Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. McGuinness

Brian McGuinness

Senior Vice President, Specialty Select Brands, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

Brian McGuinness is the Senior Vice President of Starwood's Specialty Select brands, including the Aloft, Element and Four Points by Sheraton brands. McGuinness is responsible for development, strategic and creative direction, and overall performance of each of Starwood's select-serve lifestyle brands. Mr. McGuinness leads an integrated team, charged with ensuring the successful global launch of Starwood's first new brand introduction, Aloft Hotels, since the 1999 premiere of W Hotels; establishing Starwood's new green trailblazer, Element Hotels, as the extended-stay category leader and Starwood's green innovation lab; and re-launching the newly reinvented Four Points by Sheraton brand. Mr. McGuinness began his career with Starwood in 1997. His tenure started at the Sheraton Boston Hotel and Towers as Towers Manager, later transitioning to Reservations and Revenue Management Director. Successfully advancing through his hotel career, he was eventually tapped by Starwood corporate to roll-out a new property management technology platform and joined the creative team to launch the highly successful Starwood Preferred Guest Program. Continuing in marketing, he created the Global Marketing Operations group where he oversaw the execution of marketing programs globally. In 2002, furthering his entrepreneurial desires, Mr. McGuinness left Starwood to personally oversee the restoration of a charming bed and breakfast located on Cape Cod. After the successful completion of the restoration, Mr. McGuinness returned to Starwood's Manhattan-based offices to take on the challenge of leading one of the most exciting brand introductions in the hotel industry's history - Aloft Hotels. He relocated to Starwood's corporate headquarters in White Plains, NY in 2007 to lead the launch of both Aloft and Element Hotels worldwide, and has recently taken the reins on the Four Points by Sheraton brand. Mr. McGuinness grew up in New England, the youngest of seven children. His passion for the hospitality business started at a young age during annual international trips with his family to everywhere from Canada to Europe.

Mr. McGuinness can be contacted at 914-640-8100 or brian.mcguinness@starwoodhotels.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.