Choice Hotels International, Inc, one of the world’s largest hotel companies, today announced that Anne Engelking Smith has joined the company as Vice President of Brand Strategy. Smith joins the company from AARP where she was responsible for overseeing the AARP brand in commercial marketing and driving membership growth including the organization’s multicultural membership base.
At Choice Hotels, Smith will oversee the brand strategies for nine of the company’s midscale, economy and extended stay brands: Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Sleep Inn, Quality Inn, Clarion, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn, Suburban and MainStay Suites. Smith will lead the overall strategy for this portfolio of brands to promote a compelling value proposition to both franchisees and consumers, with goals of optimizing unit growth, and driving central reservations. She will report to Alexandra Jaritz, Senior Vice President, Brand Strategy and Marketing.
“Choice Hotels enjoys some of the strongest brands in the industry from our iconic Comfort Inn to our storied Quality Inn which was the first of our brands. Under Anne’s leadership our portfolio of brands will become even stronger,” said Alexandra Jaritz, Senior Vice President Brand Strategy and Marketing.
Smith’s extensive brand management experience includes leadership roles at Frito-Lay, Inc., a division of Pepsico, where she was responsible for overseeing multiple award-winning campaigns and product launches including the relaunch of SunChips. She also led innovation for a $5 billion portfolio that included the Lay’s, Tostitos and Rold Gold brands. Smith also led an effort that highlighted the company’s environmental sustainability practices to evolve the company’s corporate identity.
Anne received her MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Earlier in her career, Anne worked in the publishing field, where she produced compelling content for science and technology textbooks to engage children in learning and demystifying these subjects. The creative skills she honed developing scholastic content combined with her educational background and consumer packaged goods experience, have sharpened her ability to create a compelling brand strategy and tell the “story” of a brand.