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 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.