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 2020...

Guest Service: First Impressions Matter

Hotels spend large amounts of money on marketing their operation and brand, but sometimes they fail to remember that guest service is the lifeblood of their business. It is outstanding guest service that allows a hotel to create an amazing and lasting impression, one that will remain with guests far beyond the duration of their stay. In pre-internet days, first impressions were formed the moment a guest walked through a hotel's front door. These days, first impressions are created long before a guest arrives at a hotel property. They begin when a customer visits a hotel's website or social media pages for the first time. When a guest connects with a property online, they immediately form an opinion of the hotel. First impressions matter and because of that, a hotel website should be mobile-friendly with blistering fast speed; it should be graphically appealing; and it should provide visual representation of the kind of experience a guest can expect. It is also vital to engage the customer; to actively solicit and respond to guest feedback. When a hotel personally engages with someone, it is demonstrating to other customers that guest opinions matter, and that management is willing to go the extra mile to provide superior guest service. Similarly, when a hotel sends out personalized emails with satisfaction surveys attached, it demonstrates that management values guest feedback, so that service can be improved at every level. Additionally, social media messages can be sent out prior to a guest's arrival to learn more about them, so their visit can be personalized. It's the small touches and details that are most remembered and appreciated. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will examine what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate excellent guest service in their operations.