Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Hoover

Erin Hoover

Vice President of Design, Westin Hotels & Resorts and Sheraton Hotels & Resorts

As Vice President of Design for Westin Hotels & Resorts and Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Erin Hoover leads the creative team to develop global design concepts for guestrooms, public spaces, brand partnerships, marketing events and other design elements for the Westin and Sheraton brands. Ms. Hoover came to Starwood Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: HOT) by way of the fashion world, having previously worked for Armani for nine years; and brings a calm, smart, livable sensibility to the award-winning hotel brands. Prior to Armani, Hoover consulted for Calvin Klein, Edwin Schlossberg, and Polo Ralph Lauren. In addition to designing the next generation of Westin's and Sheraton's guestrooms, Hoover also spearheaded Westin's groundbreaking partnership with United Airlines, designing travel-size Heavenly blankets and pillows, and Westin-inspired Renewal Lounges at airports in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Each Renewal Lounge featured a signature LED candle wall and artwork typical of Westin's soothing aesthetic, along with two pieces of custom furniture: an upholstered ottoman table with a built-in table (for displaying custom botanicals or books) and a day bed for resting, all designed by Ms. Hoover. What's most interesting about Ms. Hoover's work is the diverse variety of properties that fall under the Westin and Sheraton umbrella. While a majority of the properties are new builds, the Westin and Sheraton portfolio also include resort hotels and landmarked buildings including the recently opened Westin Book Cadillac, inside one of Detroit's most storied buildings. To address these differences, Westin, under the creative guidance of Hoover, created three related but distinct design themes: Modern, which is streamlined and uses light woods; Classic, which is modern at its core but with an Art Deco influence; and Historic, for pre-existing buildings where it's most appropriate to respect original architectural details. Ms. Hoover's large scope of design experience ranges from designing textiles and exhibitions to visual merchandising and display, store design, nightclubs and hotels. Her eclectic and varied experience shapes her design perspective and continues to inspire her as a design professional at Westin and Sheraton. Ms. Hoover has an MFA in Industrial Design from Pratt.

Ms. Hoover can be contacted at 203-351-2542 or erin.hoover@starwoodhotels.com

Coming up in June 2020...

Sales & Marketing: Technology Rules

It is impossible for any hotel to develop an effective sales and marketing plan that doesn't include a wide-ranging digital strategy. Online platforms have impacted virtually every aspect of their business, due to major changes in how Internet users research, plan, and book their hotel visits. As a result, a successful plan includes generating traffic through the use of a hotel website, social media, email and a myriad of other digital marketing technologies. One such strategy uses data collection and automation technology to create personalized content to individual customers. The goal of personalization marketing is to engage potential customers by communicating with them as individuals - to establish a more personal relationship - as a way of encouraging them to visit a property. Video marketing is also extremely important. Showing someone authentic video from a specific location is immersive and engaging, and video is still the preferred way for customers to interact with a hotel brand. Voice and Visual Search are increasingly in demand, as consumers are moving away from typing queries into a search engine. Instead, they can simply speak their request into their phone, and find and book a hotel without ever typing a word. Similarly, other platforms allow consumers to search visually for almost any image, and find out pricing information, shopping comparisons and how-to-buy - all from the app. The adoption of Artificial Intelligence is also becoming popular. The ability of chatbots to answer simple questions or fulfill requests 24/7 is undeniably appealing. In addition, A.I. seems best positioned to qualify leads that can be later nurtured and closed by a human sales expert - all at a fraction of the cost of a traditional support team. The June Hotel Business Review will examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating these innovative technologies into their operations.