FRANKFURT, GERMANY—Worldhotels one of the leading groups for independent hotels, announced last month that Bonnie Somerstein is joining its New York office as senior director of hotel development for Worldhotels—The Americas. Her responsibilities include growing the company’s portfolio in the Americas, as well as overseeing work associated with trade shows, promotions, collateral development, contract negotiations and key partner relationships.
Somerstein has spent nearly two decades in the hotel industry, most recently with Amsterdam Hospitality Group where she was regional director of sales, overseeing all sales and marketing for five New York City hotels. Prior to that, she was director of sales and marketing at The St. Giles Hotel NY—The Court and The Tuscany. She has also served in that role at The Carlton Hotel and The Bryant Park Hotel.
Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal key
When they talk about growing in the Americas, that definitely includes Canada, Tom Griffiths, vice-president, The Americas told CLN.
“We’ve made several changes in our development team, bringing in new blood and fresh faces. We want to grow our North American footprint, specifically in the U.S. and Canada.”
Griffiths himself has more than 30 years experience in hospitality sales, marketing, franchise support services and development. From the company’s regional headquarters in New York City, he is responsible for overseeing the management, operations and growth of Worldhotels throughout the U.S., Canada and Latin America.
He joined the company in 2002. Under his direction, the Americas region has realized great success, including the addition of more than 100 hotels since 2003.
Worldhotels is a global brand that brings together unique independent hotels. With the tagline “Where Discovery Starts” it targets savvy business and leisure travellers that seek an authentic and local experience when choosing a hotel. Worldhotels now offers 500 hotels in 250 destinations and 65 countries worldwide.
Griffiths describes Worldhotels as a soft brand, a membership affiliation rather than a franchise.
“We do have long-term contracts, we are performance based, and we produce revenue for our hotels,” he said. “Our members are only paying a percentage on the actual rooms we deliver to their properties. That makes us very motivated to engage hotels and customers.”
Worldhotels has more than 500 corporate RFPs, and those companies want to book properties in high-demand locations such as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Right now, Worldhotels has no hotels in these markets.
“Bonnie will be targeting and inviting independent hotels in those key markets to join,” Griffiths explained.
“That way we can do two things: expand our soft brand into markets where we have no representation, and provide an option to our corporate clients.”