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 December 2020...

Hotel Law: Protecting Guest Privacy

Every business is obligated to protect their customers from identity theft but unfortunately, data breaches have become all too common. In an effort to protect a guest's right to privacy and to safeguard their personal data, the European Union passed a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that could hold hotels legally liable for any breaches that expose a customer's sensitive personal information. Though the GDPR only pertains to EU citizens' data, any international business that mishandles their data can be legally responsible. Another legal issue of concern is the fight involving hotel "resort fees." Several states attorney generals have recently filed suit against two major hotel chains in an effort to litigate this practice. Their suit alleges that these companies are "engaged in deceptive and misleading pricing practices and their failure to disclose fees is in violation of consumer protection laws." The suit seeks to force the hotel chains to advertise the true price of their hotel rooms. There are several other legal issues that the industry is being forced to address. Sexual harassment prevention in the workplace is still top of mind for hotel employers-particularly in New York and California, which now statutorily require harassment training. Hotels and motels in California will also soon be required to train all their employees on human trafficking awareness. Immigration issues are also of major concern to hotel employers, especially in the midst of a severe labor shortage. The government is issuing fewer H2B visas for low-skilled workers, as well as J-1 visas for temporary workers. Though there is little hope for any comprehensive immigration reform, hotel lobbying groups are actively seeking legal remedies to alleviate this problem. These are just a few of the critical issues that the December issue of the Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.