Experience Columbia SC (ECSC) has named Jeff Homad as its new vice president. Homad, who comes to Columbia from Memphis Tourism, will be responsible for the leadership and management of daily operations of Experience Columbia SC and the Visitors Center.
Homad brings more than 20 years of management, sales, marketing and advertising experience within the DMO and hospitality industry. He was vice president of convention sales and services at Memphis Tourism and has worked in executive level positions for hotels and resorts across the country. Yet, Homad is no stranger to the Columbia area.
“The Columbia region is just a great area,” Homad said. “There’s just something about the state, Midlands and the people. There’s so much to do both for meeting attendees and leisure travelers. All three of our kids went to UofSC and we’ve been coming up for the kids sporting events, camps and games for years as we used to live in Mount Pleasant and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It’s a special place. I’m looking forward to working with the team and getting more people to experience Columbia because once they do, they’ll want to meet and be here.”
Homad said Columbia’s drive market puts it in a lucrative space to attract more meetings, business and leisure travelers, especially given the current restrictions due to the pandemic.
“Columbia is such a great drive market. We’ll want to own the drive market within the 300 – 600-mile radius of the city. As we get back to conducting meetings, people are much more open for driving than flying, which positions Columbia very well. We need to own our own backyard,” Homad said.
Homad has gained perspective from the challenges the tourism industry has faced this past year. His outlook for the Columbia region is optimistic for meetings and conventions along with the business and leisure travelers, he believes, will return.
“Repeat business is vital,” he said. “Sometimes you take it for granted. We really want to focus on those groups and conventions that are coming to Columbia and who have been coming back again and again. We embrace and appreciate all business and want to make sure they have an exceptional experience, so they’ll want to come back, year after year and make Columbia their home away from home. Our goal will be to stay top of mind in the meetings industry. When things start coming back, we’ll be at the forefront of planners’ minds and think of Columbia first for their next meeting destination.”
ECSC President and CEO Bill Ellen said Homad is the ideal person to lead and strengthen the organization through this difficult time in the tourism industry.
“We’re very excited for Jeff to join our team.” Ellen said. “Jeff brings outstanding DMO experience, as well as extensive knowledge of hotel sales and marketing. We’re looking forward to Jeff leading our CVB to new levels during a very challenging time in our industry. I have total confidence that he will make our team stronger.”
Homad said he is excited about the opportunity and getting involved and engaging with the community. He and his wife Mary enjoy volunteering and getting involved in local efforts.
“To the community – we’re here to support and help,” he said. “The door is always open. We always want to talk to everyone about opportunity and how to bring business to the region. If people have thoughts and ideas, we welcome the different perspectives anyone has to offer. And we’ll be doing all that we can to keep Columbia in the forefront of the meetings industry.”
The couple have 3 children (Jeffrey, Derek and Renee) who attended the University of South Carolina, and two of the children have made Columbia their home.