GBTA Conference 2019 - Toronto - Speakers

Featured Speaker

Dorothy Dowling

Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Best Western® Hotels & Resorts

Dorothy Dowling is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Best Western® Hotels & Resorts. Dowling, a 30-plus-year hotel industry veteran, directs all marketing and sales strategies, overseeing the brand’s loyalty program, consumer and field marketing activities, advertising and public relations.

Since joining Best Western in 2004, Dowling has implemented a number of measures to increase market share and contemporize the iconic Best Western brand. She re-branded the company’s loyalty program to Best Western Rewards®, increased its membership to more than 35 million and more than doubled its revenue contribution percentage to hotels. The program has since earned key industry recognitions in recent years, such as the top loyalty program by Loyalty 360 and the “Best Hotel Chain Loyalty Program” by Business Traveler Awards. For six years in a row, Best Western Rewards has been ranked as a top hotel loyalty program by U.S. News & World Report®.

Under Dowling’s leadership, Best Western has strengthened its strategic partnership with AAA®/CAA®. As a result, Best Western has been named AAA Lodging Partner of the Year every since 2008. In 2017, AAA also named Best Western “Best in Marketing,” “Best in Member Support,” and “Best in Travel Agency Support.”

During Dowling’s tenure, Best Western introduced its descriptor program, which established three distinct hotel types, and made significant investments in its sales programs. As a result, Best Western Plus® and Best Western® ranked number one in upper-mid-price and mid-price hotel brands in Business Travel News’ 2018 Hotel Chain Survey - marking the brand's fifth consecutive year of being top ranked by the outlet’s readers.

Under her leadership, Best Western has become a leading hotel player in digital marketing through innovative partnerships with Google®, TripAdvisor® and Facebook®, among others. In 2016, Best Western launched the Best Western Virtual Reality Experience (BWVRE), making it the first major company of its size and scale to utilize this cutting-edge technology and enhance the customer experience. Complete with music and narration, the BWVRE provides travelers with an immersive 360 degree look into its hotel offerings – setting a new industry standard and reinventing how guests view hotels. As a result of this initiative, Fast Company honored Best Western Hotels & Resorts with a spot in the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in the AR/VR category.

In September 2013, Dowling was named Vice President of the Global Business Travel Association Allied Leadership Council. Dowling currently serves on, and is a former chair of the HSMAI Americas Board of Directors, and is past president of HSMAI Canada. Dowling has also served as an Independent Trustee on the Board of Directors for CubeSmart since 2017.

Dowling has been honored with a number of awards, including receiving the prestigious “Allied Member of the Year” award at the GBTA convention in 2018 for her valued stewardship in the business travel industry. In 2017, Dowling was named as one of Hotel Management magazine's "30 Influential Women in Hospitality,” for her trailblazing leadership, and she was named the 18th most influential Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) in the world in the Forbes/ScribbleLive/LinkedIn’s 4th Annual CMO Influence Study in 2015. Dowling jumped in the rankings from 27th in 2014 to 18th in 2015 - the third highest ranked female CMO on the list. Additionally, she received the prestigious American Hotel Foundation Award for Best Practices in Guest Loyalty Programs, and was among HSMAI’s Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing two times. Finally, in 2014, Dowling was inducted into the Direct Marketing News Marketing Hall of Femme.

Before joining Best Western, Dowling held executive-level positions with ARAMARK’s parks, resorts and conventions divisions, as well as Cendant (now Wyndham Hotel Group). She began her hospitality career in Canada after earning a joint Masters of Arts degree in sociology and leisure studies from the University of Waterloo in Ontario. In 2016, Dowling’s alma mater awarded her with the prestigious Applied Health Sciences Alumni Achievement Award for her outstanding contributions to the health and wellbeing of society through her professional accomplishments.