Who's Where in Travel: New Sales Execs at Avanti, Passport Online

Hiring sign
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There have been a number of major new sales appointments in the travel industry this week.

Custom FIT tour operator Avanti Destinations continued its expansion of its sales team with the appointment of Los Angeles-based Roni Astrachan as its southwest regional sales director, responsible for calling on travel advisors in southern California, southern Nevada and Hawaii and reporting to Avanti Chief Marketing Officer John Hanratty. Astrachan has more than 30 years of experience in the travel industry, most recently as the West Coast business development manager for New York City-based Travel Bound. Avanti says that the move is the latest in a series of additions to its sales team over the past four years. 

In tech news, travel agency website, social media and booking technology company Passport Online has expanded its team to include a new sales director position, hiring Stuart Palmer to the role. Palmer started his career as a branch manager for Greenwich Travel Inc. and, most recently, served as director, U.S. sales and business development for Apple Leisure Group’s Amstar DMC. He will report to Jeanne Colombo, who was recently promoted to vice president of strategic partnerships. 

Also this week, luxury Asia travel designer Remote Lands appointed Melisa Novick as its director of business development. Novick’s experience in the luxury travel industry includes 10 years with Singapore-based COMO Hotels and Resorts, where she was global director of sales, North America. Prior to joining COMO, she was director of sales and marketing for the Lodge at Woodloch.

In hotel news, Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection – slated to debut in Hawaii later this year – announced its sales and marketing team lineup this week. Chris White, most recently senior director of hotel marketing for Auberge Resorts Collection, will serve as the property’s senior director of sales and marketing, while Mika Hara from the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai has been hired on as Mauna Lani’s senior director of revenue strategy. Michelle Edwards, another Four Seasons vet, will serve as director of public relations and communications, with two more appointments from Four Seasons properties, Robin Killett and Elisa Pak, serving as director of sales and director of leisure sales, respectively. 

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

  • The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park appointed Dominik Trimborn as director of sales and marketing.
  • White Lodging named David Meisner general manager of the new Austin Marriott Downtown.
  • Khalid Bseiso was appointed as the hotel manager of the St. Regis Hotel Amman.

Finally, this week Dream Hotel Group promoted Jeff Lee to vice president, food and beverage, with co-responsibility for the overall direction of food and beverage programming for the company and its brands: Dream Hotels, Time Hotels, The Chatwal and Unscripted Hotels. He joined the group in March 2016 as director, food and beverage; in his new role, he will continue to be co-responsible for the executive oversight and day-to-day management of all Dream Hotel Group-controlled and -operated dining and nightlife venues.

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