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 January 2020...

Mobile Technology: Meeting Tech Expectations

What once seemed futuristic is now the norm, owing to the escalating developments in mobile technology, and hotels must continue to innovate in order to meet guest expectations. In a recent study from Mower, 65 percent of guests said they would gladly pay more for a hotel that provides the mobile technology they deem essential. The same study shows that 44 percent of travelers are more likely to book a smart hotel, and nearly 7 in 10 want to use smart devices provided by the hotel. And how do guests wish to use all this technology? A majority expressed a desire for mobile check-in and check-out, and mobile payment options. They also want to be able to stream content from their phone to the TV; to make service requests of the hotel staff; to control in-room lighting, temperature and sound; to order food and beverages; and to request a wake-up call - all from their mobile device. Guests also expressed preferences for robust wi-fi and convenient device charging ports throughout the hotel. They also appreciate the use of hotel branded apps which allow a guest to book a room, access loyalty programs, receive discounts and rewards, and even use the app to choose the room, floor and view they prefer. Some hotel apps also allow a customer to track their charges throughout their stay, rather than waiting to receive a bill at the end. Finally, mobile tech lounges are popping up more frequently in some hotels. These lounges offer guests the opportunity to perform tasks like airline check-ins or access to local info guides, but they also provide a place where guests can comfortably get some work done outside their room. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to meet their customers' expectations in the mobile technology space.