Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Dowling

Dorothy Dowling

Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Best Western Hotels and Resorts

Dorothy Dowling is senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Best Western® Hotels and Resorts. Dorothy, a 30-year hotel industry veteran, directs all marketing and sales strategies, overseeing the brand’s loyalty program, consumer and field marketing activities, advertising, public relations and e-commerce. Since joining Best Western in 2004, Ms. Dowling has implemented a number of measures to increase market share and contemporize the iconic Best Western brand. She re-branded the company’s loyalty program to Best Western Rewards®, increased its membership by 13 million and more than doubled its revenue contribution percentage to hotels. The program has since earned key industry recognitions, such as the top loyalty program by Loyalty 360, the third best loyalty program by U.S. News & World Report, and was the recipient of the American Express Loyalty Award. Under Ms. Dowling’s leadership, Best Western has strengthened its strategic partnership with AAA/CAA. As a result, Best Western has been named AAA Lodging Partner of the Year every year since 2008. In 2014, Best Western also won AAA recognitions for Best in Marketing and Best in Sales. During Ms. Dowling’s tenure, Best Western introduced its descriptor program, which established three distinct hotel types, and made significant investments in its sales programs. As a result, Best Western Plus was voted the Best Upper Midscale Hotel brand in the 2014 and 2015 Business Travel News survey. Additionally, Best Western was voted the No. 1 Midprice hotel brand in 2014 and ranked in the top 3 in 2015. Best Western beat out brands such as Hampton, Holiday Inn and Fairfield to take the top spot as the favorite for business travel. Ms. Dowling has also overseen critical user experience improvements to the bestwestern.com booking channel, as well as the launch of multiple mobile initiatives, including the iPhone and Android application, Best Western to Go®. Under her leadership, Best Western has become a leading hotel player in digital marketing through innovative partnerships with TripAdvisor, Facebook and Google, among others. In September 2013 Ms. Dowling was named vice president of the Global Business Travel Association Allied Leadership Council. Ms. Dowling currently serves on, and is a former chair of the HSMAI Americas Board of Directors, and is past president of HSMAI Canada. Dorothy has been honored with a number of awards, including being named the 18th most influential Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) in the world in the Forbes/ScribbleLive/LinkedIn’s 4th Annual CMO Influence Study in 2015. Ms. Dowling, who jumped in the rankings from 27th in 2014 to 18th in 2015, is the third highest ranked female CMO on the list. Additionally, she received the prestigious American Hotel Foundation Award for Best Practices in Guest Loyalty Programs, and was among HSMAI’s Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing two times. Finally, in 2014, Ms. Dowling was inducted into the Direct Marketing News Marketing Hall of Femme. Please visit http://www.bestwestern.com for more information.

Ms. Dowling can be contacted at 602-957-4200 or dorothy.dowling@bestwestern.com

Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.