Departmental moves strengthen sales and experience focus
SAN ANTONIO (May 2, 2023) – As the group meetings market continues a robust rebound, Visit San Antonio strengthens its Destination Sales and Experience teams with a critical new hire and internal promotions.
Caroline Gardner joins Visit San Antonio as the new Director of Mid-Atlantic Sales, managing the organization’s Washington, D.C. office. Gardner brings more than 25 years of proven results to her new role. She has a combined total of 14 years in the citywide association convention sales world focusing on the Washington D.C. market, first selling Washington, D.C. with Destination D.C. and then Chicago with Choose Chicago, selling McCormick Place, the largest convention center in North America.
With a focus on business development, she targeted citywide association and corporate business and sold to large legacy and tradeshow accounts. Not to be overshadowed, she spent a combined 12 years in hotel sales, catering and convention services with Marriott International and Hyatt Hotels selling several properties/services/destinations both on property and remotely. Prior to joining Visit San Antonio, Caroline spent time with both CNTV (Convention News Television) and Hosts Global selling their services to association customers in the D.C. market.
Based in the greater Washington, D.C. area, she will be responsible for developing and maintaining strategic account relationships within the association and corporate markets.
“We are thrilled to welcome Caroline to our robust sales team, where she will hit the ground running finding San Antonio new, national and global citywide associations to fill the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center and our hotels,” said Marc Anderson, President and CEO, Visit San Antonio.
“We welcome Caroline and are equally thrilled to announce upward movement of our internal team members. Nestor, Colleen and Karen are proven performers, and we are proud of their progression in our organization and all they do to keep San Antonio a top meeting destination,” added Anderson.
Néstor Núñez has been promoted to Director of Corporate Sales – Citywide, handling Texas and the West Coast for corporate citywide events over 1,000 rooms on peak. Núñez has 14 years under his belt selling San Antonio to nearly every geographical market in the U.S.; from small meetings out of Texas to mid-market West Coast, Chicago, D.C., to his most recent role in the Northeast.
Colleen Buchanan has been promoted to Senior Sales Manager handling the Northeast market with a focus on corporate citywide events. Her career in hospitality began as a City of San Antonio event coordinator at the Alamodome and Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center before joining Visit San Antonio as a Destination Experience Manager then successive promotions within the Destination Sales team.
Karen Bippert has been promoted to Associate Director of Destination Experience. She has been a vital member of the Destination Experience team for over five years. In her more than 25-year career, Karen has been an asset throughout the San Antonio travel and tourism industry working with multiple businesses including SeaWorld San Antonio, San Antonio IMAX, Advantage Rent-A-Car and The Buckhorn Saloon & Museum. In her new role, she will continue to deliver excellence in Visit San Antonio’s destination service offerings and truly authentic attendance building experiences.