Marriott Executive Susan Thronson to Chair HSMAI Foundation Board of Directors

  • 06.02.09
The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI)  Foundation announced Susan Thronson, senior vice president of global marketing at Marriott International, Inc., as the new HSMAI Foundation chair.

HSMAI Foundation board members elected Thronson to the position at the Foundation board meeting held in McLean, Va. Thronson takes over the position from past chair, Pam Streeter, president of PS Consulting, on June 1, 2009.

A 20-year Marriott veteran, Thronson is responsible for leading the company’s marketing strategy across eight core lodging brands representing more than 3,000 hotels worldwide.  She also oversees the Marriott Rewards loyalty program which has grown to over 30 million members.

"The recent worldwide recession has had a major impact on the global hospitality industry. Businesses have curtailed travel both for individual travel and conferences; consumers have postponed non-essential personal travel and have significantly changed their travel behavior,” said Thronson. “Veterans of the hospitality industry know that it’s a cyclical industry, but this recession has been an endurance test for all of us.”

“Customers have more options and more ways to buy than ever before.  Knowing the best sales and marketing channels and when and where to activate them is essential to being successful in today’s global marketplace,” she said.

“The hospitality industry needs sales and marketing leaders who have the business acumen and access to the latest information to make critical decisions about building brands; growing market share; and generating profitable revenues,” added Thronson. “Since 1983, the HSMAI Foundation has supported the industry by providing research and educational resources for the hospitality sales and marketing practitioner.  Looking ahead, we will help build leadership skills by expanding and enhancing the body of knowledge needed to compete in today's dynamic, global hospitality industry.  It is an honor to be part of such an important organization."

Thronson joined Marriott International in 1989 and has held a variety of marketing management positions. In her most recent position as senior vice president of international marketing, she was responsible for developing marketing strategy for the company’s lodging brands in 64 countries outside of the United States and Canada, building a global field marketing organization, and was the international market management liaison with Marriott International’s brand management department. Prior to joining Marriott, Ms. Thronson was employed by McCann-Erickson Worldwide in account management roles.    

The 2009 HSMAI Foundation board of directors also includes:

  • Pam Streeter, president, PS Consulting
  • Don Bender, president, Bender & Associates
  • Vail Brown, vice president, global sales & marketing, Smith Travel Research
  • John Fareed, CHME, partner, Fareed Zapala Koepke, LLC
  • Mike Fegley, vice president of global sales, Americas, InterContinental Hotels Group
  • Rick Garlick, director of consulting and strategic implementation, Maritz Research
  • Cindy Estis Green, managing partner, The Estis Group
  • Sehrab Grewal, manager of strategic partnerships, Best Western International
  • Lauren Hogan, senior director of advertising, USA Today
  • Noreen Henry, vice president of hotels and packaging, Travelocity
  • Gary Leopold, CHME, president and CEO, ISM
  • Jim Struna, director of marketing and revenue management, Nickelodeon Family Suites
Established in 1983 to serve as the research and educational arm of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International, HSMAI Foundation's mission is to expand and enhance the educational opportunities available to hospitality sales and marketing executives and to increase the amount of in-depth research conducted on behalf of the profession. Today, and in the years ahead, the HSMAI Foundation plans to accelerate its research and publishing activities to contribute even more to the continuing education of those engaged in this fast-paced, increasingly demanding profession.

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