Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. MacDonald

Marina MacDonald

Chief Marketing Officer, Red Roof

Chief Marketing Officer of Red Roof, Marina MacDonald began as an assistant to the general manager at the Franklin Plaza Hotel in Philadelphia and is now CMO of a national brand with 600+ hotels across the country. It's a role that didn't previously exist and was created specifically for her.

As CMO, Ms. MacDonald is forging a path - and acting as a role model - for women who aspire to leadership positions in the hospitality industry. As a leader at Red Roof, she proposed that the company create and launch the Red Roof Forum on Leadership for Women Entrepreneurs showcasing women in the male-dominated hospitality industry: their accomplishments, achievements, and insights. The Forum recognizes the growing influence of women owners, general managers and executives who are vital to any brand's success and to the overall growth of the hospitality industry with panels, talks, and awards and has resonated with female hospitality executives internally at Red Roof and across the industry.

Some of Ms. MacDonald's additional accomplishments include:

· In 2018, she oversaw the launch of two major Red Roof sub-brands, The Red Collection and HomeTowne Studios by Red Roof in multiple cities.

· In 2018, the American Hotel & Lodging Association awarded her the industry's Paving the Way award for her efforts to encourage women to grow their careers and pursue leadership roles.

· She was named one of the Top 30 Most Influential Women in Hospitality by Hotel Management and featured on the cover of Lodging magazine.

· Ms. MacDonald is the Vice Chair of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI).

· Under her watch, Red Roof was recognized and awarded the 2018 Best Budget Hotel Brand by USA Today Reader's Choice.

· As Chief Marketing Officer, she's overseen radical innovations that have contributed to huge growth for Red Roof. Most recently, Red Roof® became the first hotel chain to connect directly with consumers - beyond their hotel room - through Amazon's Alexa Skills platform.

· Ms. MacDonald also greenlit the Along the Route platform, a tech innovation which allows travelers to pinpoint Red Roofs wherever they are geographically in the country and be able to book a stay.

Cycling is Ms. MacDonald's passion. After investing many hours, she is a trained performance cyclist and feels a strong pull to help others enjoy the sport. She enjoys coaching other women to cycle like pros.

Please visit http://www.redroof.com for more information.

Ms. MacDonald can be contacted at +1 614-744-2617 or mmacdonald@redroof.com

Coming up in September 2019...

Hotel Group Meetings: Uncommon Destinations

The last few years have been good to the Hotel Group Meetings industry and that trend is expected to continue into 2019. Planners are brimming with confidence due to an expanding economy and increased job creation, which typically results in a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are trying to outdo themselves to satisfy the high expectations of their clients. One notable trend is to integrate unusual settings into the meeting experience, hosting groups at local zoos, aquariums, museums, event centers, or other outdoor facilities. The goal is to embrace uncommon destinations, rather than a typical hotel conference room, so that meetings can be memorable, unique and stimulating. This is also part of another trend which is to support all things local - from hosting events at landmark city venues; to catering through local restaurants, food trucks and microbreweries; to hosting off-site excursions like agri-tours, athletic events or scenic 5k routes. However, though the setting might be spectacular, there are still some bedrock components that must be provided to ensure a successful meeting. Free, high-speed Wi-Fi is still one of the most requested services. Planners have to make sure that a comprehensive communication infrastructure is in place so clients can easily connect - and stay connected - to the network throughout the entire meeting experience. Also, technology tools can be used to streamline the booking, registration, and check-in process, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) materials can be utilized to ensure seamless access to conference events. There are also numerous software tools that encourage audience participation, as well as integrating polls, Q&A, surveys and games into speakers' presentations. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.