BeckySforzaMonchecourt

The Business of Vacations: Rebecca Sforza Monchecourt

Summer is now in full-swing, and with it comes summer vacations. In fact, according to Generali Global Assistance, 68 percent of Americans plan to take a summer vacation this year, up from 61 percent in 2016.

If you live in Florida, vacation options are plenty. From beaches to theme parks, the Sunshine State has unlimited possibilities. Or maybe you’re more interested in booking a trip to one of our nation’s national parks, museums or large cities. You could be thinking even bigger, with an international trip to experience a new culture. Whatever you choose, Warrington alumni in the travel industry like Rebecca Sforza Monchecourt and Roger Block are thinking of how to make your vacation memorable. We spoke with Sforza Monchecourt and Block about the business of vacations and their tips for your summer travel. Read more from Sforza Monchecourt below and click here to read about Block.

 

Rebecca “Becky” Sforza Monchecourt – Senior Manager, Consumer Insight, Walt Disney World

Rebecca “Becky” Sforza Monchecourt (MBA ’07) always had a mind for math. After graduating from Wellesley College with a B.A. in Russian Studies and a minor in math, she began her career as a math teacher, first in Massachusetts, then in Georgia where she taught geometry, algebra I and II, trigonometry and pre-calculus. It was a summer job she took in Florida as a lifeguard at Walt Disney World Resort that would inspire her to leave teaching and move to Orlando for a full-time job at “the most magical place on Earth.”

“I loved being at Disney so much that I gave my notice the following year and moved to Florida in 2000,” she said.

Starting out as a Cast Member at Innoventions at Epcot, Sforza Monchecourt made her way up the ladder from Recreation Manager at the Yacht & Beach Club to Guest Service Manager at Innoventions. It was her background in math that led her to the career she’s had since 2002 in Consumer Insight.

“I was telling a coworker about my background and she asked why I wasn’t in accounting or finance or research – something more math-based,” she said. “She set me up with meet and greets with her contacts, who set me up with other contacts, and I found myself applying for a junior analyst position in Guest Research. The rest is history – I’ve been in Consumer Insight since 2002 and have covered research for a variety of areas including parks, resorts, Downtown Disney (now known as Disney Springs), mini golf courses, water parks, travel agents, annual passholders, and marketing.”

Thanks to her MBA from the University of Florida Warrington College of Business, Sforza Monchecourt was able to take her math background a step further and expand her business knowledge, which has been especially useful in her current role as Senior Manager of Consumer Insight where she leads the team responsible for all research, including Guest satisfaction, at Disney’s four theme parks.

“An MBA felt like the best fit for me – business-minded but not hyper-focused on one area so that I had the opportunity to branch out later in my career if I wanted to,” she said. “Leadership, networking and general business sense have been the big things [I learned during my MBA that I’ve been able to apply in my role at Disney].

“Honestly, I don’t have to do financial accounting in my day-to-day but learning to think logically through problems in finance or accounting helped flex my brain to think logically in my day-to-day. I learned communication and emotional intelligence – and how to work with folks who have different styles than I do.”

 

With her experience in the vacation industry, we asked Sforza Monchecourt for her insight on why Disney continues to be a top destination and tips for you to use if you travel there this summer.

Q: With more and more people traveling, how in your role are you helping Disney innovate its approach to getting new people to visit and keeping people coming back? 

Sforza Monchecourt: Well, first and foremost, we want Guests to have the time of their lives when they come visit. In my role, we’re constantly sharing with leadership what drives the overall experience – is it a particular attraction or a particular show or our Cast Members? Also, we measure the performance (from a Guest perspective) of our offerings – attractions, shows, restaurants – so that our operators have feedback to improve the Guest experience. We also focus on highlighting individual parks. Guests who have never visited sometimes think Disney is “Magic Kingdom,” and while Magic Kingdom is an amazing park, there are three other equally-amazing parks to visit with unique offerings.

Q: How in your role is your leadership helping Disney to continue to be a top vacation destination?

Sforza Monchecourt: See above! We constantly measure our experiences to make sure we meet and exceed our Guest expectations. Our operators depend on the feedback we collect to make adjustments to the Guest experience.

Q: Do you have any tips for people who are looking to travel to Disney during the summer and beyond?

Sforza Monchecourt: Hydrate in the Florida heat! (ha) Decide on the type of vacation you and your travel party want; is it a fast-paced vacation hitting one Walt Disney World park each day? Study the various offerings at each park and take the time to plan how to approach each day. Selecting FastPass+ options ahead of your visit will save time and help you experience the attractions and shows you want to. Build in time to rest each day so that you can enjoy our evening activities and fireworks. Beyond summer, we’ve got amazing offerings – Food & Wine Festival, Festival of the Holidays, Mickey’s-Not-So-Scary Halloween party…there’s always something fun happening here!