Concord Hospitality Taps Thom Stewart as Director of Sales and Marketing at The Ben, Opening in West Palm Beach

USA, West Palm Beach, Florida. May 22, 2019

Hospitality hotshot Thom Stewart will join the executive team at The Ben as Director of Sales and Marketing. This highly anticipated 208-room design forward hotel is all the buzz at the corner of North Narcissus Avenue and Banyan Street and the centerpiece of the new Flagler Banyan Square, a stone's throw from downtown West Palm Beach and Clematis Street, and will debut in December 2019.

With nearly 15 years of experience with Concord Hospitality, the management company of The Ben, Stewart is no stranger to the tricks of the trade. After making his mark in several positions in just about every area of hotel operations, including sales and F&B, he steps into his new role and joins The Ben with a solid background and extensive industry know-how to lead the charge at the first Autograph Collection Hotel in West Palm Beach.

Self-motivated and a go-getter by nature, Stewart hit the ground running in the hospitality industry before a cap and gown or diploma were in sight, and became the Assistant Guest Care Manager at a 243-room Holiday Inn while still in school at Ohio State. Soon after completing his degree, he was tapped by the Woodfin Suites Hotel and filled the shoes of several front office and sales posts before making the transition to the property management arena.

Next up, Stewart made his debut with Marriott as Opening Sales Manager at a Residence Inn, and over the following nine years assumed roles spanning the hotel gamut- from Front Office Manager and Senior Sales Manager to Director of Sales and finally General Manager. In 2004, Stewart joined Concord Hospitality and quickly became acquainted with the jet setting lifestyle as he began racking up airline miles, assisting with more than 50 hotel openings across the country and calling upon his vast career expertise as needed- from training and hiring new staff to assuming vacant DOS roles, coaching teams to locate better streams of revenue and, ultimately, playing an instrumental part in the sales culture at Concord.

With the company's growth, Stewart's career, and frequent flier miles, continued growing as well. After 11 years in the Sales and Marketing Department, he was handpicked to transition into the Human Resources division to develop a focus on new talent as Concord Hospitality's Senior Director of Talent Acquisition and Development, and soon thereafter was promoted to Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Engagement. Now, his diverse skillset is being sought as Director of Sales and Marketing for The Ben and with this opportunity, Stewart is bringing his expertise back to the hotel level.

"My career in the hospitality industry has taken me to extraordinary places near and far. The Ben stands out from hotel approaches that are ‘tried and true' and is bringing all the buzz-worthy qualities and character that will make heads turn in West Palm Beach," said Stewart. "After more than a decade on the corporate side, I'm thrilled to return to the property level to join the team that is reimagining the way modern travelers and locals experience West Palm Beach."

The Ben is Autograph Collection's first hotel in Palm Beach County and joins the Concord Hospitality portfolio as their 17th property in the state of Florida. The property will feature a full service restaurant, innovative meeting spaces and a rooftop experience complete with outdoor lounge, swimming pool with private cabanas, a fire pit and an amenity deck with stunning views of Palm Harbor Marina, the Intracoastal Waterway and Palm Beach Island.

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Revenue Management: Focus On Profit

Revenue Management is still a relatively new profession within hotel operations and as such, it continues to evolve. One significant trend in this area is a shift away from using revenue as the foundation to generate key performance indicators (KPIs) and to instead place the emphasis on profit. Traditionally, revenue managers have relied on total revenue per available room (TrevPAR) and revenue per available room (RevPAR) as the basis of their KPIs. Now, some revenue managers are using gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR) as their primary KPI. This puts profit at the center of revenue management strategy, and managers are increasingly searching for new ways to increase the profitability of their hotels. Return on Investment is the objective of any hotel investment, so it is only logical that profitability and ROI will be emphasized going forward. Another trend is an expanded focus on direct hotel bookings. Revenue managers know that one way to increase profitability is to steer guests away from online travel agencies (OTAs) and book directly with the hotel. This tactic also reinforces brand identity and loyalty, and encourages repeat business. In addition, it provides a valuable platform to market the hotel directly to the customer, and to upsell room upgrades or other services to them. Another trend for revenue managers involves automation in their software programs. Revenue management systems with automation are far more desirable than those without it. Automating data entry and logistics increases efficiency, allowing managers to spend more time on formulating strategy. As a bonus, an automated system helps with aggregating and interpreting data. The October issue of the Hotel Business Review will address these developments and document how some leading hotels are executing their revenue management strategies.