Sarah Davis Jones Completes STS Marketing College, Earns ‘Travel Marketing Professional’ Certification

Sarah Davis Jones, STS Marketing CollegeHickory, NC (September 14, 2022) – Sarah Davis Jones, CMP, TMP,  Director of Sales & Marketing at the Hickory Metro Convention Center & Visitors Bureau (Visit Hickory Metro) has completed the three-year program of the Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College and earned certification as a Travel Marketing Professional (TMP). The CMP initials behind her title represent that she is also a Certified Meeting Professional.

Jones oversees the sales and marketing team as it creates eye-catching content both in the meetings and events industry, as well as to visitors, to bring awareness of the Hickory Metro region as an exciting and inviting destination. Social media presence, destination guide creation, PR/Media site visits, client retention, and other items are among the many items Jones and her team are responsible for. The goal of the Hickory Metro Convention Center and Visitors Bureau is to continue to gain awareness of the Hickory area to host meetings, conventions, sporting events, and more along with promoting the destination as a great place to visit and explore. 

Jones was among 29 STS Marketing College graduates in the Class of 2022. Seven individuals also received their Festival and Event Planner certification. The graduates were announced at the STS Connections conference in Concord, North Carolina on Wednesday, September 7, 2022.  The program began in 1992 and has produced 1,323 TMPs.

STS Marketing College uses facilities at the Mercer University campus, located in Macon, Georgia, to teach travel marketing for a week each summer. The continuing education program began in 1992. 

Instructors are travel industry professionals such as convention and visitor’s bureau executives, public relations practitioners, sales and marketing consultants, and research experts. 

“Our Marketing College program is designed to provide applicable tools and working knowledge that our travel and tourism professionals can immediately implement when promoting their destinations, attractions, hotels, and events,” said Monica Smith, Southeast Tourism Society’s President, and Chief Executive Officer.

Study topics include online marketing strategies, creating an eye-catching and engaging tourism brochure, social media content planning and distribution, Google analytics, travel and tourism research, community engagement, economic impact studies, and budgeting. In addition to classroom work, students must complete two projects that relate to their job while using the skills they learned throughout the program.

STS celebrated 30 years of Marketing College this year. “The longevity of this program and the 1300+ TMPs to date are a testament to the quality of education, leadership development, and networking that are the cornerstones of Marketing College,” said Smith.

“Marketing College is one of the best learning opportunities I have had the privilege to attend,” Jones said.  “The peer connections and knowledge gained are truly invaluable. I am thankful that the organization that I am a part of sees the value in the quality education of its employees. Going back to ‘college’ for a week was not only fun but inspiring. Attaining my TMP is more than the credentials, it’s the life-long friendships made, the outside-of-the-box ideas gained, and an experience unlike any other in a college setting.” 

About Southeast Tourism Society (STS)

The Southeast Tourism Society is a not-for-profit membership association dedicated to the development of travel and tourism professionals and organizations within the southeast region. STS’ mission is to strengthen the economic vitality of the region by uniting all segments of the travel and tourism industry through the four pillars of education, advocacy, recognition, and networking. Member states include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.



Tonja Ray-Smith, TMP, FEP

Director of Marketing & Communications