About Texas Performing Arts
Texas Performing Arts (TPA) is the professional arts presenting and producing program of The University of Texas at Austin. One of the largest and most active university-based performing arts centers in the U.S., TPA is an anchor institution in Austin’s arts, cultural, and entertainment landscape. TPA operates venues on the UT campus including Austin’s largest theater, Bass Concert Hall. Its public programs include Broadway in Austin; an international season of dance, theater and music; and the Texas Welcomes series of popular artists. TPA is an integral unit of UT’s College of Fine Arts and engages students across the university in creative experiences. To learn more about Texas Performing Arts and this opportunity, please visit https://texasperformingarts.org/about-us/employment.
Why Join Texas Performing Arts?
This position offers the opportunity to define the guest experience for the largest theatrical venue in one of the most exciting arts and entertainment marketplaces in America. You will work on a wide range of events, from touring Broadway to headlining bands to local artists. Your work will contribute to advancing the arts at the #1 ranked public university in Texas and inspiring audiences in one of America’s fastest growing cities.
UT Austin provides an outstanding benefits package, including but not limited to:
- Competitive health benefits (employee premiums covered at 100%, family premiums at 50%)
- Voluntary Vision, Dental, Life, and Disability insurance options
- Generous paid vacation, sick time, and holidays
- Teachers Retirement System of Texas, a defined benefit retirement plan, with 7.75% employer matching funds
- Additional Voluntary Retirement Programs: Tax Sheltered Annuity 403(b) and a Deferred Compensation program 457(b)
- Flexible spending account options for medical and childcare expenses
- Robust free training access through LinkedIn Learning plus professional development opportunities
- For more details, please see: https://hr.utexas.edu/prospective/benefits and https://hr.utexas.edu/current/services/my-total-rewards
The Director of Guest Experience provides leadership and strategic direction for guest services at Texas Performing Arts. The position leads a team of staff, volunteers and vendors committed to creating best-in-class guest experiences through management of parking, security, safety, access, food and beverage, on-site retail and front-of-house facilities. The Director of Guest Experience supports Texas Performing Arts’ mission to be a welcoming space for everyone to share in the experience of live theater.
Leadership and Strategy :
- Develop and execute a holistic guest experience plan that fulfills TPA’s vision, values and strategic objectives. Envision best-in-class guest experience within TPA’s operating context and articulate those values and priorities to staff, volunteers and vendor partners. Create and maintain a culture of hospitality. Maintain up-to-date knowledge of practices at peer venues locally and nationally across all of TPA’s programmatic verticals. Lead continuous enhancement of TPA’s guest experience plan in response to changed conditions or evolving expectations.
- Lead the guest experience team including full-time, part-time, student and volunteer staff. Maintain and continuously improve a culture of customer service excellence. Participate in hiring, onboarding and performance management. Create professional development opportunities for all team members.
- Serve as a member of the cross-departmental leadership team. Serve as the leadership representative to guest experience vendors, supporting university departments and external stakeholders. Cultivate relationships with organizations and patrons to advance initiatives that grow audiences, increase patronage and support fundraising.
- Collect, analyze, and present key guest experience metrics. Make recommendations and lead changes to address areas for improvement.
- With the Marketing & Communications team, oversee a comprehensive guest communications program including informational pre-event, post-event and on-site communications.
- Review and direct responses to customer feedback received directly or on-line. Oversee customer service inquiry response across email, phone, social media and in-person. Serve as a final point of escalation for customer service inquiries.
- Proactively coordinate with campus and city partners regarding adjacent and overlapping events that effect the TPA guest experience. Develop and implement operational and communications plans accordingly.
Operations & Management :
- Create and maintain a welcoming, safe, enjoyable experience for all TPA guests. Ensure compliance with state laws and university policies on public assembly and related health, life safety, building and fire codes.
- Direct the creation of long-term and short-term daily operating plans for all aspects of the Guest Experience department. Review and revise operating plans as necessary. Establish and maintain TPA venue policies and code of conduct for audience members.
- Direct advance and on-site coordination with visiting artists and their representatives. Oversee the negotiation of artist policies and requests versus house policies and procedures to implement mutually agreeable approaches that create a consistent and high-quality guest experience. Direct the management and accounting of on-site retail operations such as artist merchandise.
- Direct the ongoing development and implementation of the guest parking and transportation plan. Oversee coordination of comprehensive event parking requirements with the Production and Event Management teams.
- Collaborate with the Development and Ticketing teams to ensure excellent VIP, donor and patron experiences that lead to increased engagement and support of TPA.
- Direct the management of custodial services for all events and venues.
- Lead high-quality accessibility services. Maintain and improve physical accessibility. Create an inclusive environment for all guests that reflects the pluralism of Austin and TPA’s programming.
- Develop and lead a high-quality food & beverage program. Maximize F&B revenue and develop new revenue streams. Manage, report and grow per-cap revenue. Monitor and enhance offerings and service excellence.
- Provide direction for the TPA volunteer usher program.
- Lead audience safety and front-of-house security.
- Lead the procurement and contract process for all guest experience-related equipment, systems and services. Lead the management and upkeep of all front-of-house facilities and equipment. Determine maintenance and replacement plans, timelines and budgets. Coordinate work orders and track completion of repairs with the General Management team, supporting university departments and outside vendors.
- Develop and manage the Guest Experience department operating budget.
- Collaboratively support special events and on-site sponsor activations as required.
- Perform other related functions as assigned. This job description may not be inclusive of all assigned duties, responsibilities, or aspects of the job described.
- At least seven (7) years of management experience in professional performing arts, entertainment, events or athletics guest services.
- Demonstrated accomplishment recruiting and leading a guest services team including full-time, part-time and volunteer staff.
- Demonstrated passion for delivering positive guest experiences and accomplishments creating a culture of hospitality.
- Effective Communications: Demonstrated understanding of effective communication concepts, tools and techniques; ability to effectively transmit, receive, and accurately interpret ideas, information, and needs through the application of appropriate communication behaviors.
- Accuracy and Attention to Detail: Demonstrated understanding of the necessity and value of accuracy and attention to detail; ability to process information with high levels of accuracy.
- Service Excellence: Demonstrated knowledge of customer service concepts and techniques; ability to meet or exceed customer needs and expectations and provide excellent service in a direct or indirect manner.
- Problem Solving: Demonstrated knowledge of approaches, tools, techniques for recognizing, anticipating, and resolving organizational, operational or process problems; ability to apply this knowledge appropriately to diverse situations.
- More than the minimum required years of experience.
- Experience managing guest services in a performing arts center, particularly a multi-venue center.
- Demonstrated accomplishment elevating the guest experience in a major arts venue.
- Experience developing and implementing new food & beverage concepts that increased service quality and per-cap revenue.
- Experience effectively enhancing guest parking and transportation in dense urban area such as a downtown or university campus.
- Experience increasing patron services in an organization that focuses on membership and fundraising.
- Experience working effectively with co-promoters, visiting artists and other outside clients.
- Fluency in a language other than English.
- Interest in and strong commitment to the mission and programs of Texas Performing Arts and the University of Texas.
- Relevant professional education or credentials.
$80,000+ depending on qualifications.
- This position is eligible for a Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA), a combination of on-site and remote work. FWAs are subject to manager approval and may shift due to changes in business needs.
- Repetitive use of a keyboard at a workstation. Prolonged screen time.
- Regular and punctual attendance at workplace with flexibility for early morning, evening and weekend work related to performances and events.
- Use of manual dexterity.
- Ability to climb stairs and ladders.
- Ability to be on foot for extended periods of time preparing for and overseeing events.
- Ability to work outdoors in adverse weather conditions.
- Pushing, pulling, lifting, and moving up to 50 lbs.
- Evening, weekend, and holiday work, including “on-call” times, are required in connection with performances and events. Working shifts may include extended daily hours in connection with performances and events. Work will exceed 40 hours per week at peak times. A compensatory time program is provided.
- Cover letter detailing interest in and qualifications for this specific opportunity.
- 3 work references with their contact information; at least one reference should be from a supervisor. References will not be contacted without prior approval of the candidate.
- Work samples may be requested if applicant advances to the interview stage.
Important for applicants who are NOT current university employees or contingent workers: You will be prompted to submit your resume the first time you apply, then you will be provided an option to upload a new Resume for subsequent applications. Any additional Required Materials (letter of interest, references, etc.) will be uploaded in the Application Questions section; you will be able to multi-select additional files. Before submitting your online job application, ensure that ALL Required Materials have been uploaded. Once your job application has been submitted, you cannot make changes.
Important for Current university employees and contingent workers: As a current university employee or contingent worker, you MUST apply within Workday by searching for Find UT Jobs. If you are a current University employee, log-in to Workday, navigate to your Worker Profile, click the Career link in the left-hand navigation menu and then update the sections in your Professional Profile before you apply. This information will be pulled in to your application. The application is one page and you will be prompted to upload your resume. In addition, you must respond to the application questions presented to upload any additional Required Materials (letter of interest, references, etc.) that were noted above.