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 February 2020...

Social Media: Social Listening Tools

The reach and influence of social media is staggering. Nearly 3 billion people use social media daily, posting a range of messages, selfies, images, and everything in-between. According to HubSpot, almost 4 million posts are uploaded to the major social networks every single minute! That's an astounding amount of content and it is crucial for hotels to skillfully use social media in order to effectively compete. From establishing a suitable brand identity and voice to creating content across all the major networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), the goal is to actively engage consumers and to eventually convert them to customers. Some hotels are initiating online contests as a way to attract new customers, while others are rewarding customers with discounts who subscribe to the their email lists or follow their social media pages. Another recent strategy is to employ social media listening tools that track what people are posting online about their businesses. These tools allow hotels to monitor - or listen to - what's being said about a brand across the entire social web, and this can prove to be very valuable, unfiltered information. Social listening permits hotels to be aware of people's opinions about their business, industry or competitors, and some of these tools even listen beyond social media platforms. They also monitor publicly available information on blogs, forums, news outlets and websites. Some listening tools are more focused on gathering and analyzing data, while others offer more engagement-oriented features, which allow hotels to interact with people right from the platform. Often the information that is gleaned from these listening tools ends up being the most authentic, unbiased insights a business can get. The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to successfully integrate social media strategies into their operations.