Who’s Where in Travel: New Sales Execs at U River Cruises, MSC

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More new sales contacts in cruise and air travel lead this week’s executive appointments in the travel industry. 

U River Cruises named Eddy Mestre to the newly created position director of national sales, acting as a dedicated sales resource to enhance the river cruise brand’s commercial efforts, including the sales, reservations, marketing and operations departments. Mestre joined Uniworld in 2017; his previous role, business development manager for South Florida and the Caribbean, will be taken over by German Jones, who most recently served as the business development manager for the same region with fellow Travel Corporation brand Insight Vacations

MSC Cruises USA named Alex Acosta its manager of MICE and charter sales. Reporting to Lori Sheller, senior vice president of strategic sales for MSC Cruises USA, Acosta will be responsible for cultivating and managing corporate relationships in North America. Acosta joins MSC Cruises from Royal Caribbean International, where he worked for more than five years with corporate and resale charter clients. He has also served as corporate sales manager for the charters, meetings and incentives division at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings; held multiple sales roles at Carnival Cruise Line; and worked as an account director for all corporate incentive programs at Buy The Sea.

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In air travel news, South African Airways named Frank Fitzpatrick its director, sales development for the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. He will be based in the Washington, DC, area and report to Marlene Sanau, vice president of sales, North America. Prior to joining South African Airways, Fitzpatrick served in several West Coast sales roles at United Airlines

United Airlines named Steven Restivo to the newly created role of vice president of global corporate communications. Restivo brings to the company more than 20 years of strategic communications expertise from various companies, including Comcast NBCUniversal and Walmart Stores, Inc. Restivo, who will report to Chief Communications Officer Josh Earnest, will drive the development and implementation of communication strategies to advance employee communications, media relations and the airline’s global response team.

American Airlines appointed Priya Aiyar its vice president and general counsel, succeeding Paul Jones, who retired from American earlier this year. Aiyar joins American from Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, where she has been a partner, and brings more than 18 years of government and private sector experience.

In hotel news, this week American Marketing Group Inc. (AMG), the parent company of 18 travel and hospitality brands, including TRAVELSAVERS, has announced plans to expand its preferred hotel program with a new leadership team under the direction of recently appointed Senior Vice President of Hotel Programs Samantha Jones. Jones most recently led North American sales for Carlson Wagonlit Travel's hotel distribution division, RoomIt by CWT. She will be joined by strategic marketing professional Senior Director Trisha Hall and business development executive Jeffrey Kerzman, both alumni of travel services company THOR, Inc

Hotelbeds named León Herce its global sales director, a newly created role leading the sales of Hotelbeds’ full portfolio of products including accommodation, transfers, car hire, tickets and excursions via the wholesale, retail travel agents, airlines and B2B2C business lines (including the Bedsonline and Hotelopia brands). He will also become a member of Hotelbeds’ executive committee. Previously Herce spent over 15 years at travel technology company Amadeus, most recently as global head of the retail business.

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

  • The St. Regis San Francisco named Kurtis Sylvester its new account director, overseeing all group sales west of the Mississippi, in addition to directly managing all international, automotive, incentive house, education, and travel accounts.
  • Kevin Tuohy became general manager of the 168-room Holiday Inn Saratoga Springs.
  • Christoph Strahm was appointed the new general manager of Kempinski Hotel Guiyang.
  • Valerie Lund was appointed director of sales and marketing of Beach Enclave Turks & Caicos.
  • Frank Beck was named to the position of managing director for two resorts and a convention center: The St. Regis Langkawi, The Westin Langkawi Resort and Spa and the Langkawi International Convention Center.
  • The Connaught announced Sandeep Bhalla as its new general manager.
  • The Canopy by Hilton Dallas Uptown named Mike Haddad as general manager and Nathan Tyndall as director of sales and marketing.

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