Who’s Where in Travel: New American Queen President

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This week in the travel industry has seen some major executive appointments in the cruise and hotel sectors. 

American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) has appointed Ares M. Michaelides as president of AQSC and Victory Cruise Lines, putting him in charge of the growth plans for the AQSC fleet and the Victory fleet. He most recently served as CEO of Ship Supply International, a global supplier of goods and services to the maritime industry. 

In agency news, Valerie Wilson Travel promoted Patrick Fragale to executive vice president, effective immediately. In the new role Fragale, who first joined the company in 2018, will focus heavily on new business development, as well as oversee several departments, including meetings, incentives and fulfillment and corporate travel. He will continue to report to Valerie Wilson Travel Co-Owner and Co-President Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg.


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Also this week, global bed bank Bedsonline made a number of appointments to expand its North American sales team for travel advisors: Bruce McCarson, key account manager in Texas; Rebecca Aiken, key account manager in Minnesota; Ivan Mansanet, key account manager in British Columbia; and Michael Sanchez, key account manager in Arizona. Additionally, joining the company are Brenda Pais, key account manager in Ontario; and Andrea Monroe and Colter Fleming, key account managers in Southern California.

In other hotel news, Outrigger Hospitality Group appointed Chris Riccardi as senior vice president of global sales. In this role, Riccardi will report directly Outrigger’s chief marketing officer and be responsible for overseeing corporate, Oceania and North America sales, and he will oversee the company’s global wholesale leisure strategy and military business alongside groups, contract and negotiated programs – including the Outrigger Expert Agent and Outrigger Business Connection. He has previously held positions at Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) as executive vice president and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company as director of Western region sales and director of sales in Kapalua, Maui, and Naples, Florida.

A number of individual properties also made new leadership appointments this week:

  • Canyon Ranch Wellness Retreat – Woodside named Jeanine Conforti its director of sales and marketing. 
  • Canyon Ranch Spa + Fitness Las Vegas named Erkan Gunes fitness and wellness director. 
  • The Fives Hotels & Residences named Renaud Pfeifer its new vice president of hotel operations. 

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