Director of Tourism
Greater Starkville Development Partnership
dba Starkville Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Greater Starkville Development Partnership (GSDP) dba the Starkville Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is seeking applications for the position of Director of Tourism. Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, resume, and a minimum of three professional references to the GSDP: Attn: Mike Tagert, President & Chief Executive Officer, 200 East Main Street, Starkville, MS 39759 or via email to mtagert@Starkville.org (preferred).
The deadline for submitted applications is December 4th, 2020 at 5:00pm.
VISION: The new Director of Tourism will have a great opportunity to build upon the city’s tourism heritage and its energetic legacy as Mississippi’s College Town. From Southeastern Conference (SEC) sporting events to history, culinary, and cultural tourism, this position offers a diverse number of nationally-recognized assets to promote. We are seeking a professional with a thorough knowledge of travel and tourism development and marketing; one who is passionate about Starkville and Mississippi State University. The ideal candidate will be a visionary and able to communicate their vision to our various number of stakeholders and the general public. The candidate should be an experienced leader who can serve as a catalyst, innovator, and resource for our local hospitality business sector.
I. GENERAL RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES:
To build-upon, research, develop, manage, and implement a program designed to promote and attract all types of tourists, retirees, other visitors, conventions, and related activities to the Greater Starkville area. This individual shall be responsible for the success of overall tourism efforts within Starkville and Oktibbeha County; and shall play a lead role in articulating and communicating the brand identity of Starkville: Mississippi’s College Town. Tourism assets include but are not limited to all SEC sporting events, the U.S. Grant Presidential Library, the Templeton Ragtime Music Festival, the John Grisham Archives, the
Little Sturgis Bike Rally, a growing sports tournament product, arts and entertainment festivals, and many other local events and opportunities. The new Director will work closely with all staff to maximize the general marketing and promotion of our community with the needs of the local hospitality sector, all local stakeholders, and our business community.
- MANAGEMENT: Manage day-to-day operations of the Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) including development, creation, management, and placement of all content as related to tourism and marketing for the organization and its local events. This job requires an individual capable of handling multiple projects simultaneously. Assist the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in the development and implementation of annual budget and marketing plans. The Director of Tourism shall assist all staff with communicating the organization’s values, vision, and direction.
- CONVENTION/CONFERENCE EVENTS: Develop and implement plans to promote the Greater Starkville and Mississippi State University region, as a destination for research, educational, and business association conferences. Collaborate with city, county, and university officials as needed to attract new convention and conference opportunities. Support and welcome tour groups by providing visitor and community information as appropriate.
- CERTIFIED RETIREMENT COORDINATOR: Administer and maintain the State-approved Hometown Retirement Community Certification as governed by the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA). Responsible for carrying-out the day-to-day functions of the program. Provide the CEO and board members, as applicable, updates on regional and national trends to recruit retirees to our community. Manage metrics that quantify and justify the program as required by MDA and local stakeholders.
- SPORTING TOURNAMENTS: Collaborate with stakeholders, including the Starkville Parks & Recreation Division, to develop and promote the Greater Starkville area as a location for youth sporting tournaments utilizing facilities and resources of the Starkville Parks system, the new Cornerstone Park Complex, Mississippi Horse Park and other community facilities as required. Collaborate with city, county, and university officials as needed to attract new sporting event opportunities.
- TOURISM DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS: Work effectively with MDA’s Tourism Division, VisitMississippi, the Department of Finance & Administration, Mississippi Tourism Association, Mississippi Main Street Association, Mississippi Economic Council, Southeast Tourism Society, and other organizations dedicated to the promotion of tourism, conventions, retirement development, familiarization tours, and other general promotions within the state and region. Work closely with all local partners including but not limited to the United Way, the Starkville Area Arts Council, the Starkville Main Street Association, and other community development organizations. Participate and actively engage in matching local, state, and federal grant programs by writing and developing grant proposals for projects that promote our city and our county.
- PUBLIC RELATIONS: In the absence of the CEO, act as a spokesperson for our organization. Assist the CEO in developing positive rapport with media. Exercise good judgment, initiative, tact and diplomacy in all public contact situations and exhibit exceptional communication skills, both written and verbal – including print and video correspondence. Must be capable of drafting, editing, and finalizing written professional correspondence. Experience in digital communications and computer experience related to the management of content is required for this position. Maintain communications with the local tourism industry (hotels, restaurants, museums, festivals, bike rallies, athletic events, etc.) and assist as necessary and reasonable. Coordinate and participate in educational/hospitality training seminars for industry-related employees.
- MARKETING: Build upon, research, and develop effective advertising campaigns which positively promote Starkville and the region to general tourists, sports enthusiasts, meeting/convention planners, tour operators, potential retirees, festivals, and film makers and agencies. Assist the organization in all promotion and development of assets and events to market the Starkville community and Oktibbeha County. Experience in digital communications and computer experience related to the management of content is required for this position.
- BOARD MEETINGS: Coordinate and formulate the agenda for monthly board meetings of the Convention & Visitors Bureau; record and maintain the minutes for monthly board meetings; plan and recommend programs to achieve the goals, and keep CEO and board members informed on regional and national programs that are applicable to tourism in our community.
- OTHER GENERAL DUTIES: Other duties as may be assigned by the CEO of the Partnership. The organization requires that all staff members contribute, as guided by the CEO, to the overall execution of our mission, which is to enhance education, entrepreneurship, and the quality of life for our entire community.
The Director shall be directly accountable to the CEO of the Partnership.
IV. QUALIFICATIONS / APPLICATION PROCESS:
This individual should be passionate about the promotion of Starkville as Mississippi’s College Town and all that this destination market provides.
Applicants should possess the minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a four-year accredited university or college in marketing, hospitality management, sports management, communications, economic development, or a related field; and a minimum of three (3) years of experience in tourism marketing or a related field. The position does require some travel and the ability to positively represent our community regionally and beyond. Experience in digital communications and computer experience related to the management of content is required for this position. Applicant must also possess a valid driver’s license.
SALARY AND BENEFITS: The salary and benefits are commensurate with qualifications, education, and work experience levels of the candidate.
APPLICATIONS and PROCESS: Please provide a cover letter, resume, and a minimum of three professional references to Mike Tagert, President & Chief Executive Officer, at mtagert@Starkville.org. Office: 662-323-3322. Any questions regarding the job may also be directed to Mike Tagert. After December 4th, applications will be reviewed and a limited number of applicants will be invited for an interview.
The Greater Starkville Development Partnership is an equal opportunity employer to all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, age, sex, religion, sexual orientation, national origin or any other basis prohibited by law.