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 January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.