With over 75 luxury suites and meeting spaces, there almost always seems to be an event happening somewhere at Daytona International Speedway. From race days to trade shows to high school prom nights, Senior Manager of Special Events Lisa Pinto and her team work diligently to provide a consistent and amazing hospitality experience for everyone that steps foot into the “World Center of Racing.”
Pinto began her career at DIS as a part-time hospitality coordinator and in 2010 was promoted to her current role, which now encompasses all of the hospitality options available across the entire property.
“Everybody starts seasonally here,” Pinto says. “Now, fan hospitality is our focus, and we’ve grown that to the Rolex Lounge, the DAYTONA 500 Club, and Harley J’s and we’re looking to grow that staff.”
With direct access to Gatorade Victory Lane and a great view of the start/finish line, the DAYTONA 500 Club offers a truly unique race day experience.
Pinto and her team of two full-time event coordinators assemble and manage everything that goes into a successful hospitality event inside DAYTONA’s state-of-the-art facilities.
“We work hand-in-hand with the event operations team, really with all of departments here when we are doing a special event,” Pinto says. “On race day, we have to coordinate catering, security, maintenance, facility operations. Making sure everything is set and ready to go.”
Leading into each new year, Pinto’s team hires and trains the event day hospitality staff that provides the excellent customer service that has become a part of the DAYTONA experience. Throughout the month of December they will bring in a large number of event day staff and educate them to help give any visitor to Daytona International Speedway a world-class experience.
From the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA to the DAYTONA 500 to Bike Week, DIS is alive with on-track excitement for the first few months of the year, followed by a short lull before the July races. However, that is not the case for Pinto’s team, which runs events throughout the property every month of the year.
Pinto has been a member of the DIS staff for over 13 years.
“After Bike Week, that’s just the start of prom season,” Pinto says. “We’ll have a lot of end-of-school-year fundraising dinners. And then before you know it, we’re back in July!”
On a seasonal basis, the hospitality staff can burgeon to well over 100 workers for the DAYTONA 500 and other leading events, including a core base of 40-50 staff that work throughout peak season. Several non-profit organizations also volunteer their time throughout the year to help around the facility.
No matter what kind of hospitality area the fans and clients may be entering or who may be working in that space, Pinto’s team works to ensure that anyone’s time at the facility is up to par with the rest of DIS fan experience.
“No matter what type of guest you are, we want you to get the same treatment,” Pinto says. “Our staff is trained so that they can go between any hospitality location.”
With a versatile and well-trained staff, the Special Events team is able to execute a wide variety of different fan experiences throughout the venue on race day.
“We’re making sure that everything happens to a tee,” Pinto says. “In Harley J’s for example, we make sure that we have driver appearances, that the food is out, the floral is arranged, everything is in order for it to run like clockwork.”
With several bars, a movie theatre and dozens of flat-screen TVs, Harley J's is just one of many customizable event spaces that DIS has to offer.
In addition to fan hospitality, Pinto’s team also arranges the corporate concierge staff to provide an unforgettable event experience for clients.
On top of all of that, the Special Events team also trains ambassadors for guided garage tours during event weekends, as well as golf cart drivers and a number of other event staff.
Of course, Pinto’s team is always striving for ways to enhance the visitor experience at the “World Center of Racing.”
“How are we taking this level of service, and take that to the next level? That’s where we’re at now,” she says.
To put on any event at Daytona International Speedway, it truly does take the entire team working together to get the job done.
“We work with event operations, venue operations, security, everybody doing their part,” Pinto says of the DIS staff. “Right now, we have about 14 holiday parties going on (this month), as well as Magic of Lights going on at the same time.”
No matter what time of year or what type of event, Lisa Pinto and her Special Events team are dedicated to helping make the “World Center of Racing” a truly one-of-a-kind experience for all.
With outdoor seating, an elegant open area and dozens of adjacent suites, the Rolex 24 Lounge is tailor-made for any number of events.
“As funny as it sounds, it truly does take a village. (My team) are the heart and soul of it,” Pinto says. “They’re so important to what we do as a larger team.”
Interested in joining the event staff at Daytona international Speedway? For more information or to attend one of our upcoming hiring events, visit here.
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