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 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.