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 March 2020...

Human Resources: Confronting a Labor Shortage

With the unemployment rate at its lowest level in decades (3.7%), what has always been a perennial problem for human resource professionals - labor shortage - is now reaching acute levels of concern. It is getting harder to find and recruit qualified applicants. Even finding candidates with the skills to succeed in entry-level positions has become an issue. In addition, employee turnover rates remain extremely high in the hotel industry. As a result of these problems, hotel HR managers are having to rethink their recruitment strategies in order to hire the right talent for the right job. First, hotels have been forced to raise their wages and offer other appealing perks, as a way to attract qualified candidates. Secondly, HR managers are reassessing their interviewing techniques, focusing less on the answers they receive to questions and more on observable behavior. Part of this process includes role-playing during the interview, so that the recruiter can gauge how a candidate works through specific problems and interacts with other team members. Additionally, some HR managers are also creating internal talent pools as a way to address labor shortages. Instead of utilizing department resources to find new hires with specific skills for needed positions, hotels are cultivating talent pools internally and preparing their employees to assume leadership roles whenever the time comes. They are also placing greater emphasis on a company culture that is more performance-based, as a way to curb employee turnover, increase employee satisfaction, and assure higher levels of customer service. Finally, recognizing the importance of employee retention as a way to lessen the impact of a tight labor market, some HR managers are instituting generous reward programs in order to retain their top performers. The March Hotel Business Review will explore what some HR professionals are doing to address these and other issues in their departments.