Meeting News - November 10, 2008 - (Page 5)

Newsmaker Q + A For Marriott’s New Sales VP, the Hotel Biz Is a Family Affair An industry prodigy is tapped to run the company’s sales ranks, and she’s eyeing efforts to attract customers worldwide too. Between now and 2011, we are opening 75 It’s not uncommon in this industry to find hote- group-friendly properties with over 1 million sf liers who love their work so much that they say it’s of meeting space. So we have to ask ourselves in their blood. But in the case of Stephanie Cole- how we create meeting experiences that are man Linnartz—recently named senior vice pres- impactful for our customers around the world. ident of global sales at Marriott International— We are working on that very closely with our it’s true. brand team on a project called “meetings of The daughter of the Phoenix Park Hotel and meetings,” to figure out how to distinguish our Dubliner Irish Restaurant ownmeetings from our competitors’, ers in Washington, DC, Linand how to make them state of nartz has worked in the the art. A lot of the work there is industry since her childhood. on food and beverage; I’m seeHer fondness for it never ing some creative work in that wavered, and after stints in area as I attend meetings at vareverything from housekeepious Marriott properties, like ing as a kid to revenue manunique buffet setups and lightagement as an adult, Lining, food being served that isn’t nartz is tackling uncharted the same as before, as well as difwaters in her new role. ferent presentations of table Previously Marriott’s senlinens and tablecloths. ior VP of sales, marketing We’re also creating unique planning, and support, Linroom setups and trying to think Stephanie Linnartz nartz took time out to talk of new ways to market and sell Senior VP of Global Sales with MeetingNews. our hotels. Marriott International When you were proYou have also said Marmoted this summer, riott needs to be innovayou said that Marriott has to tive and in touch with the new think and act globally. How will you have the ways customers are doing business? What are sales operation do that? you developing in this regard? By Rayna Katz As we think about technology—there wasn’t texting, MySpace, and the like even five years ago—the landscape has changed. Our efforts are helped by the fact that we talk regularly to customers. We hold focus groups, events, surveys, and more to find out what products and services they need. When you first joined Marriott, you worked in finance and business development, and you later worked in revenue management. Why did you shift from those areas to sales and marketing? Q A Q A Q I started my career in sales and operations, at Hilton, and I loved that, but I decided to get my MBA and learn more about real estate and business. But my passion was always sales and marketing. And the various departments all need to work together: Sales Force One is a perfect example of that; when you make a big change in a company, you don’t do it alone. It’s done with the support of a lot of disciplines. Having worked in some different areas, I have a tremendous amount of respect for the other disciplines. How does your parents’ ownership of a hotel and bar inform your work today? When you think about the statistics for the growth of global tourism, that has to be a focus area for Marriott, with 3,000 hotels worldwide. India and China, especially, are going to be important for me; most economists predict that those countries will have the first and second largest economies within 20 years. The big question for me is, how do we market and sell to that customer base? Also, there are so many international travelers coming to the U.S.; how do we get them into our hotels? The Department of Commerce said 29 million international travelers came to the country in the first part of this year; that’s up 10 percent from the year before. We want to find ways to capitalize on that. There’s big growth in the meetings market, A The number-one thing we’re doing is Sales Force One (Jan. 28 MN cover story). That started before I took this job a few months ago, but I worked closely with David Marriott on the development of the new sales strategy. Before, we might have had a half-dozen people calling on a planner. Now, we have deployed our sales force in a more intelligent way so that customers have a primary point of contact. We’re getting tremendous feedback from customers that they like being sold to this way. We’re also doing a lot in e-tools; we launched QuickGroup on (an online booking tool for small meetings), and we just launched a site for third-party planners, which includes an online training program for buyers (Oct. 6 MN, p. 6). Q A I grew up in it, it’s a lot of fun. I love the way the industry allows you to have interaction with people. So many happy occasions in people’s lives—whether they’re deals, successful meetings, weddings, or other celebrations—take place at a hotel, and I have always loved being surrounded by that. I have five brothers and sisters, and we had to be maids one summer. I was even a PBX operator at one point. It gave me an appreciation. If we didn’t have housekeeping, the restaurant, and various departments, I wouldn’t have a job in sales. I know you need the whole picture. I feel lucky that I’ve been able to do almost every job in a hotel. I just understand it better because of those experiences. H Contact Rayna Katz at November 10, 2008 MeetingNews 5

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting News - November 10, 2008

Meeting News - November 10, 2008
MN Exclusive Research
%20%20%20%20%20Green & Social Responsibility: The Year that Was in Meetings
Incentive Special: Recovering from AIG
What's Up @
Letters to the Editor
Inside the Meetings Industry
South Africa Supplement
Newsmaker Q&A
People Making News
Hotels & Resorts
%20%20%20%20%20Starwood Hopes E-Portal is Small Meeting Utopia
%20%20%20%20%20Intercontinental O'Hare Puts Art at Forefront
Convention Centers
%20%20%20%20%20Dallas and Philadelphia Move on Their Projects
%20%20%20%20%20Jacksonville Markets to Medical, Cultural Groups
%20%20%20%20%20Jamaica's Rose Hall Area Blossoms with Resorts
%20%20%20%20%20EIBTM Puts Together an Ambitious Program
Transportation & Services
Meeting News South
Green Beat
Destination Insider
%20%20%20%20%20Fort Lauderdale
Incentive Report
MN Webcast Report
Ad Index
Live from the Forum

Meeting News - November 10, 2008