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 April 2019...

Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.