Head of Visitor Marketing and Sales

Bishop Auckland, Durham
£35,000 to £40,000 dependent on experience
07 Aug 2017
01 Sep 2017
Job Discipline
Direct Marketing, Sales
Experience Level
Contract Type
Full Time

Auckland Castle Trust (ACT) was set up in 2012 and is a registered charity. The initial aim was to secure the future of the celebrated cycle of pictures of Jacob and his twelve sons by Francisco de Zurbarán as a symbolic act for the people of the North East.

ACT then developed a much more ambitious vision: to put local people at the centre of stimulating the revitalisation and regeneration of Bishop Auckland and the surrounding area by transforming Auckland Castle, the Bishop’s palace and home to the Prince Bishops of Durham for over 900 years, from an unknown private dwelling into a vibrant world-class visitor destination for local, national and international visitors, focusing on culture and heritage.

It comprises a series of related projects both in and around Auckland Castle and in the nearby market place of the town itself, the first of which will launch in 2017, others in 2018 and 2019:

  • Auckland Castle, including State Rooms, The Long Dining Room with Zurbarán paintings and the Chapel (opening, after major renovations, in May 2018).
  • A Faith Museum:  the national exhibition of religion in the UK, from pre-history to the modern day, in partnership with the British Museum, the V & A and others.
  • An innovative reinterpretation of the Walled Garden with spherical glass bubbles designed by Japanese architects SANAA, which will house a bistro restaurant
  • A new ‘Welcome Building’ (opening Spring 2018)  in the Market Square designed by Neil Mclaughlin which will combine an introduction to the project, ticketing, and a central meeting point on the ground floor, and a 360 degree lookout tower from which to survey the surrounding landscape.
  • A Spanish Art Gallery including works from Museo del Prado, Madrid and other public and private collections
  • A Deer Park, parkland and walks
  • A series of Gardens in the immediate vicinity outside Auckland Castle
  • A Gallery of Mining Art (nationally significant collection of artwork by miners from the NE).
  • A Boutique Hotel
  • A Local Art Gallery, the POD.

The aim is to attract international and national visitors as well as local and regional audiences with a target of 180,000 visitors by 2020.

Job Overview/Main purpose of Job
This is an excellent opportunity for an experienced Senior Marketing professional with energy, vision and passion and who delivers operational excellence which supports business growth. The Head of Visitor Marketing and Sales is a new senior position major which is being created as we strengthen the marketing department to prepare for the launch and promotion of this new visitor destination.  You will have overall responsibility for development, management and implementation of marketing strategy and plans for the Auckland Castle visitor destination overall and its different elements, and including sales and longer term audience development.

Clear articulation of the markets that Auckland Castle is serving, and their size and trends, and the segments within these markets that ACT should be targeting - taking into account our overall mission and brand positioning – will be important. The development and setting of annual objectives for the different ACT projects and requisite strategies which will engage, attract and deliver to these target audience segments is also a key requirement, working closely with the Director of Strategy and marketing.

The Head of Visitor Marketing and Sales will also be responsible for specifying the required product offers, pricing and promotional activities for these marketing strategies to succeed, as well as trade marketing, relationships with relevant Destination Marketing Organisations.

Although Auckland Castle itself has a long history, we are a young organisation and still at a formative stage of development as we prepare to open for business as a visitor destination. Therefore it is essential that you are able to thrive and operate effectively, including managing a team, in an entrepreneurial and fast moving/paced environment, sometimes more akin to a start-up company.

This new position will report directly to the Director of Strategy and Marketing.

Key tasks and responsibilities

Overall, managing the day to day marketing activities as well as long term strategy for the visitor destination

  1. Developing  a cost effective marketing strategy and plan for launch and effective development of Auckland Project  visitor destination, in line with the organisation’s  objectives and brand
  2. Develop marketing strategy and plans for launch, promotion and long term audience development both of the destination and, where appropriate, different elements of project – for example, Mining Art Gallery, Walled Garden and Restaurant.
  3. Planning and implementing promotional  campaigns to improve audience development, and increasing the level of engagement within the site for new and returning visitors, and measuring results
  4. Evaluate and report on the effectiveness of the marketing plan overall, and key elements
  5. Managing the visitor destination marketing budget.
  6. Work with the Director of Strategy and Marketing to develop and agree visitor marketing and sales objectives, establish meaningful kpis and performance measures for campaigns which can be used to inform future local and national strategies. Also, to agree priorities and report on progress against key objective.
  7. Manage successful relationships with external creative and media agencies, and ensure budgets are me
  8. Ensure that all key internal stakeholders are kept informed of marketing strategy and plans and understood by all who implement plans
  9. Optimising the end to end customer journey, working with Head of Engagement, to deliver positive visitor outcomes in line with brand, and satisfaction as well as profitability.
  10. To strengthen collaboration with relevant local and national cultural and tourism businesses and national agencies including the likes of Visit Britain, DMOs, and potential partner organisations.
  11. Overall responsibility for visitor sales, including group sales domestically and overseas, to agreed objectives.
  12. To represent ACT at relevant visitor related tourism and trade fairs, taking stands where appropriate, conferences and events.
  13. To build and manage a skilled and motivated team.
  14. Develop the specification for performance and tracking data (visitor numbers and profile, spend levels etc) and external research, to ensure it provides actionable insights that inform our marketing strategies and activities.
  15.  To work closely with other colleagues in the department, in particular the Head of Communications to ensure integrated thinking and delivery. Also, to work effectively across departments where clear communication of marketing objective

Person specification/experience

Knowledge, skills, experience and characteristics the candidate will need to demonstrate therefore include:     


Being able to manage not only budgets, but also staff and projects

Developing and implementing marketing processes, performance management and quality control

Ability to focus and drive to meet goals and deadlines and manage demanding workload with competing priorities.

Experience of working with and developing brands

Excellent people, teamwork, leadership and management skills. Previous team leadership is essential

Excellent communication skills – written and oral

At least five years relevant experience working in a busy marketing department and/or in an agency.

To be flexible in an evolving work environment

A track record in destination tourism, cultural sector or other relevant sector


A successful track record in marketing and sales including good experience of digital and social media marketing, and evidence of personal and professional development

Drive, energy and commitment


A track record in destination tourism, cultural sector or other relevant sector

marketing background is a strong plus

An interest in art/heritage/visitor destination/regeneration

Experience of working with a range of stakeholders

Experience developing visitor destination brand and offer

Experience in targeting national, regional as well as local consumer audiences

Knowledge/experience of travel trade  relevant to our market

Relationships with DMOs and tourism bodies

Driving licence