Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. McDowell

Robert McDowell

Senior Vice President, Global Distribution, Choice Hotels International

Robert McDowell is senior vice president of global distribution for worldwide lodging franchisor Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH). In this role, he is responsible for the development and execution of Choice's growing global, multi-channel marketing and distribution strategy. Additionally, Mr. McDowell oversees all direct distribution channels, revenue management, global sales and marketing channels, eCommerce, and all channel partner relationships. Prior to joining choice, Mr. McDowell spent 15 years with United Airlines. During this time, Mr. McDowell was the managing director of distribution and E-commerce. As the acting director, Mr. McDowell formulated effective E-commerce and distribution strategy. In addition, he often delved into the rigors of negotiating credit card fees and GDS budgets on behalf of the airline. Mr. McDowell also served as chief operating officer for C&H International, a $600 million international travel agency, overseeing the company's daily operations. Mr. McDowell earned his master's degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame and his bachelor's degree from the New York Institute of Technology.

Mr. McDowell can be contacted at 301-592-5186 or robert_mcdowell@choicehotels.com

Coming up in August 2020...

Food & Beverage: New Technological Innovations

In the past few years, hotel food and beverage departments have experienced significant growth. Managers are realizing just how much revenue potential this sector holds, both in terms of additional revenue and as a means to enhance the guest experience. As a result, substantial investments are being made in F&B operations as a way to satisfy hotel guests but also to keep pace with the competition. Though it has been a trend for many years, the Farm-to-Table movement shows no signs of abating. Hotel chains are abandoning corporate restaurants and are instead partnering with local chefs to create locally-influenced dining options. Local, farm-sourced ingredients paired with specialty beverages or local wine also satisfies the increasing demand from Millennial travelers who are eager to travel sustainably and contribute to a positive impact. A farm-to-table F&B program also helps to support the local economy, which builds community goodwill. Also popular are "Self-Serv" and "Grab & Go" options. These concepts stem from an awareness that a guest's time is limited and if a hotel can supply them with fast, fresh, food and beverage choices, then so much the better for them. Plus, by placing these specialty kiosks in areas that might be traditionally under-utilized (the lobby, for instance), they can become popular destination locations. Of course, there are new technological innovations as well. In-room, on-screen menus allow guests to order from any restaurant on the property, and some hotels are partnering with delivery companies that make it possible for guests to order food from any restaurant in the area. Also, many hotels are implementing in-room, voice-activated devices, so ordering food via an AI-powered assistant will soon become mainstream as well. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these developments and document what some leading hotels are doing to expand this area of their business.