HSMAI Forms Internet Marketing Committee

MCLEAN, VA—Internet marketing specialists from leading hotel companies have united under the auspices of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) to form a committee dedicated to the most pressing and topical issues facing the industry as it relates to Internet Marketing.
After almost a year of preparation, the committee was officially launched last week with its first monthly “phone forum,” which tackled the issue of Trademark Protection, focusing on search engine optimization, legitimacy, domain names and bidding.

Leading the initiative are advisory board members:

* Jens Thraenhart, director of Internet strategy, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
* Michael Davis, director of Interactive strategy & development, Ian Schrager Hotels
* Michael B. Wylie, vice president eCommerce, Wyndham International
* Michael Hayward, director, marketing planning and automation, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
* Mark Koehler, vice president of interactive marketing, Starwood Hotels & Resorts
* James Zito, manager, interactive marketing & development, Affinia Hospitality (formerly Manhattan East Suite Hotels)
* Gino Giovannelli, senior director, e-Business strategy, Carlson Hospitality Worldwide
* Bill Carroll, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor, School of Hotel Administration, Cornell University

“Internet marketing, while relatively new, is an extremely powerful and influential component of the overall marketing and sales process,” says Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHA, president and CEO of HSMAI.

“We are truly pleased with the support and high-level participation in the HSMAI Internet Marketing advisory board and committee, which represents a wealth of talent and expertise from all of the hospitality industry`s major players,” he adds.


According to Thraenhart, chair and initiator of the HSMAI Internet Marketing Committee, “We have seen a need to bring together Internet marketing executives in the hospitality industry to increase awareness of issues, opportunities and trends as it relates to internet marketing and distribution in the hospitality industry, as well as develop and recommend standards and ethical guidelines for the internet as a hospitality marketing medium.”

Topics to be discussed include Trademark Protection on the Internet, Metrics and Measurement of Internet Marketing, Online Privacy, Search Engine Optimization, Online Customer Service, content management, Internet Marketing support at the hotel level, and customer experience on the Web.

A “live” meeting is planned for Friday, Dec.12, 2003 from 9am to noon in Miami, immediately following the HEDNA fall conference.

Participation is limited to one qualified internet marketing specialist per hotel company. Those interested should contact Bob Gilbert, [email protected], for information and call-in instructions. Plans call for the committee`s phone forum summaries, or Best Practices, to be posted on the HSMAI website in the “Members Only” section. Non-members will be charged a fee for access.

HSMAI is an organization of sales and marketing professionals representing all segments of the hospitality and travel industry. With a strong focus on education, HSMAI has become the industry champion in identifying and communicating trends in the hospitality industry, while operating as a leading voice for both hospitality and sales and marketing management disciplines. Founded in 1927, HSMAI is an individual membership organization comprised of nearly 7,000 members from 35 countries and 60 chapters worldwide.

For more information on HSMAI, or to participate in the Internet Marketing Committee, contact the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International, 8201 Greensboro Drive, Suite 300, McLean, VA 22102, phone (703) 610-9024; fax (703) 610-9005. You can also visit the web site at www.hsmai.org.