Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. McDowell

Robert McDowell

Senior Vice President, Global Distribution, Choice Hotels International

Robert McDowell is senior vice president of global distribution for worldwide lodging franchisor Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH). In this role, he is responsible for the development and execution of Choice's growing global, multi-channel marketing and distribution strategy. Additionally, Mr. McDowell oversees all direct distribution channels, revenue management, global sales and marketing channels, eCommerce, and all channel partner relationships. Prior to joining choice, Mr. McDowell spent 15 years with United Airlines. During this time, Mr. McDowell was the managing director of distribution and E-commerce. As the acting director, Mr. McDowell formulated effective E-commerce and distribution strategy. In addition, he often delved into the rigors of negotiating credit card fees and GDS budgets on behalf of the airline. Mr. McDowell also served as chief operating officer for C&H International, a $600 million international travel agency, overseeing the company's daily operations. Mr. McDowell earned his master's degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame and his bachelor's degree from the New York Institute of Technology.

Mr. McDowell can be contacted at 301-592-5186 or robert_mcdowell@choicehotels.com

Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.