Topeka Destination Specialist

Visit Topeka works hard to promote an outstanding experience for guests to Topeka and Shawnee County, Kansas. To that end, we offer specialized training for the hospitality industry staff in our community.

Participants in the Topeka Destination Specialist program will learn about hospitality techniques, the importance of tourism in Topeka & Shawnee County, and how economic development can begin with something as simple as a smile.

Participants also will learn about their community and be able to share with visitors the wonderful places to see and things to do in Topeka. Visit Topeka encourages anyone interested in the field of hospitality or tourism to take advantage of this free and exciting opportunity.

How it works

  • Earn a total of 15 points in one year by attending education conferences, training, visiting local attractions, shopping local and completing one book report from the provided list of books. 
  • All core requirements must be completed for a total of 10 points.
  • Complete any combination of electives to earn 5 points.

Core requirements

KNOW YOUR CITY: Attend one Know Your City training (offered twice per year.) 
3 points

SM&SH Summit: (Offered on Even Years): Attend the SM&SH Summit in May hosted by Visit Topeka.  If not offered that year do the following:

Provide a small summary of each and submit to Rosa at  These books can be purchased at Visit Topeka , 719 S. Kansas Avenue for $10.
3 points

VIDEOS: View the following videos and write a brief summary.
2 points

  • Johnny the Bagger

  • Give Them The Pickle: How to Act Like You Care

  • A Hotel is Just a Building

TOUR LOCAL: Tour a local attraction and report the significance of that attraction to Topeka & Shawnee County. Send your selfie at the attraction to
2 points

  • Two per year allowed, for a total of 4 points
  • Selfie not to be taken at Know Your City Training stops. 

Elective offerings

READING: Read a book from the approved book list and provide a summary.
2 points


  • African American Topeka, Arcadia Publishing, ISBN 9781467110686
  • Topeka, Arcadia Publishing, ISBN 9780738584348
  • Harvey Houses of Kansas; Historic Hospitality from Topeka to Syracuse, Arcadia Publishing SC, ISBN-13: 9781540212894
  • Topeka: An Illustrated History of the Kansas Capital, Better World Books West, ISBN-13: 9780941974066
  • Hidden History of Kansas, The History Press, ISBN-13: 9781625858894
  • Haunted Kansas: Ghost Stories and Other Eerie Tales, University Press of Kansas, ISBN: 0700608656
  • The Kansa Indians: A History of the Wind People, 1673-1873, University of Oklahoma Press
  • John Brown to Bob Dole: Movers And Shakers in Kansas History, by Virgil W. Dean
  • Bleeding Kansas by Sara Paretsky

Customer Service:

  • Fish by Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensen
  • The Thank You Economy, by Gary Vaynerchuk
  • The Starbucks Experience by Joseph A. Michelli
  • The Nordstrom Way, by Robert Spector
  • Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business by Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine
  • It’s My Pleasure: The Impact of Extraordinary Talent and a Compelling Culture, by Dee Ann Turner


  • Tourism Management: Analysis, Behaviour and Strategy First Edition, by Arch Woodside
  • Secret Recipe: Why KFC Is Still Cookin' After 50 Years, by Bob Darden
  • Have Fork Will Travel: A Practical Handbook for Food & Drink Tourism Professionals, by Erik Wolf
  • Sustainable Cultural Tourism: Small-Scale Solutions (Resilient Communities) (Volume 1), by Susan M. Guyette Ph.D.
  • City Branding: Theory and Cases, by K. Dinnie

CITY COUNCIL: Attend a City Council Meeting. Meets the first three Tuesdays of each month at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers, 214 S.E. 8th Street.
2 points

LUNCHEON: Attend the annual Hospitality Luncheon hosted by the Topeka Lodging Association.
2 points

SHOP LOCAL: Provide a receipt for an item purchased at a locally owned Topeka store.
1 point

NT&T WEEK: Write a one-page report about National Travel & Tourism Week and its importance.
2 points