Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Walzak

Dawn Walzak

First Vice President, Tishman Hotel Corporation

Dawn Walzak is First Vice President of Tishman Hotel Corporation (THC) in Orlando, Florida. As a respected sales professional with over twenty years of Hospitality Industry experience, Ms. Walzak has also held Sales Management positions with Westin Hotels & Resorts and Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. Her strong selling skills, awareness of the overall sales process, technology, savvy and passion for success has resulted in numerous awards. Dawn was also recognized for her leadership in the hospitality industry by being elected as the youngest President of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International in 1997, the largest sales and marketing association in the world with over 4,000 members, and was named one of the 1997 Top 100 Rising Stars in the hospitality business by Travel Agent Magazine, recipient of Florida International University School of Hospitality Management 1999 Alumni of the Year award and was recently named as one of Travel Weekly's "Forty under Forty - the leaders who represent the 'next generation' of travel". Ms. Walzak joined Hyatt Hotels and Resorts as a Corporate Trainee after graduation from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management. During her five years with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts she held a succession of sales and marketing positions in several locations. After joining the Westin Mission Hills Resort in 1992, Ms. Walzak continued to break sales records and produced significant market growth. Since joining THC in 1998, she has assisted in the renovation, reposition and re-flagging of the Four Points Sheraton Hotel at Los Angeles International Airport, which completed its first year of operation at 97% occupancy. She has worked on numerous acquisitions and has been able to immediately increase occupancies through non-traditional markets. Her specialties include electronic commerce, public relations exposure, revenue management, and maximization of brand. In October 2002 she completed the opening of the new $330 million Westin New York at Times Square and now oversees a select portfolio of hotels for Tishman. In 2004, Ms. Walzak completed her Masters Degree in Hospitality Management, graduating with Magna Cum Laude honors, from Florida International University. As a First Vice President at THC, her responsibilities include overseeing the marketing, sales functions and performance of select THC owned and/or managed hotels. She also supervises corporate projects involving training, research and market analysis.

Ms. Walzak can be contacted at 407-934-1755 or dwalzak@tishman.com

Coming up in June 2018...

Sales & Marketing: Opinions Matter

Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors manage a complex mix of strategies to attract and convert customers into guests. Part of their expertise includes an awareness of customer behavior during the reservation process, so they can make sure their hotel is favorably positioned. One such trend is the growing popularity of travel review sites. According to one recent survey, 61% of prospective customers consult online reviews in order to validate information about the hotel before making a purchasing decision. Another survey found that the average hotel customer reads between 6-12 reviews across 4-10 properties before making a final decision on where to stay. Similarly, other studies have shown that consumer reviews are a more trusted source of information for prospective customers than other kinds of marketing messaging. In fact, reviews are often considered to be as influential as price regarding whether a customer decides to complete a purchase or not. Plus, travel sites with the most reviews - including recent reviews from satisfied customers and thoughtful responses from staff - were also found to be the most appealing. So having positive reviews on a travel website is essential and can help to increase a hotel's conversion rates dramatically. Of course, there are all kinds of additional marketing strategies for sales and marketing directors to consider - the importance of video and the emergence of live streaming; the implementation of voice search; the proliferation of travel bots; and the development of Instagram as an e-commerce platform. 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.