Monthly Archives: November 2017

Visit Baltimore Hires Industry Executive as New Chief Operating Officer

Visit Baltimore, the official sales and marketing organization for Baltimore, today announced that destination marketing veteran Charles Jeffers II has joined the organization as chief operating officer.

Jeffers brings more than 20 years of hospitality and destination marketing experience industry to Baltimore, having most recently served as an industry advisor to destination marketing organizations and associations throughout the United States as principal of his own consulting firm The Jeffers Group. Through his previous roles as COO and SVP of Operations at Destinations International and the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, respectively, Jeffers possesses a wealth of leadership experience in all aspects of operations, technology, membership, strategic planning, and budget management.

While with the Atlanta CVB, Jeffers led dynamic projects helping to transform the city into an international destination through efforts surrounding the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games inclusive of implementing international exhibits at the city’s welcome center. Understanding the importance of a honed organizational mission, Jeffers led the development of a new strategic “innovation” plan during his tenure with Destinations International while also providing leadership through its CEO transition.

“Visit Baltimore is thrilled to welcome a well-known and respected member of our industry to the team,” said President and CEO Al Hutchinson. “We are confident in his proven ability to steer the operational side of a destination marketing organization, while innovating and creating tailored solutions specific to Baltimore. Charles will be a driving force as we look to expand our international presence, Visitor Center event capabilities, Certified Tourism Ambassador program, and membership growth.”

As COO of Visit Baltimore, Jeffers will lead and manage the Operations and Finance Departments, where he will oversee the operation of the administrative, information technology, research, human resources, accounting, finance and hospitality functions of Visit Baltimore. Jeffers will direct the company’s financial planning, treasury, accounting practices and internal control systems; as well as its relationships with lending institutions, stakeholders and the financial community. He will also be responsible for overseeing the annual Visit Baltimore and City budgets as a major tool of financial and performance management, and for the monthly preparation and analysis of financial reports.

“My new role with Visit Baltimore presents an exciting opportunity to put my personal and professionals passion to work for a bureau and community positioned for growth,’ said Jeffers. “I am honored to join this passionate team in their pursuit to positively impact Baltimore through economic growth generated from the city’s strong tourism portfolio.”

In his career, Jeffers has served on more than nine industry boards including the Meetings Mean Business Coalition, National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners and Destination Marketing Accreditation Program to name a few. He was named one of the ‘Most Influential African Americans in the Meetings/Tourism Industry’ by Black Meetings & Tourism magazine from 2012-2016 consecutively. Jeffers is also a strong civic steward, lending his talents to numerous organizations such as the Meetings Industry Fund, Theater of the Stars, Alpha Pi Alpha Fraternity, the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and more.

Jeffers earned a Masters of Public Administration from Georgia State University, and a Bachelor of Science in psychology and criminal justice from the American International College.

About Visit Baltimore
Visit Baltimore is the official sales and marketing organization for Baltimore that generates economic benefits for stakeholders through the attraction of convention, group and leisure visitors. For more information, please visit

Source: Visit Baltimore » Read more

Visit Plano announces new Sales Manager and Convention Services Coordinator

Visit Plano has promoted two staff members to the positions of SMERF & Government Sales Manager and Convention Services Coordinator.

Visit Plano’s former Convention Services Coordinator Blaire Zahn has been named SMERF (social, military, educational, religious, and fraternal) & Government Sales Manager, and intern Liz Navarette has been promoted to the position of Convention Services Coordinator.

In her new role, Zahn will be responsible for booking SMERF and government conventions, meetings, events and securing hotel room nights in Plano.

Prior to joining Visit Plano in December 2016, Zahn was Tourism Director at the Mineral Wells Convention & Visitors Bureau. She brings a diverse background and numerous talents to Plano. Her extensive experience in the tourism industry also includes positions with The Fairmont Dallas, Banana Azul Hotel, the Carolina Renaissance Festival, Visit Southlake and Sustainable Travel International. Zahn holds a Master of Science in International Sustainable Tourism and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Hospitality Management, both from the University of North Texas.

Navarette will manage all logistics, arrangements, and services for Visit Plano clients once they have been booked in Plano by the Visit Plano sales team. She will also assist meeting planners in coordinating events in each of Visit Plano’s targeted market segments including corporate, association, government, sports, and SMERF (social, military, educational, religious, and fraternal).

Navarette received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and minored in Kinesiology at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. She played on their women’s soccer team for four years and graduated from the Redwine Honors Program. Before interning with Visit Plano, she also completed an administrative and marketing internship with Midwestern’s Athletic Department.

Meliá Hotels International Accelerates Its Growth In The Asia Pacific To Reach 45 Hotels In The Region With China, Vietnam, Thailand And Malaysia To Host new company hotels

Gabriel Escarrer Jaume, Executive Vice President and CEO of Meliá Hotels International, as well as the COO, André P. Gerondeau and the Global Development Managing Director Maria Zarraluqui, have completed another annual tour of Asia Pacific accompanied by the Regional Vice President Bernardo Cabot. During this trip, they visited several key destinations in China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand, amongst others. Whilst in the APAC, Escarrer signed agreements for severalnew hotels with major local partners, taking the total number of hotels in the region to 45. Meliá has grown quickly in Asia Pacific, adding more than 30 hotels over the last five years and multiplying its portfolio in the region by five.

Of the 44 hotels in operation or in the pre-opening phase, 16 are in Indonesia, 10 in China, seven in Vietnam, four in Thailand, five in Malaysia, one in Mongolia and one in Myanmar. Meliá Hotels International has also developed a service program adapted to Chinese guests to ensure hotels all over the world are better prepared to meet the needs and expectations of this increasingly powerful market. The company expects to add new hotels by the end of the year.

In China, Meliá Hotels International will add a new hotel under the Meliá Hotels & Resorts brand, Meliá Xueye Lake, which is in Shandong province next to the prosperous city of Ji’nan where Meliá already operates the Meliá Jinan. In Thailand, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asia, the company adds two new Meliá Hotels & Resorts: the Meliá Chiang Mai and INNSIDE Bangkok Sukhumvit.

In Vietnam, Meliá has signed another new property: Meliá Ba Vi Mountain Retreat, situated in the beautiful Vietnamese countryside to the west of Hanoi. Gabriel Escarrer, Executive Vice President and CEO at Meliá also signed an agreement for the future Meliá Bukit Tinggi in the state of Pahang in Malaysia. The company’s portfolio and pipeline already includes four hotels in Malaysia.

Gabriel Escarrer said: “The size of this market, the strong organic growth we are seeing in China and Southeast Asia, and the progressive growth in revenues in the region, lead us to predict that in the medium term the region will make a contribution as important to company results as Cuba represented after its addition 30 years ago.”

Committed to alliances with major partners
The company has been operating in Asia Pacific for 30 years, and the region is a perfect example of its business model, focused on the addition of hotels under management agreements rather than through acquisitions. This is a key feature of the company’s growth strategy. Bernardo Cabot, Senior Vice President in the Asia Pacific said: “Meliá has an attractive value proposition for hotel owners and investors, thanks to its know-how, its extensive portfolio of leading brands, and its human potential and service culture, which increase its appeal in such a demanding market as Asia.”

The relevance of the APAC markets is developing for Meliá Hotels International year-on-year, considering both the inbound and the outbound travellers. In line with the company’s strategic commitment to and importance of the Asian market, the new management agreements signed by Gabriel Escarrer will strengthen the relationships of the company with important financial and real estate groups in the region, such as Greentown China, TCC-Land in Thailand and Aurelian Land SDN BHD.

Source: Melia Hotels International