Margie Sitton describes herself as fearless, boundless and as an innovator. Learn more about her.
What I do: I lead the hotel meetings team (non-citywide) for the San Diego Tourism Authority. Our goal is to focus 100% on finding new meeting customers for San Diego supporting our 140 conference, convention, boutique and resort hotels.
How I got here: I have spent 37 years in the hotel business starting out as a desk clerk at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Los Angeles and leaving there 17 years later as director of sales and marketing. Prior to coming over to the SDTA, I was regional vice president of sales and marketing for Starwood Hotels in Southern California for 10 years.
Greatest career accomplishment: In 2019, I was recognized by the San Diego chapter of MPI on Global Meetings Industry Day with the Chapter’s first Excellence Award. And I have also been recognized as Salesperson of the Year by HSMAI.
Impressive stats: In 2014, we changed how my team would be measured and created the New Customer Acquisition Program. We only take credit against goal for a new meeting. Each year since, with one exception we have exceeded 100% of goal. We were at 96% of goal the year we didn’t hit 100%. Our one-of-a-kind site experience program has increased our conversion rate from 38% to over 90% for the last five years. Our high mark was 94%.
Specific improvement I’ve made: When I arrived at the SDTA, I was asked to write a software program that would efficiently communicate our leads to hotels. I also wanted to capture hotel responses to customers so everyone could see the entire sales process. The program, called iLead, also included electronic definite booking notices so we did not have to track down copies of contracts. This program was recognized by Prevue Magazine and I received a Visionary Award for collaboration in 2013. After five years, we now are using the industry standard software program from Simpleview and they are incorporating many of these enhancements into their core program.
What I am working on right now: In addition to creating the next phase of San Diego Meeting with a Continuing Education program, I am also starting a mentorship program to keep up and coming sales managers in San Diego and give them a path to stay here and to not move outside our city for advancement. I have several hotel leaders/regional leaders working with me to accomplish this.
What I do outside of work: In my free time, I am on a golf course or at my beach house on the Baja.