Meeting People - 2009-11-04

Meetings industry personnel announcements from MeetingNews magazine.

Hilton Names Vanderslice, Svendsen To Top Sales, Development Posts

Hilton Worldwide in late September announced that John Vanderslice, a former Club Med CEO, had joined the company to lead development of its luxury and lifestyle brands.

Earlier last month, Hilton also welcomed a new senior vice president of global brands and commercial services: former Walt Disney Co. executive Kenneth Svendsen, who now heads Hilton's worldwide group, corporate and leisure sales as well as third-party distribution, voice reservations and customer care.

Both Svendsen and Vanderslice report to Hilton president of global brands and commercial services Paul Brown.

Svendsen, a Denmark native, comes to Hilton following several travel-related roles at Disney, most recently as senior vice president of worldwide travel operations and consumer direct sales for Disney Destinations. He previously worked with vacation program development and sales for Disney's tour companies and served as vice president of worldwide travel operations and in-market sales for the Disneyland Resort.

Brown said Svendsen's "vast global experience and past successes in our industry will serve to further energize our industry-leading sales and customer care platforms, helping deliver continued growth opportunities for our brands."

Vanderslice, now global head of luxury and lifestyle brands, comes to Hilton from Miraval Spa in Tucson, Ariz., where he was CEO.

Prior to his work at Miraval, Vanderslice served as president and CEO of Club Med Americas, leading North and South American operations for more than 100 leisure resorts in 30 countries. While at Club Med, Vanderslice repositioned the resorts as upscale destinations and integrated corporate marketing, commercial activities, finance and operations.

The appointments come at the tail end of a summer of changes for Hilton. The company recently completed moving its headquarters from Beverly Hills, Calif., to Tysons Corner, Va. Hilton subsequently changed its name from Hilton Hotels Corp. to Hilton Worldwide to better reflect the company's global footprint.

Coffey, Espinoza To Head Harrah's Meetings Regional Sales

Las Vegas Meetings by Harrah's Entertainment, the entity governing meeting sales at seven Harrah's properties, named former Riviera Hotel and Casino sales executive Ed Coffey and Harrah's sales veteran Patrick Espinoza its directors of sales in its Eastern and Western regions, respectively.

Coffey and Espinoza each oversee a team of 16 sales managers and are responsible for the meeting sales efforts for all seven Harrah's Las Vegas properties, which include Bally's, Caesars Palace and Paris Las Vegas.

Coffey's nearly 30 years of hospitality sales experience also include stints at several Hilton properties. Espinoza, a seven-year Harrah's veteran, was promoted from a national sales manager role at three Harrah's properties.

The pair also will be responsible for sales at the Flamingo, the Imperial Palace, Harrah's and the Rio.

Dolce Names Carol Bullock-Walter To New Sales Post

Hotel and conference center operator Dolce Hotels and Resorts last month named Carol Bullock-Walter, a former sales executive with New York's Marshall Hotel Group and Starwood Hotels and Resorts, to the new role of vice president of field sales.

Bullock-Walter, who will report to Dolce chief revenue officer Peter Strebel, will be responsible for driving short-term bookings, improving the profitability of the company's managed properties, helping to implement new sales training, reviewing property-level sales goals and helping to instill a consistent sales culture across the company.

The move is the latest in Dolce's evolution from a pure conference-center chain to an integrated hospitality company that also operates full-service hotels.

Originally published Oct. 19, 2009