Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Seddon

Tom Seddon

Chief Marketing Officer, Extended Stay America

Tom Seddon currently serves as the chief marketing officer for Extended Stay America - a category leader with the largest distribution of owned and operated extended-stay hotels in the country. Appointed in April 2012, Seddon's responsibilities include sales, marketing, E-commerce and revenue management for the 629-property portfolio. Prior to joining Extended Stay America, Mr. Seddon spent nearly 15 years with Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), whose $19 billion global portfolio includes the Intercontinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Holiday Inn®, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites®, Candlewood Suites® and Hotel Indigo® brands. Quickly rising in the company, he served most recently as chief marketing officer from 2007-11, managing a $1 billion expense budget. During his tenure, Mr. Seddon had a track record of improving operational efficiency and effectiveness, including leading part of IHG's restructuring in 2003, reducing operating costs 30 percent as well as many other initiatives such as cutting call center operating costs in half. He has a consistent record of driving outperformance versus the competitor set for brands he's managed. He is recognized throughout the lodging industry for successfully re-launching the Holiday Inn® brand globally with improved facilities and service levels, developing the Holiday Inn Express® “Stay Smart” campaign and doubling the size of the company's loyalty program. From 2004-2007 Mr. Seddon was chief executive officer of the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust, an autonomous organization created to provide marketing and advertising globally for the $8 billion business. Reporting directly to a 14-member board of elected franchisees, he oversaw all worldwide marketing activity designed to build sales and revenue, and sustain performance. In this role, he developed “Fresh Fit,” the first ever AHA-endorsed QSR meal. In addition to Mr. Seddon's hospitality marketing and general management experience, he has also participated extensively in government affairs activity such as the AHLA Legislative Action Summit, White House Obesity Summit, and serving as a panelist on the FTC Panel on Best Practices in Data Privacy. Mr. Seddon received his Bachelor's Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering with honors, and a Masters of Engineering from the University of Bath, UK. He currently lives in Charlotte, N.C., with his wife and two children.

Mr. Seddon can be contacted at 980-345-1621 or tseddon@extendedstay.com

Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.