Matt Ouimet is moving to Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide
Inc. as president, Hotel Group, after spending 17 years with the
Walt Disney Company.
“I am excited to be a part of this team which has its sights set
on nothing less than reinventing the industry,” Ouimet said.
In the newly created position, he will oversee hotel operations
worldwide and become a member of Starwood’s Senior Leadership Team.
Ouimet will join the four other divisional presidents who oversee
the company’s nine brands throughout the North America, Latin
America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa and Middle East sectors.
“Starwood is firing on all cylinders after having dramatically
reshaped our company, and as we move to the next stage of our
transformation, we looked for an executive with the depth in
leadership that Matt can provide,” said Steven J. Heyer, CEO for
Starwood. “With his background in resort development, marketing and
operations, Matt can work across many different disciplines to help
us ... execute our strategy.”
Ouimet worked on both business and finance projects for the Walt
Disney Company. During his tenure, Ouimet led four separate
business endeavors for Disney and served as executive general
manager of Disney’s Vacation Club, president of Disney Cruise Line
and president of the Disneyland Resort. In his most recent role as
president, he oversaw the two theme parks and three hotels.
He is a graduate of State University of New York at Binghamton
with a Bachelor of Science in accounting.
Ouimet will be based at the company headquarters in White Plains,
To accommodate the preferences of most guests, Marriott hotels in
the United States and Canada are going completely smoke-free. Come
Oct. 15, smoking will be prohibited in all guestrooms, restaurants,
lounges, meeting rooms, public spaces and employee work areas.
Designated smoking areas will be available outside the hotels. This
is the industry’s largest move to create a smoke-free environment.
The plan includes over 2,300 hotels under the Marriott, JW
Marriott, Renaissance, Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites,
Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites and Marriott ExecuStay brands.
Ensemble Offers Moore
Ensemble Travel Group has announced award-winning actress
Mary Tyler Moore as the keynote speaker for the opening general
sessions of the “Star Power-Blending Fire, Brilliance and
Imagination” international conference.
The conference, scheduled for Oct. 18-22, will be held at the
Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto. The keynote will be sponsored
by Classic Vacations and Holland America Line.
Creative Leisure International is offering a free airfare
promotion. When agents book a seven-night minimum stay at
participating resorts or private villas in Hawaii, Mexico and the
Caribbean by Oct. 15, clients will receive free airfare. Travel
must take place Sept. 15-Dec. 15 and must include the purchase of
Cancel for Any Reason/Waiver Program.
Participating resorts include Halekulani, Fairmont Orchid, Mauna
Lani Bay Hotel, Maui Prince Hotel, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel and
Mauna Kea Hotel in Hawaii; the Marquis Los Cabos in Mexico; and
several properties in the Caribbean. A complete list is available
on Creative Leisure’s Web site.
OneTravel Holdings plans to emerge from bankruptcy in
45-60 days by selling the company, downsizing the staff and adding
new technology and marketing. The company, which owns SunTours (aka
SunTrips), OneTravel.com, 11thHour-.com, CheapSeats.com and
DiscountHotels.com filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on July 7.
It remains unclear whether the agents who sued SunTours will
receive their unpaid commissions. The agents’ lawyer, Al Anolik,
filed to force the SunTours sector into involuntary Chapter 7
bankruptcy instead of Chapter 11.
“If they ask for reorganization, then we will protest and say that
as part of the reorganization they should pay off some agents,”
President and CEO Ed Wegel attributes the company’s troubles to
the purchase of SunTours, which is outside of their online business
model. He says the core online business sector is sound, with $260
million in gross annual bookings.
ASTA’s New Officers
The American Society of Travel Agents has elected nine
new national board of directors and 12 chapter officials. Lila A.
Ford, Cheryl Hudak, Mike McCulloh, Mary Peters and Kari Thomas will
serve two-year terms as national directors, while Frederic W.
Bursch, Jan Hammond and Terry Regan will serve one-year terms.
Vickie Greenlee and Bob Kern tied for the final national director
spot and the board of directors will determine who will fill the
position during their meeting in New Orleans, Aug. 1-3. In
September, the board will also elect top positions from the nine
directors-at-large for the executive committee.
Elected chapter officials in the West include Laura C. Rodriguez
and Helen E. Wirschem for the Arizona Chapter and Kristin
Webb-Walker and Yolanda Meador for the Southwest Chapter.
To see a complete list of newly elected officials, visit ASTA’s