Editorial Board   

Mr. Holthouser

Jim Holthouser

Senior Vice President Brand Management, Embassy Suites Hotels

As the global head of brand management for Embassy Suites Hotels, Jim Holthouser leads marketing, sales, revenue management, research and development and franchise owner relations efforts for the $1.8B annual revenues brand. He was named to the position in February 2006. Mr. Holthouser also serves as global head of full service brands (Hilton, Doubletree and Embassy Suites) for Hilton Worldwide, an additional responsibility he picked up in March 2009, following the restructuring of the company and its relocation to new corporate headquarters in the DC metro area. With 20 years of experience in the lodging, restaurant and gaming industries, Mr. Holthouser has held a series of senior management positions within Hilton Worldwide. His career with the company began in 1979 as the director of market research for Promus, where he created a number of cutting-edge industry and consumer measurement systems for both domestic and international marketing. Over the years, Mr. Holthouser has assumed increasingly important roles in the branding, franchising and marketing arenas. Before his assignment at Embassy Suites, Mr. Holthouser served as senior vice president, brand management, for Homewood Suites by Hilton. While at the helm of the Homewood Suites brand, Mr. Holthouser launched an aggressive development program to increase overall distribution. This program grew the extended stay brand from 80 hotels to 170 hotels, with another 110 in the development pipeline. Today, the Homewood Suites brand numbers some 400+ hotels open and in the pipeline. Under Mr. Holthouser's leadership, the Homewood Suites brand also became the first extended stay hotel chain to offer its guests complimentary, high-speed Internet access. Under Mr. Holthouser's leadership over the last three and a half years, the Embassy Suites brand has won numerous awards for product and service quality. His primary focus is to grow the brand aggressively, with the goal of having 400 hotels open or in the pipeline within the next five years. Currently the brand has 207 hotels open with almost 50 in the development pipeline. To support this goal, Mr. Holthouser oversaw the development of a new, more cost efficient prototype and introduced a one-room suite product into the brand's program. As Global Head of Full Service Brands for Hilton Worldwide, Mr. Holthouser also works closely with the Hilton Hotels and Doubletree brands to make sure the full service portfolio is strategically and tactically coordinated. Mr. Holthouser received his MA in economics / political science from the University of Louisville and his international MBA from the American Graduate School of International Management. He is fluent in German and has a strong working knowledge of French.

Mr. Holthouser can be contacted at 703-883-1000 or jim.holthouser@hilton.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.