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Five Minutes With: Sharrona Burns

Five Minutes With: Sharrona Burns

Sharrona Burns | Rock & Roll Hall of Fame | Senior Director of Sales

Sharrona Burns, who earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Cleveland State University, holds National Tour Association's Certified Tour Professional designation and Certified Travel Industry Specialist designation administered by Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis in conjunction with the American Bus Association. An Ohio Travel Association Ohio Tourism Leadership Academy program graduate, she serves on travel industry boards including Ohio Travel Association and Ohio Has It Advisory Council.

Burns, with Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for 23 years, is responsible for group sales, meetings, events, sales promotions and special accounts generating revenue and attendance. She sets department strategy with the vice president of marketing & sales, builds tactical plan, prepares budget, develops partnerships and packages, acquires new accounts, cultivates relationships to generate repeat business, identifies new sales opportunities, engages in networking and outside sales, supervisors a small staff, and represents the Rock Hall nationwide at trade shows.

On Changes

Social media's impact is incredible. Our fans are an extension of our marketing and sales department. They can take photos and share them on social media as they tour. We have 6-foot-tall LONG LIVE ROCK art on our exterior plaza to encourage photography and special photo locations throughout the Rock Hall and Museum store. Our social media handles and hashtags are on marketing materials and at If fans use #LONGLIVEROCK, their photos may be showcased on our website or in official ads or promotional materials.

On Challenges

The greatest challenges: attracting and retaining a high-performing workforce, encouraging new and younger audiences to embrace motorcoach group travel, making international travel easy and enjoyable while maintaining safety and security, and generating awareness of the importance and economic benefits of the travel industry to gain support for local and state budgets and infrastructure. A study published in March 2018 reveals the Rock Hall had a total impact of $199 million in business sales in Cuyahoga County. Visitors spent an estimated $127.4 million in 2017, averaging $349,000 daily, onsite and elsewhere—direct spending generating additional benefits through indirect and induced effects. Rock Hall visitor spending supported 1,872 jobs and $59.9 million in income earned, including indirect and induced benefits. Visitors generated nearly $13.4 million in state and local tax revenues and $1.2 million in bed tax revenues. It's amazing to see the impact one museum can have on the economy.

On Opportunities

Opportunities I see: exposing the younger generation to the benefits of travel and employment and career development opportunities within the industry; continuing to focus on incorporating technology and innovation to improve products and services. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame actively implements strategies to attract and retain new employees and make professional development accessible to all employees, to ensure high performance. Empowering innovation is a priority and core Rock Hall value, resulting in improvements for visitors and staff.

For Newcomers

Every newcomer should know how fortunate they are to be part of our amazing industry and the vast opportunities to grow and develop, personally and professionally. This industry is full of amazing, smart, kind professionals who love travel and meeting new people. This industry creates wonderful lifelong memories for people of all races, ethnicities, religions and sexual preferences. It celebrates diversity and inclusion.

Edited by Amy L Charles, Editorial Director for Groups Today.

This article originally appeared in Groups Today.

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