Hawaii Hospitality - May/June 2014 - (Page 24)

Taking the Lead in Sales and marketing is one of the most challenging departments in the hotel industry. In this issue we highlight the talent and accomplishments of four high-achieving sales and marketing professionals and find out what keeps them motivated. BY STACY POPE SHARI CHANG Senior Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Revenue Management Aston Hotels & Resorts With more than 30 years in sales and marketing for Castle Resorts & Hotels, Aloha Airlines, SWC Marketing, Aloha United Way and Aston Hotels & Resorts, Shari Chang is a leader in Hawaii's hospitality and travel industry. She is currently senior vice president of sales, marketing and revenue management for Aston Hotels & Resorts and recently has overseen Aston's successful expansion to sought-after markets in California, Nevada and Florida. "Some people try to treat marketing as a science, but it's not," Chang says. "It's an art, and creativity is important. New things pop up every year to challenge our ability to reach target markets, so we must be sharp and open to continually learning new strategies." The market has also experienced a major change over the past seven years, she adds. "Dynamic pricing has allowed revenue management to become much more sophisticated," Chang says, "and sales and marketing teams have had to sharpen their analytical skills to tackle decisions that impact the future of their companies." She recommends that young professionals just starting out in sales, marketing and revenue "should have a broad background that encompasses more than one specialty, as that will open opportunities for future development." Despite her motivation and achievements, Chang is an ardent supporter of a healthy work-life balance. "I make sure my team knows there is more to life than work," she says. As a member of both the International Women's Leadership Federation, a premier women's networking organization, and the advisory board at the University of Hawaii's School of Travel Industry Management, Chang also mentors future leaders in hospitality. 24 Hawaii Hospitality May/June 2014 ■ SUSAN KOEHLER Director of Sales and Marketing Embassy Suites - Waikiki Beach Walk Susan Koehler joined Embassy Suites - Waikiki Beach Walk in 2010 as director of sales and marketing. With a BSBA in hotel and restaurant management and more than 20 years in business development, sales-team training, management and marketing for Ramada Worldwide, Sheraton, Intercontinental Worldwide and Embassy Suites, Kamehameha Schools graduate Koehler knows how to move a property forward. In addition to serving as president of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International, she has helped position Embassy Suites - Waikiki Beach Walk as the highest performing Embassy Suites in the U.S. and helped grow its brand recognition internationally. How does Koehler make it happen? "I thrive in dynamic environments and get fulfillment from building and implementing innovative solutions," she says. "Every day I look at how I can 'move the needle.' It's important to stay focused on a plan, but be ready to adjust as opportunities evolve or dissolve. "I'm proud to make a positive difference at the hotel. Bringing new ideas and strategies, implementing new programs and promotions, building bridges and partnerships, as well as seizing opportunities domestically and internationally, are accomplishments I reflect on," she continues. "However, I'm especially proud when a manager or team member expresses appreciation for keeping the hotel busy with the right business mix." Koehler adds, "I love living in Hawaii and feel fortunate that promoting this idyllic destination is part of my job."

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Hawaii Hospitality - May/June 2014

News Briefs
Are You Inspection Ready?
Lanai: Small Island, Big Aloha
Great Restaurants: W Bistro
Talk Story with George Szigeti
Small-scale Sustainability
Out of Sight, Not out of Mind
Food & Beverage SuperStars
Taking the Lead: Sales & Marketing
Jaclyn Loo of Google Inc.
Clean Talk
Association News

Hawaii Hospitality - May/June 2014