STARKVILLE, MS (October 8, 2021) – Jennifer Lay, Director of Community Development at the Mississippi Main Street Association has completed the three-year program of the Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College and earned certification as a Travel Marketing Professional (TMP).
Lay has been with MMSA since 2019 and is the direct liaison between MMSA and more than 50 Main Street member towns and cities throughout the state. She coordinates program services and community development grants as well as provides training to local Main Street directors, board members and elected officials.
Lay was among 60 STS Marketing College graduates in the Class of 2020. The graduates were announced at the STS Connections conference in Spartanburg, South Carolina on Tuesday, September 28. The program began in 1992 and has produced 1,296 TMPs.
Instructors are travel industry professionals such as convention and visitor’s bureau executives, public relations practitioners, sales and marketing consultants, and research experts.
“Our Marketing College program is designed to provide applicable tools and working knowledge that our travel and tourism professionals can immediately implement when promoting their destinations, attractions, hotels, and events,” said Monica Smith, Southeast Tourism Society’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
Study topics include online marketing strategies, creating an eye-catching and engaging tourism brochure, social media content planning and distribution, Google analytics, travel and tourism research, community engagement, economic impact studies, and budgeting. In addition to classroom work, students also must complete two projects that relate to their job while utilizing skills that were learned throughout the program.
"The skills and education that I have gained through marketing college have equipped me with tools to better serve the communities within the Mississippi Main Street Association," said Lay. "Industry trends and market based data is ever changing, and I am excited to use my experience to help teach program directors how to track their most current info, in order to make strategic decisions about the program of work for their communities."
“Since its inception almost 30 years ago, Marketing College has elevated the level of service and professionalism visitors receive when traveling to the Southeast and has supported efforts to increase economic development through tourism. We’re proud to be a part of that positive impact throughout the region,” said Smith.