and understood the challenges associated with that role,” she says.

In Petoskey, she’s part of a smaller team—there are three on staff—and she’s glad about that. 

“I will have a broader responsibility in this role and look forward to this new challenge,” she says, noting that she has been enjoying getting to know the region better.

“My first week, I toured so much in just a few days,” Hotchkiss says. “It is incredible how much there is to see and do.”

For example, she learned about the historic Bay View Association and its roots with Michigan Methodists since 1875. She explored trail systems and took a historic walking tour of downtown Petoskey. 

She hadn’t realized that Kilwin’s Chocolates originated in Petoskey in 1947. That was welcome news to the fan of their ice cream, her favorite flavor being toasted coconut.

“I have also discovered the warm, friendly hospitality community to be very welcoming,” she adds. 

A certified meeting planner, she’s a member of the Michigan Society of Association Executives, Society of Government Meeting Professionals, and Destinations International.

For more information, click here.

MACVB Annual Educational Conference finally reaches the shores of Mackinac Island.

As I rode in the carriage from the Shepler’s Ferry terminal to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, my mind wandered to a scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” In said scene, King Arthur and his sidekick, Patsy, approach a castle while galloping and banging coconuts together. After a few moments passed and my mind wandered back to the tree-lined streets of the island, I realized it was the clippety-clop of the draft horses pulling our carriage that brought on my thoughts of Python.


Ever wanted to stay in a treehouse? Greg Filipek and Brian Coates have just the place for you.

The partners built a 508-square-foot luxury “treehouse” on a six-acre parcel they’re calling Tree Vistas resort near Ionia where they hope to eventually add up to two more similar units. The design is all about bringing the outside in, with construction involving very little removal of the trees that were already there.

“The house was designed uniquely around the trees,” Filipek says. “We actually only had to cut down one tree—otherwise we wouldn’t have fit our bathroom in.


Tourism is obviously important to Michigan’s hospitality industry, which depends on residents as well as visitors to travel around the state utilizing lodging and meeting spaces, dining at restaurants, and visiting attractions.