Director, Travel Trade
Business Development | Santa Rosa, CA | Full Time
Sonoma County Tourism (SCT) is the official destination stewardship organization for California's Sonoma County. We are a private, not-for-profit marketing and sales organization dedicated to promoting overnight stays and creating a sustainable hospitality economy here in one of Travel & Leisure’s Best Places to Travel 2021.
SCT's office is located off Airport Blvd. in Santa Rosa, CA.
The Director, Travel Trade is a member of the Business Development team providing leadership, direction and resource stewardship to the organization’s overall sales and marketing efforts. The Director is responsible for driving visitation to Sonoma County through a program of work targeted at the domestic and international flexible independent traveler “FIT” and group leisure sectors including Tour Operators, Travel Agents, Receptive Operators, Wholesalers, Resellers and online travel agencies “OTA”. As the destination expert for domestic and international Travel Trade, the Director will work to ensure this segment is served using the most effective programming.
This position requires periodic domestic and international travel.
Domestic Leisure Sales
- Oversee the domestic leisure sales programming to include sectors such as tour operators and travel agents, identifying opportunities for promoting Sonoma County to the entities that fit with the brand and countywide experiences.
- Create and manage a domestic strategy that expands visibility of the destination, increases overnight stays at area lodging properties, and provides insights on trends to drive decision making.
International Sales and Marketing
- Oversee the organization’s international sales and marketing efforts including working with contracted representation firms.
- Manage the international travel trade scope of work and coordinate with the Marketing and Communications department on marketing/PR initiatives and opportunities.
- Working closely with our brand awareness initiatives and each international market representative agency, balance both the general brand messaging with the market’s cultural nuances to ensure SCT has compelling messaging, creative treatment, and an effective communication strategy for each market.
What You Will Do
Strategic planning and execution:
- Active participation in the strategic planning of the organization. Management of the Travel Trade strategic plan goals, key performance indicators (KPI) and development of an annual action plan.
- Annual budgeting and monthly budget management.
International Representation Firm Oversite
Work as the primary contact with each international representation firm’s travel trade team to develop strategies and tactics aimed at building brand awareness for and driving business to Sonoma County as an overnight destination, within the travel trade and, when applicable, consumer audiences.
- Works with each representation firm to develop strategies for the travel trade.
- Develop strategies and metrics that monitor coverage in priority outlets and integration with in-country influencers (e.g. U.S. Commercial Services offices). Monitor the program to ensure metrics are being met/exceeded.
- Work with each representation firm to develop metrics to track inclusion of Sonoma County in itineraries and trips offered into the destination; programs developed through airlines, tour operators, wholesalers and travel agencies; attendance at international trade shows, agent trainings and in-market FAM trips and other activities outlined in the annual plan. Monitor the program to ensure metrics are being met/exceeded.
- Partner with the marketing team to develop a domestic advertising plan including print, digital and social channels that reach travel professionals. Work with the team to identify co-op marketing partnership and sponsorship opportunities for Sonoma County to gain additional recognition at events and within programs that target key audiences.
- Develops and delivers training programs that communicate Sonoma County’s brand and associated selling points to applicable travel professionals.
- Represents Sonoma County at domestic and international trade shows. Determines the presence at each show that results in raising destination awareness. And develops a post-event communication strategy to continue building client relationships.
- Lead the team in creating and executing a highly effective FAM program.
- Identifies and implements performance metrics for travel trade activities.
- Work to strengthen partnerships between SCT and entities involved in global sales and marketing including, but not limited to: Visit California, SF Travel, Brand USA, United States Travel Association (USTA), National committees in key markets.
- Reviews and suggests programs and opportunities for Sonoma County to drive group leisure and individual traveler tourism to the destination.
- Reports metrics and activity to the Tourism Development Committee during meetings.
- Engage Sonoma County partners and showcase the business opportunity of working with a global market through education sessions, partner opportunities, marketing co-opportunities and industry newsletters.
Trade Show Representation
- Work with rep firms and through partnerships to identify and administer Sonoma County’s presence at domestic and international trade shows. Responsibilities include:
- Identify and evaluate trade show opportunities, budget for each show, represent Sonoma County, and develop return-on-investment metrics.
- Develop the destination’s presence – booth design, collateral materials.
- Work with SCT sales and PR as well as in-market representatives to determine staffing.
- Identify partnership opportunities for Sonoma County businesses and solicit participation.
- Oversee the follow-up outreach strategy upon conclusion of the show.
What You Bring
Education & Experience
- Bachelor's degree with academic course work in a relevant discipline (i.e., public administration, communications, journalism, public information, business administration or other closely related fields of study)
- International tourism or hospitality experience preferred.
- Minimum of 7-10 years experience with a convention/visitors/tourism bureau, hotel, and convention center or hospitality industry-related business working with the travel trade or international marketing/sales arenas.
- Strong background working with both domestic and international tour operators, receptive operators, travel wholesalers, OTA’s and travel agencies.
Knowlege, Skills, & Abilities
- Strong technology skills including Microsoft Office Suite, virtual platforms, sales programs, and CRM databases.
- Ability to exercise judgment and diplomacy in a wide variety of public contact situations.
- An excellent communicator both orally and in writing as well as public presentation and interaction skills.
- Network of contacts with all tourism-related entities both within and outside Sonoma County.
- Skilled in high level, professional customer service
- Ability to work effectively with people of all levels and cultures
- Ability to perform consistently in a fast-paced, multi-tasked and deadline-driven environment
- Must be flexible, diplomatic, and reliable in meeting deadlines and managing priorities as directed
- Must be willing to travel internationally, have a valid driver’s license, and either has or is eligible to receive a passport (U.S. or home country) and international visas as required.
Physical Requirements: Ability to lift up to 40 lbs. Frequently sits, stands, and walks. Regularly twists/turns, bends, kneels, and reaches overhead. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and ability to adjust focus. Travel by car and plane is required.
Work Environment: SCT currently offers hybrid flexibility, generally onsite at the office 3 days/week and remote 2 days/week.
Benefits: We offer competitive benefits including medical (Kaiser or Anthem Blue Cross), dental, vision, life insurance, employee assistance program (EAP), 401k + match, paid time off, and paid holidays.
How to Apply: We invite qualified candidates to submit an application and include a current resume and a cover letter. In your cover letter, please include your salary expectations.
Sonoma County Tourism is committed to providing equal employment opportunities. We believe a diverse team brings a wider range of personal and professional experiences and perspectives. Moreover, we recognize that diversity and inclusion benefit our agency, our clients, and the communities in which we work and live.