Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Noel

John Noel

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Noel Group

John M. Noel is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Noel Group - a diversified organization that invests in promising companies and has a history of building successful businesses in the areas of insurance, concierge, emergency travel assistance, customer service, financial services, emerging technology and real estate. Noel Group operates on a value-based philosophy of serving its clients and employees with honesty, integrity and respect. The company is based in Stevens Point, Wisconsin and operates under the philosophy "Our direction is led by our values." Mr. Noel has overseen many successful companies including MultiNational Underwriters and Travel Guard International. He started Travel Guard in his basement in 1985 and grew it to become one of the most respected travel insurance and emergency assistance providers in the world. Travel Guard was sold in 2006 and is now part of Chartis. In 2008 MultiNational was sold to HCC Insurance Holdings and renamed HCC Medical Insurance Services. Noel Group also owns the MyAssist service, live personal assistance for the mobile lifestyle. Other Noel Group companies include CallForce, a customer service contact center; Compass Properties, a real estate investment company; and Insure America, a specialty insurance company. In 1993, Mr. Noel and his wife Patty established the Make A Mark Foundation a non-profit, humanitarian program focused on making a positive difference on both a local and global level. Through a network of partners donating time, abilities and finances, Make A Mark has built clinics, schools and orphanages in developing countries throughout the world. Over the past two decades, Make A Mark has focused its attention on the looming orphan crisis in sub-Saharan Africa, which was caused by the devastating AIDS pandemic. In 1996, the Noel's established The Noel Compass Scholarship Program to provide access to higher education for low-income, high-achieving students from Wisconsin's urban communities. The program includes room, board and tuition at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point as well as a paid internship at Noel Group. Today, the Noel's "extended family" includes over 20 Compass Scholar college graduates. In recognition of their many philanthropic endeavors, the Noels were presented with the Franklin Covey Humanitarian Service Award, given to "outstanding individuals who reach out to improve the quality of life for individuals, groups or humankind." Noel Group has also been recognized by Working Mother Magazine as one of the top 100 companies in the nation for working mothers. Mr. Noel is a graduate and facilitator of the Covey Leadership Center, which is based on the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" created by renowned author Dr. Steven Covey. A subsequent book by Dr. Covey entitled "Living the 7 Habits" includes a chapter written by Mr. Noel, where he shares the positive impact that the program has had on his personal and professional life. Mr. Noel earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and was recognized as the University's "Alumni of the Year" in 1999. The University's performing arts center was also dedicated in 2006 as the Noel Fine Arts Center.

Mr. Noel can be contacted at 877-692-7747 or jnoel@noelgroup.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.