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Director of Guest Operations

The Florida Aquarium
Tampa, United States Posted: March 12, 2024

The Director of Guest Operations is responsible for the departmental staff, program, and resource management for the front of house Operations Department (Guest Services, Admissions, Splash Pad, Environmental Services, MOD program), and campus-wide security operations.  This position directly supervises the Guest Services Managers and is the primary point of contact for day-to-day operations for Team Members and guests. The Director of Guest Operations reports directly to Senior Vice President of Engagement & Learning and works in conjunction with all departments within The Florida Aquarium (TFA) as well as outside partners to ensure smooth communication and daily operations. This position should be innovative and seek ways to enhance our operational efficiency procedures through the lens of Amazing Guest Experience.

Essential Position Functions
  • Directly supervises the Guest Services Managers and Manager of Environmental Services.
  • Oversees the Manager on Duty (MOD) program for Guest Services to ensure daily coverage.
  • Manages the Security program and all internal security matters including perimeter control, surveillance, behind the scenes access, parking security, internal and external theft investigations, and all other security issues as outlined by security plan.
  • Oversees outsourced security services relationship, contract, and onsite team, assuring that standards for security operations and performance are maintained.
  • Serves as Incident Commander (IC) within TFA Incident Command System (ICS) for emergency situations as assigned.
  • Works with Director of Occupational Health & Safety on coordination and execution of live-action emergency drills throughout the year.
  • Directs Manager of Environmental Services (ES) to ensure that all cleaning and associated ES tasks are implemented efficiently and consistently.
  • Ensures smooth flow of communications and procedures within Guest Services and Environmental Services.
  • Oversees developing, implementing, and enforcing standard operating policies and procedures for functional areas and ensures they are kept up to date and operationalized with Team Members.
  • Oversees parking lot management and flow operating procedures (e.g., queue garden, guest pathways), including crowd control.
  • Establishes and oversees cash handling policies and procedures in all Guest Services areas to promote accuracy and efficiency, including minimizing cash shortages and overages.
  • Ensures that reports needed for day-to-day operation are generated and shared with the Guest Operations management team to maintain high levels of operational service.  
  • Works with associated personnel in monitoring revenue for added value experiences and ensures goals are met (e.g., membership sales in Guest Services, special tours and added-value experiences).
  • Works closely with the Director of Learning to promote collaboration and unification of guest-facing roles.
  • Works with Marketing Team to implement operational aspects of promotions and guest-facing events (e.g., Days of Discovery, holiday break activities, extended hours, etc.), including additional coverage/staffing as needed and providing input for improvements and efficiencies.
  • Acts as key liaison between the Operations and internal and external stakeholders, including:
  • Campus Partners (e.g., Event Network, SSA, Photogenic, etc.), ensuring smooth daily operations.
  • Port Tampa Bay staff to facilitate communication on cruise ship schedules and other campus-related communications.
  • Tampa Fire Rescue/Fire Marshall and Tampa Police Department, including day-to-day onsite coverage of police officers.
  • Supports and mentors management team with hiring, coaching, counseling, promotions, development, and training of all full- and part-time staff in the Operations Department. 
  • Establishes and maintains community partnerships as a representative of The Florida Aquarium.
  • Ensures all departmental operations are conducted in accordance with the policies and procedures of all governing agencies (AZA, OSHA, USCG, etc.) and report any unsafe conditions.
  • Helps drive success for team goals to support the departmental and overall Florida Aquarium strategic plans.
  • Serves as an active and contributing member of the Aquarium Management Team.
  • Delivers extraordinary customer service to all Aquarium guests and internal customers.
  • Supports TFA’s Shared Purpose by participating in a Conservation Day of Action shift on an annual basis.
  • Other duties as assigned by direct supervisor.
Education Requirements and Technical Skills
  • Four-year degree in business or hospitality/visitor services related field or equivalent work experience desired
  • At least 5 years’ experience managing admissions and revenue operations at an aquarium, zoo, attraction, or related field
  • Prior experience managing a large staff and complex operational scheduling
  • Prior experience with POS ticketing and CRM data bases
  • Familiarity with the rules, regulations, and standards of AZA, OSHA, USCG and any other governing bodies
  • Familiarity with crowd control procedures (6,000+ people per day)
  • Ability to work and communicate effectively with other members of The Florida Aquarium team
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • First Aid/CPR certification (DAN First Aid training and/or instructor certification a plus)
  • Strong knowledge of Microsoft Office software (Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Outlook, etc.)
Special Working Conditions
  • Working conditions include working in outdoor weather conditions, noisy environment, hot and confined spaces, exposure to toxic/caustic substances and fumes, as well as moving, lifting, and carrying heavy objects.
  • This position is Tuesday through Saturday or Sunday through Thursday depending on Aquarium needs for seven-day Director-level support as well as the high volume attendance on weekends.
  • This position may be required to work additional weekend days and holidays.
  • Customer Focus – Demonstrates courtesy, cooperation and friendliness with staff, volunteers and customers. 
  • Actively listens, anticipates and evaluates the customer’s needs.
  • Ensures that customer satisfaction is a priority in all areas of responsibility.
  • Actively engages our customers while fulfilling job responsibilities.
  • Business Focus – Strives to positively affect organizational success in completion of job requirements, manages resources effectively, and takes positive actions to enhance operations.
  • Recognizes how their own performance and contributions impact departmental and organizational goals, strategies and results.
  • Keeps the Aquarium’s business and guests’ well-being at the forefront of day-to-day focus.
  • Planning/Decision Making – Establishes a course of action with specific goals and objectives in mind.
  • Allocates resources and sets priorities in the most efficient and effective way while respecting our collection and environment with high ethics and standards.
  • Demonstrates the ability to make the best-informed decisions considering alternatives and available information.
  • Develops contingency plans anticipating needs and changes in the work environment while seeking win-win solutions.
  • Reliability/Accountability – Completes tasks promptly, meets deadlines and follows through on commitments.
  • Provides consistent and timely work free of errors and omissions.
  • Demonstrates good time management skills by using time effectively and efficiently.
  • Arrives at work and meetings on time.
  • Takes responsibility for actions and behavior and learns from experiences.
  • Problem Solving/Judgment – Provides realistic solutions in a timely manner based on consideration of alternatives and consequences.
  • Evaluates alternatives and makes judgments based on facts and the best interest of the organization.
  • Demonstrates the courage to innovate and change when appropriate.
  • Interpersonal Skills/Teamwork – Works collaboratively within a team and across departments for organizational success. Demonstrates a positive attitude and initiative, seeks to understand before being understood.
  • Fosters a positive, supportive, and encouraging work environment.
  • Demonstrates respect for other’s opinions, trusts in their abilities, and recognizes their contributions.
  • Initiative – Proactively seeks opportunities and solutions to challenges.
  • Demonstrates self-motivation in completing job requirements and consistently strives to improve performance.
  • Initiates new ideas by challenging the status quo to find new ways to do things better.
  • Asks questions and seeks guidance when needed.
  • Professionalism – Demonstrates honesty and integrity at all times, and takes accountability for their actions. 
  • Maintains composure, objectivity and a professional manner at all times.
  • Complies with policies and procedures. 
  • Behaves consistently with the values of the organization and acts as a role model.
  • Communication – Effectively expresses ideas and ensures spoken or written communications are complete, clear and understandable.
  • Actively listens and openly communicates with others.
  • Ensures information is conveyed in a timely and appropriate manner.
  • Encourages others to express their views. Positively accepts feedback and offers constructive feedback to others.
  • Leadership (Supervisory) – Shows leadership by providing vision and strategies; sets clear expectations and goals for the team that support departmental and organizational goals.
  • Guides staff toward individual accomplishments, departmental, and organizational goals.
  • Exhibits and demonstrates core value competencies.
  • Creates a positive environment in which people are motivated to do their best.
  • Invites input from team and can delegate responsibility appropriately.
  • Recognizes contributions and supports professional growth of staff.
Typical Physical Requirements
  • Sitting, standing, walking – at least 4 hours per day
  • Bending/stooping, climbing ladders – frequently
  • Kneeling/squatting, reaching above shoulders – occasionally
  • Carrying/lifting up to 50 lbs.
  • Coping with demands (stresses that are associated with the job and/or the work environment) so that acceptable levels of performance and overall contribution are maintained.
  • Should be able to climb and descend ladders quickly
  • Ability to travel (car, boat, plane, truck) as needed — locally and/or nationally
  • Must be willing and able to work varied and long shifts including holidays and weekends
  • Medical,
  • Dental,
  • Vision,
  • EAP,
  • Memberships,
  • and more!

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