SearchWide Global Seeking New Leader for the City of South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau

March 6, 2019 – After suffering a massive hit during the Great Recession, employment and hiring within the travel, hotel and hospitality industry continues to rebound. Last year, according to one set of survey metrics, the industry added more than 527,000 jobs (2.6 million since 2004). That number is likely to increase this year as global tourism and traveling in general are expected to rise.

Overall, the travel and hospitality market is estimated to generate an economic impact of $6.5 trillion worldwide this year. In the U.S. alone, the $1.5 trillion industry accounts for nearly eight million jobs – more than five percent of the total jobs nationwide. This has created a massive uptick of hiring within the travel sector.

Recently, St. Paul, MN-based executive recruiting firm SearchWide Global was selected by the City of South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau to lead its search for a new executive director. Keith Arnold announced his retirement in October. Search firm vice president Nicole Newman is leading the assignment.


“The way I feel about things now, we have righted a nearly capsizing ship and set it off in a real good direction and I think it’s time for someone else to take it over and move it to the next step,” said Mr. Arnold.

This executive director position functions as the chief administrative officer of the convention and visitors bureau and is responsible for the management, organizational development, planning and direction of the visitors bureau, sales and marketing efforts and the convention center. The incoming leader will be responsible for developing strategy and implementation of group sales for conventions and conferences.

The incoming leader must have the ability and experience to effectively work with people, said SearchWide. The individual must have the ability to speak to the media and public on a regular basis for both prepared and impromptu events. The right leader will have knowledge of the latest innovative use of digital and social media, including search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and redirected markets. In addition, SearchWide said that the incoming leader must have knowledge of latest innovative marketing and promotion techniques, as well as public relations and public relations techniques, including geofencing, pixilation, among other capabilities.

Experienced Recruiters

SearchWide Global is a full-service executive search firm focused on the travel, tourism and convention, hotel and lodging industries and sports and entertainment sectors. It specializes in C-level, director and management level searches for Fortune 500 corporations to mid-sized public and private companies.

SearchWide Global Finds CEO for Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau
Recently, SearchWide Global placed Martha Sheridan as president and CEO of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. Mike Gamble, president and chief executive officer of SearchWide Global, led the assignment along with vice president Kellie Henderson.

The firm recently filled chief executive officer positions for Visit Aurora, Visit Baltimore, the Greater Newark Convention Center & Visitors Bureau, Visit West Hollywood, Kentucky State Fair Board, and the Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau. SearchWide Global is currently engaged in searches for top leaders at the Mobile Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Empire State Building Co., among others.

Ms. Newman works in all sectors of the hospitality and travel industry. Her experience in group sales, catering and event planning, according to clients, gives her a unique perspective on executive level recruitment.

SearchWide Global has also unveiled a new recruiting service specifically for customers looking to fill management roles quickly. The new service, SearchWide Connect, brings speed of placement to the market, without sacrificing the quality of candidates, said the search firm. “This division of SearchWide is led by a team of young and smart industry professionals who exhibit the ability to quickly find tomorrow’s industry leaders,” said Mr. Gamble. “With unemployment at an all-time low and the war on talent at an all-time high, speed to market is critically important to many of our clients, especially in the hotel and resort sector.”

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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