The Heart of Hospitality

People are at the heart of travel & hospitality.

And, as humans, we travel to connect with new cultures, people and places. From tour outfitters and craft brewers to shop owners, attraction operators, chefs, artists, hoteliers, makers and musicians, humans are at the heart of genuine hospitality – and essential in the delivery of the travel experience.

The Heart of Hospitality is right here in Asheville, including hotel manager and Asheville native Dexter Hazel, retired postal worker-turned-tourism-business-entrepreneur Kaye Bentley, chef Steven Goff, vacation rental owner Jessica Withers — name Airbnb’s “Most Hospitable Host” in the US — and multimedia artist and Asheville native Jenny Pickens.

Their real-life stories provide a glimpse into the potential travel and hospitality holds for individuals with the passion to pursue their dreams and thrive. Hear their stories here! 

View Dexter Hazel’s story. “Tourism brings so much to all of the businesses here, the restaurants, the breweries, the hotels, they’re all connected. That’s why being a part of the community is so important. We’re all helping each other in some way, shape or form.”
View Kaye Bentley’s story. “Anyone can visit a city, but it’s important to find pathways to engage people with the community. Once you feel like you’re part of it, you appreciate it in a different way. Your heart opens up a little more. That’s what happens when people come to Asheville.”
View Steven Goff’s story. “The hospitality industry in Asheville has lifted me off the streets into a successful career. I’m extremely grateful for it. You can come from nothing and be something; the hospitality industry provides that. This industry can change your life.
View Jessica Withers’ story. “We really love this piece of land and feel lucky to have found it. It’s awesome here. We moved here 20 years ago and we’ve never looked back. Every day is a pleasure to be here, and we really enjoy sharing that with people.”
View Jenny Pickens’ story. “This is a place you can come to find everything around the world in one place: the food, the culture, being an artsy place. I love the fact that everybody can come here. You don’t have to pretend to be someone else; you can be your true self.”
View stories of people in our community who are The Heart of Hospitality: A chef, hotel manager, multi-media artist, retired postal worker-turned-tourism-business entrepreneur, and a vacation rental owner named Airbnb’s “Most Hospitable Host” in the U.S.