Danzinger, Gendron to Receive HSMAI Lifetime Achievement Awards

  • 01.17.12
The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) has announced the recipients of its annual Albert E. Koehl Award for advertising and marketing and the Winthrop W. Grice Award for public relations excellence.

The recipients will be honored at HSMAI’s annual Adrian Awards Gala on Feb. 27, 2012, at the New York Marriott Marquis.

Eric A. Danziger, president and CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group, will be recognized with the Albert E. Koehl Award, which was established in 1975 to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the hospitality advertising and marketing industry.

Mary Gendron, president of Middleton & Gendron Brand Communications, will receive the Winthrop W. Grice Award that was established in 1989 to recognize individuals who have made noteworthy contributions to public relations within the hospitality industry.

“A major part of HSMAI’s Adrian Awards each year is to honor two individuals who have and continue to set the bar for advertising, marketing and public relations in the hospitality industry,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA, president and CEO of HSMAI. “Both Eric Danziger and Mary Gendron have long been professionals who raise the standards of innovation and execution, and we are privileged to recognize them this year.”

Albert E. Koehl Award

As president and CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group, Danziger is responsible for the operation, growth, performance and strategic direction of the world’s largest hotel company, with approximately 7,190 hotels and 611,200 rooms in 65 countries around the globe.

A lodging industry veteran, he joined the company in late 2008 after serving in executive leadership roles for some of the world’s most well-known hospitality companies, including Carlson Hotels Worldwide, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Double Tree Hotels and the former Wyndham International.

Danziger, who is a 2011 UJA-Federation of New York Honoree, has been the recipient of numerous industry awards and honors, including the 2005 Northern California Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the category of real estate, hospitality and construction.

He is a member of the prestigious Industry Real Estate Financing Council and the Urban Land Institute, and he sits on the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation Board of Trustees.  He also previously served as the chairman of the American Hotel & Motel Association’s Strategic Planning Group and as a trustee of the American Hotel & Motel Federation. Danziger holds an honorary doctorate from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., where he is a distinguished visiting professor. 

Named in honor of Albert E. Koehl, a pioneer in hotel advertising, past recipients include: J.W. Marriott, Jr., Ian Schrager, Barbara Talbott, Barry S. Sternlicht, Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, Horst H. Schulze, John J. Russell, CHME, Michael A. Leven, CHME, Richard Branson, Michael D. Eisner, Gordon “Butch” Stewart and Jonathan M. Tisch.

Winthrop W. Grice Award

Gendron is president of Middleton & Gendron Brand Communications, and she and her partner, Yvonne Middleton, have been in business together for three decades, spearheading successful image-making and groundbreaking public relations and branding campaigns. With their staff, they have launched new companies, repositioned existing ones, managed crises with worldwide impact, organized celebrity and charity galas and sports tournaments, forged compelling co-marketing partnerships, and helped their clients communicate effectively through the full range of traditional and digital media.

Thanks to her expertise in travel, hospitality, real estate and spa, Gendron was a founding board member of the International Spa Association and also helped launch and has served on the boards of New York Spa Alliance and Washington Spa Alliance. She served on Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s Crisis Communications Committee which was charged with bringing tourism back to New York City in the wake of 9/11. She has won numerous awards for her work including the Mel Hosansky Award for Distinguished Service presented by the International Association of Conference Centers which she helped launch and served as board advisor for two decades.

A Milwaukee-area native, Gendron moved to New York City in 1976 after earning her B.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and is now a regular guest speaker at colleges, universities and industry forums in the U.S. and abroad, and has authored many articles for consumer, business and public relations outlets.

The Winthrop W. Grice Award was named in honor of Winthrop W. “Bud” Grice, CHME, a long-time senior marketing executive with Marriott, who was the award’s first designate.  Other winners include: Nancy Friedman, Laura Davidson, Yvonne Middleton, Peggy R. Bendel, René A. Mack, Lou Hammond, Bunny Grossinger, Herbert D. Kelleher, Steve Wynn, Alan Fredericks, Donald J. Trump and Florence Quinn.

The nomination process for these awards is designed to ensure that anyone who has made a sustained and lasting commitment to excelling in the travel and hospitality industry can be eligible for consideration. Using the input of its members, HSMAI assembles a list of the nominees and the credentials that have been submitted, and these are presented to the HSMAI Lifetime Achievement Awards Selection Committee, which is comprised of 11 former recipients of the Koehl and Grice Awards.

The HSMAI Adrian Awards honor creative brilliance and best practices in hospitality, travel, and tourism-related marketing. In its 55th year, the competition has evolved into the world's most renowned and prestigious advertising, public relations, and digital marketing competition specifically tailored for the hospitality, travel and tourism industries.



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