Who’s Where in Travel: New CEO at Leading Hotels

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This week in the travel industry there have been a number of important executive changes at luxury hotel companies.

The Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) announced the appointment of a new president and CEO: Shannon Knapp, who had been serving as the company’s interim CEO since April. Prior to that, she was the company’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer for more than five years, during which time she was responsible for the redesign and 2018 relaunch of the company’s loyalty program, Leaders Club. Knapp also spent 15 years at American Express, where she worked in both the corporate and leisure travel divisions. 

In other hospitality news, Club Med tapped Sabrina Cendral to head up its U.S. sales and marketing. Cendral has been promoted to senior vice president of marketing and sales, a new role for the company that will include driving marketing strategies for North America as a whole (including Canada and Mexico); overseeing Club Med’s travel agent programs and relationships; and providing guidance to the company’s national sales teams. Club Med said it decided to create the new role following the departure of Michelle Lardizabal to MSC Cruises. Cendral joined Club Med in 2008 to launch its Luxury Villas and Chalets, which are now part of its Exclusive Collection; since then, she has held several roles and overseen the launch of new resorts, major renovations and a new partnership with Cirque du Soleil. 

The Pod Hotels made two new appointments to help grow the micro-hotel brand from six to 50 properties over the next decade. Colleen Heslin will serve as the brand’s first-ever vice president of revenue management, while Elan Bielski has been appointed general manager at Pod Times Square. Heslin formerly oversaw a large portfolio of hotels in major markets throughout the U.S. in her role as North American regional revenue director at InterContinental Hotels Group, while Bielski was most recently hotel manager at the Stewart Hotel

Also this week, The Tides Inn named Brent Woodyard its new director of sales. 

In destination news, the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority promoted Richard Moss from trade sales manager to senior sales manager. The expanded role will put Moss in charge of the organization’s sales efforts in the island’s lead market, the United States. Moss has been with the tourism authority for the past 16 months.

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