Director of Visitor Engagement

Company Name: 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)


151 Third Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Contact Name: 

Glenda Perry


Job Description: 

The San Francisco Bay Area is the leading center of innovation and collaboration in the world, where conventional wisdom and traditional hierarchies are challenged, technology is advanced, and new ideas are embraced daily. SFMOMA is setting a new standard for what it means to be a contemporary art museum, while deepening our commitment to our community.

We seek a customer/visitor engagement guru, who is looking for an opportunity to reconceive the museum-going experience. Join us.


The Director of Visitor Engagement (DVE) reports to the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) within the External Relations division, and is responsible for creating and delivering an innovative service-focused experience for all museum visitors and members, while meeting attendance and admissions revenue goals. The DVE oversees the visitor engagement program, and delivers a consistent on-brand experience across touchpoints, including, but not limited to, the visitor onsite experience, membership conversion, marketing, web/digital and email communication with the goals of:

  • Meeting annual attendance and admissions revenue goals
  • Increasing the museum's market share of local arts-interested audiences and tourists
  • Increasing the number of repeat visitations
  • Increasing membership conversions
  • Increasing social media recommendations and positive sentiment
  • Improving the museum's word-of-mouth/Net Promoter Score
  • Engaging visitors from underrepresented audiences and communities

The position works across departments to create excellent visitor experiences, ultimately fostering long-term relationships with visitors and members.

The DVE oversees and mentors a management team (currently one Manager, two Assistant Managers and one Supervisor) that oversee the day-to-day running of the department. SFMOMA's VES staff (35+) is responsible for Admissions Ticketing, Access Control, Coat Checks, Koret Education Center staffing, Gallery and Information Desk positions. The VES staff are cross-trained and cross-functional, in alignment with museum-wide CRM and brand initiatives, and focus on creating an engaging on-site experience.



  • The Team:
    • Currently oversees a four person management team and a scalable VES team of 35+ part-time, full-time, and on call staff
    • Works closely with HR to ensure compliance with Union contract
    • Oversees payroll budget and reconciliation with partners in Finance to efficiently deploy appropriate staffing levels
    • Leads training and professional development opportunities for management team and oversees training for frontline team
  • Visitor Engagement:
    • Working with CMO, creates an innovative visitor engagement program that redefines the typical museum-going experience
    • Works closely with Curatorial and Content Strategy/Digital Engagement department on the design and implementation of gallery interpretive spaces and the visitor app
    • Leads a cross-departmental Visitor Engagement task force to align initiatives that affect experiences in the museum, pre-visit, onsite and post-visit
    • With CMO input, regularly re-evaluate visitor journey map and make appropriate changes to touchpoints to improve the overall experience
    • Sets annual performance goals, in consultation with CMO, to engage museum visitors and members while delivering SFMOMA brand promises
    • Works with HR, Director of Facilities and Operations and Director of Security to train security guards in policies and customer-centric service principles which deliver SFMOMA's brand promise
    • Leads visitor engagement program focusing on underserved audience groups, including tourists, visitors with varying ability status, and families
    • Oversee visit planning tools, working with internal partners to collaboratively address the physical and digital planning needs of visitors during pre-visit, visit, and post visit
    • Collaborates with Marketing and Human Resources to create alignment between the museum's brand and staff recruitment/on-boarding/training procedures and the larger institutional culture; ultimately reinforcing a museum-wide holistic approach to customer service.
    • Represents our visitors in exhibition and program planning processes, educating colleagues, identifying opportunities for deeper engagement, as well as risks that could compromise the visitor/member experience
    • Collaborates with Operations and Finance to exploit hospitality opportunities in the free and paid spaces
    • Oversees planning/execution for crowd management, in consultation with VE management team and internal partners
  • Attendance/Revenue, Budgets and Ticketing:
    • Working with internal partners, develop attendance and revenue models, to maximize revenue potential, meet payroll objectives and deliver an extraordinary visitor experience
    • Oversee, management and tracking of attendance/revenue and payroll projections/goals against actuals, working with internal partners in Finance
    • With management team, create, manage and monitor department expense and payroll budgets, staying on or under budget
    • Leads the strategy and development of the museum's ticketing functions, in collaboration with Membership and Marketing teams, delivering positive online, mobile and on-site ticket/sales experiences
    • Closely monitor transaction times and looks for opportunities to expedite onsite and online sales
    • Develops museum ticketing strategies, working with the CMO and internal partners, to review price points, comp use, and crowd control.
    • Establishes ticketing and line policies, in collaboration with internal partners, to manage priority customers, including aligning priorities across organization when all visitor groups cannot attend due to capacity
    • Partner with Director of Marketing + Sales to maximize earning potential through our tourism initiatives with travel partners and tour operators
    • Works closely with Marketing/Tourism and Group Sales to grow tourist segment from current 2% penetration
      • Prioritize upselling of tourist -related tickets, e.g., CityPass
    • Ensures that frontline support for live events, public programs and educational projects, with ticketing and onsite management, are at the highest levels
  • Accessibility:
    • Create a welcoming environment for people who have differing abilities. Educate staff to communicate/assist visitors with differing abilities appropriately.
    • Working with internal colleagues, develop an access plan and playbook
    • Ensures equal access for all visitors for general features of the SFMOMA building and programs that particularly define a museum experience.
    • Stays up to date on ADA standards and legal requirements
    • Benchmarks SFMOMA against other museum/hospitality accommodation and accessibility practices. Implements operational changes as needed
    • Creates and implements a plan for outreach to communities with physical or monetary accessibility barriers to SFMOMA
    • Ensures that SFMOMA's brand principles are applied equally to visitors of all abilities
  • Tessitura CRM:
    • Work with CMO and internal partners to coordinate, prioritize and implement best practice data capture tools, and engagement funnel strategies.
      • This includes alignment and adherence across departments to acquire a minimum/baseline data set, and preferred data set, at all identified touch points, such as all POS and online, data capture goals set and monitored, with systems to incentivize capture goals.
    • Build communication lifecycles that will deepen visitor engagement and maximize revenue.
      • Evaluate pre and post-visit communication to deepen engagement with SFMOMA, including selling tickets to future events and converting visitors to members.
    • Maximized Earned Income:
      • In coordination with the CMO, work with internal partners to coordinate, prioritize, plan and implement strategies to maximize earned income and increase the average price/transaction. This includes decision tree and scripts for VES staff at touchpoints with visitors to maximize revenue for the museum.
      • Partner closely with the Director of Membership to convert local visitors to members, and increase current 6% local market penetration
    • Market Research and Analytics:
      • In coordination with the CMO, oversee and manage how, when, where and why visitor research is fielded
        • Work with internal partners to define and refine ongoing analytics for SFMOMA, including the design of a high level visitor dashboard
        • Working with internal partners, secure attendance and visitor movement tracking tools (heat mapping, etc.), and develop dashboards and reports
      • Risk management:
        • In coordination with the CMO, proactively identify risks anywhere in the organization that could negatively impact the visitor/member experience
        • Works closely with colleagues in Security and Operations to protect visitors and art
        • Identifies risks that could negatively impact staff




Education and Training:  Bachelor degree in a related field from an accredited college or university. 

Work Experience:  minimum of 7 years of progressive management experience in the visual arts, cultural organization or retail/hospitality.  Experience supervising large teams of at least 25 people is required.


Skills and Abilities:  

  • Skill in creating, planning and delivering successful visitor experience and engagement strategies across the lifecycle of the visitor/customer journey
  • Experience with forecasting and projecting
  • Entrepreneurial, pro-active, results-driven, energetic, dedicated, diplomatic, and able to maintain a sense of humor and grace under pressure
  • Team player with proven ability to work collaboratively within complex and highly matrixed organizations, as well as build relationships with external constituencies.
  • Proven track record of managing and motivating a large staff in a fast-paced service-centric environment
  • Demonstrable knowledge of current trends and best practices for increasing visitor/customer attendance, engagement and satisfaction
  • Creative, strategic thinker with excellent organization, program management, planning and administrative skills, with ability to prioritize and coordinate multiple activities to meet deadlines
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Experience with ticketing, CRM and crowd management
  • Experience with Tessitura a plus
  • Experience with unionized workforces
  • Desirable but not essential, knowledge of museum operations, the arts industry, and arts marketing
  • Experience with developing and maintaining complex budgets
  • Knowledge of PC-based software, including Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Photoshop, project management applications such as Asana or Basecamp




Physical demands:  Combination of sedentary and active work. Must have an active/daily presence in the public spaces of the museum, in order to be able to inspect work visually and have face-to-face communication with front line staff and visitors.

Special environmental factors:  Public and office environment. Work schedule includes evenings, weekends, holidays, and limited travel.




POSITION:                      Director of Visitor Engagement

DEPARTMENT:                 Marketing, Communications, and Visitor Engagement

SUPERVISOR:                  Chief Marketing Officer

SCHEDULE:                       Full-time


We are an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity.