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As the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau Director, Trace Ward brings more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality/destination marketing arena.
His career includes senior-level sales & marketing positions with iconic brands such as Starwood, Hilton and Marriott. In his previous position he led the team as the Interim Executive Director for Experience Kissimmee, the convention and visitors bureau for Osceola County, FL, a department of more than 40 employees with a budget of $19 million and home to the world-famous theme parks.
At Experience Kissimmee, Ward oversaw all aspects of the bureau and was responsible for all sales and marketing deliverables. With a solid approach to sales and marketing, and a blend of strategic, creative and analytical skillsets, Ward and his team, along with the partnership of the community, were able to increase the bed tax collection in Osceola County from $36 million to $42 million in his tenure. This increase was accomplished through building awareness and inspiring both domestic and international visitors to experience their destination. Furthermore, the team took a targeted approach to the meetings & conventions market nearly doubling qualified leads to their meeting facilities.
Ward noted that his passion and enthusiasm for driving economic impact through tourism is a lifelong endeavor. He enjoys working with the industry partners and community in which he serves to bring about positive change. A native of Omaha, Neb., Ward received a degree in business management from Bellevue University, has earned certificates of sales training from Starwood, Marriott and Hilton, as well as has earned his Certified Destination Marketing Executive (CDME) degree from DMAI.
When he is not spending time strategizing on tourism development, Ward can be found playing tennis, hiking, skiing, traveling to new and exciting places or spending time with some of his 30 nieces and nephews. He is the youngest of fifteen siblings.