SpringHill Suites: Accommodating the Next Generation of Business Travel

By Loren Nalewanski Vice President & Global Brand Manager, TownePlace Suites & Springhill Suites by Marriott | August 14, 2016

SpringHill Suites is part of the Marriott International family of hotels. The chain, geared toward the upper-moderate lodging segment of the hospitality industry, features all-suite hotels, each offering free hot breakfast, complimentary Wi-Fi, a fitness center and a 24-hour market.

In 1999, its first fiscal year, there were 34 total SpringHill Suites properties - six managed locations and 28 franchised locations. By 2006 that number increased nearly fivefold, with 153 properties. The 300th SpringHill Suites opening was in May 2013 in New York City. In 2016 the downtown San Diego property opened and was the 3,000th Marriott hotel to open in the select service/extended-stay category. As of 2016 there are more than 350 SpringHill Suites properties throughout North America.

Benedict Cummins, Publisher of HotelExecutive got the opportunity to converse with Loren Nalewanski, Vice President and Global Brand Manager for SpringHill Suites and TownePlace Suites by Marriott, for an overview of the SpringHill Suites brand and the direction it is taking.

Loren, please tell us about your background experience in hotel brands, including your tenure with Marriott?

This year marks my 26th year with Marriott International. I started with the company in 1990, a year after graduating from Johnson and Wales University and a year working with Sheraton. I started as a front desk manager trainee with the Courtyard division. I spent the next few years working and learning my way through many different property management positions from coast to coast, including the General Manager role. In 1998, I transitioned from operations into Human Resources, where I was later appointed Vice President of Talent Management and Work Environment for North America.

I very much enjoyed my time in this role, and spent a large part of my time establishing the Work Environment Center of Excellence at Marriott, and collaborating on the architecture of the associate engagement strategy in use today for Marriott International. In 2009, I was named Vice President of Global Operations Services where I led the teams responsible for the deployment of all operational programs, products and services, across all luxury, lifestyle and Marriott endorsed brands.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. 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.