Cvent is proud to partner with hotels and destinations to help them drive profitable group and corporate travel business. Like any good partner, we know that listening to our customers is essential to delivering for them. That is what the Cvent Hospitality Customer Advisory Board (HCAB) is all about. At Cvent CONNECT in July, we welcomed 18 executives to our inaugural HCAB meeting to discuss the direction of the hospitality industry and how Cvent can contribute further to our customers’ success.
“By being on the Customer Advisory Board, we have the opportunity to be actively involved in plotting the future roadmap of Cvent’s cloud products and solutions in anticipation of the ever-evolving hospitality technology landscape,” says HCAB member Riko van Santen, Vice President Digital Strategy & Distribution for Kempinski Hotels. “We are able to exchange guest expectations and requirements with peers and collaborate with Cvent in translating this into superior, customer-centric meeting and event planning solutions.”
Added Christine Lawson, Senior Vice President at Loews Hotels: “The Cvent team is strategic, innovative, able to pivot based upon the needs of their customers, and have their eye on future trends at all times.”
The discussion was a great opportunity for Cvent executives to hear HCAB members’ insights and recommendations for improvements in our company’s products and our approach to the hospitality industry. “The quality and diversity of perspectives around the Customer Advisory Board table is so impressive,” says Chris McAndrews, Vice President of Marketing for the Cvent Hospitality Cloud. “We appreciate the commitment the board members have made to working with us to inform how Cvent can help all our customers tackle key challenges and opportunities in their group and corporate travel businesses.”
The Cvent Hospitality Customer Advisory Board
Executive Vice President, Choose Chicago
A 26-year passionate advocate of the hotel, tourism, and hospitality industry, Marc Anderson has served as Executive Vice President at Choose Chicago (Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau) since July 2016. He is on the Board of Directors for the United States Travel Association (USTA) and the Association Forum and is an Executive Committee Member for the Meetings Mean Business Coalition.
Fun fact: Marc is a lifelong Chicagoan.
SVP Sales & Marketing, Aimbridge Hospitality
Mike Beardsley joined Aimbridge in 2012, bringing 35 years of hospitality experience with him. He is responsible for the overall sales, revenue, and marketing for Aimbridge Hospitality’s portfolio of more than 100 full-service and resort hotels in the U.S. and Caribbean. Prior to joining Aimbridge, he was Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Interstate Hotels and Resorts.
Fun fact: He has a B.S. in Marketing from the University of New Orleans.
Chief Sales Officer, MGM Resorts International
Michael Dominguez provides oversight of MGM Resorts’ sales strategies in the MICE and transient segments, including industry relations, diversity sales, and MGM Resorts Events & Production Services. Michael is actively involved in leadership roles in the meetings and events industry and currently serves as the Immediate Past Chairman on the International Board of Directors for MPI.
Fun fact: He was chosen as one of the 50 Most Influential Hispanics in the U.S. by HispanicBusiness.com.
EVP of Sales & Marketing, Two Roads Hospitality
André Fournier paints a picture of success for every challenge that comes his way with the mantra: “Believe in your mind that you can, and you will.” He leads Two Roads’ global group and travel industry sales, customer relationship management, marketing, digital, and revenue divisions.
Fun fact: His competitive spirit developed at a young age with years of reigning as a championship wrestler.
Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Crescent Hotels & Resorts
Dawn Gallagher is an accomplished sales and marketing executive with extensive experience in multiple markets, as well as in both branded and independent hotels. As Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Dawn oversees all Crescent Sales, Marketing, Public Relations, Revenue and Digital Strategies. She provides knowledge of successful hotel openings, brand transitions, and the ability to drive market share.
Fun fact: Dawn previously served as the Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Interstate Hotels, where she was responsible for all independent hotels in NYC, among other things.
EVP of Sales & Marketing, Remington Lodging & Hospitality
LaDonna Gerhart joined Remington in September 2013, bringing 30 years of sales, sales leadership, and marketing experience. She is a member of the American Advertising Association, the Sheraton Advisory Board, the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International Board, and The Network of Executive Women.
Fun fact: She holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Lyon College.
EVP & Chief Marketing Officer, Wyndham Hotel Group
Barry Goldstein is responsible for all aspects of marketing and revenue generation for Wyndham Hotel Group and its 20 global brands, leading the brand marketing, loyalty, digital marketing, global sales, communications, customer care, and revenue management functions for a portfolio of more than 8,400 hotels in 80 countries.
Fun fact: Barry earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Columbia University.
Global Head – Sales & Revenue, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Jack Horne has global responsibility for sales, revenue management, distribution strategy, and events. Most recently, as Senior Vice President, Sales-Americas, he was responsible for revenue for all Hyatt hotel brands in the Americas. Jack has held seats on the boards of USTA and ASAE, as well as the Business Travel Advisory Board.
Fun fact: He began his career in 1988 at Hyatt Regency O’Hare as the Associate Director of Sales.
(Note: David Lewin, SVP, Sales & Revenue at Hyatt Hotels Corporation, attended the July 23 HCAB meeting on Jack’s behalf.)
VP, Global Sales Strategy, IHG
In his current role, Jonathan Kaplan is responsible for global ideation, evolution, change management, and execution of sales strategies across IHG’s B2B segments. Prior to joining IHG, Jonathan spent 15 years with Starwood Hotels & Resorts tackling a series of diverse sales and corporate positions.
Fun fact: He was lucky enough to marry his high school sweetheart and now devotes most of his free time to chasing after their two young sons.
D. Bradley Kent
SVP & Chief Sales Officer, VisitDallas
Brad Kent brings experience from 26 years in the hotel business — from front desk clerk to Senior Vice President of Sales — for Hilton and Wyndham hotel companies. Since the sale of Wyndham, Brad has enjoyed career stops with Freeman and Choose Chicago prior to returning to Dallas, where he has lived since 1999.
Fun fact: He likes to golf, cook, and travel with his family, including two lovable Labrador retrievers.
Senior Vice President of Sales, Loews Hotels & Co.
A sales enthusiast, pioneer, and action-oriented executive with decades of experience and success in hotel management, Christine Lawson oversees all aspects of sales for the company’s consumer brand, Loews Hotels, and hotels located in its partner brand category as well. She arrived at Loews Hotels in 2016 after a 20-plus-year tenure with Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants.
Fun fact: If she weren’t working in hospitality, Christine says she would happily be pursuing a career as a doctor or a fashion magazine editor.
Vice President of Sales, Caesars Entertainment Corporation
Lisa Gray Messina oversees the sales strategy for Caesars Entertainment’s meetings and events globally. This includes the coordination of all meeting and convention sales the company handles at its 40 properties nationwide. Messina has over 20 years of leadership sales experience at international hospitality brands.
Fun fact: She has called Las Vegas home for the last seven years and enjoys all that the city has to offer.
VP, Global Distribution & Cross-Channel Strategy, Marriott International
In his current role, Oral Muir leads global commercial and business strategy for the meetings and events and business travel segments, as well as operations for all online and offline sales channels for Marriott International. Oral joined Marriott in 2000 and has served in a variety of leadership roles, including global head of Marriott’s online travel agency sales and eCommerce business development.
Fun fact: Oral resides in Fort Washington, Maryland, with his spouse of 21 years.
Chief Revenue Officer, HEI Hotels & Resorts
At HEI Hotels and Resorts, a leading hospitality management company, Karl Murphy is responsible for the company's strategic sales, marketing, and revenue management initiatives. Karl is an active member of GBTA and serves on various boards including Marriott’s Revenue Advisory Board, Sales and Marketing Advisory Council, and Owners Distribution Committee.
Fun fact: Before his tenure with HEI, Karl served in Corporate Operations, Marketing, and Brand Roles for Virgin, The Body Shop, and Bass PLC in the U.K.
SVP, Asset Management, Host Hotels & Resorts
Christopher Ostapovicz has been with Host Hotels & Resorts since July 2009 and has asset managed hotel portfolios in over nine markets. Prior to his current role, he was based in San Diego with a focus on Hawaii and Southern California properties. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Hotel Asset Management Association (HAMA) and the San Diego Tourism District.
Fun fact: He holds an M.S. in Real Estate from Johns Hopkins University, among other degrees.
VP of Distribution & Connectivity, Hilton Worldwide
Peter Palli is responsible for OTA relationships, channel connectivity, leisure, and wholesale, as well as group, meeting, and event strategy. Having started his hospitality career in his native Austria, Peter has worked at Hilton for more than 15 years, during which time he led multiple transformational enterprise initiatives.
Fun fact: Peter resides in Northern Virginia with his wife, Elaine, daughter Lilly, and sons Peter Alexander and Gabriel.
Riko van Santen
VP Digital Strategy & Distribution, Kempinski Hotels
Riko is based at Kempinski's headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, overseeing the distribution, e-commerce, revenue management, and reservations disciplines. Prior to joining Kempinski, Riko oversaw 1,100 properties under seven brands, ranging from budget to high-end luxury, as Vice President Distribution and E-Commerce at Louvre Hotels Group, based in Paris.
Fun fact: Riko graduated with an honors degree in Hospitality Management from Middlesex University in London and obtained a postgraduate degree in Japanese Business Studies.
SVP, Revenue Strategy, Interstate Hotels & Resorts
Hunter Webster brings a diverse background of solid operations, sales, digital marketing, revenue management, and business development experience with over 31 years in the lodging and hospitality industry. He has worked at Interstate Hotels & Resorts for the past 14 years.
Fun fact: Before joining Interstate, Hunter spent four years working for Hilton Hotels and 14 years at Marriott International in a variety of roles.
For more information, visit the Cvent Hospitality Customer Advisory Board website.