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News Updates

January 07, 2010, ATLANTA

The first meeting of 2010 of the ASFONA Board of Directors was held at The St. Regis in Atlanta, Georgia. The meeting was attended by a number of executives of Starwood Hotels & Resorts and also the ASFONA Associate Members who made a series of hotel & Travel Industry presentations to the group.

In Attendance:

John Shingler - Chairman
Hung Luk - Paul Wischermann - Gerry Chase - John Belden -  Abe Moses - Jay Mahan - Greg Miller - Troy Pentecost


Bruce Kinseth - Howard Zetley - Paul Leier - Lou Karger

Minutes of Last Meeting:

  • Overview of Minutes of the last meeting:

John Shingler highlighted for the board the key areas from the minutes that were covered during the discussion at the last meeting which was held at the corporate headquarters of Starwood Hotels & Resorts in White Plains New York. This was the Executive meeting held between the ASFONA Board of Directors and Starwood senior management: The Starwood executives who were in attendance were as follows:

  • Frits van Paasschen - President & CEO (In Part)
  • Matt Avril - President Worldwide
  • Denise Coll - President North America
  • Lynne Dougherty - SVP Owner Relations & Franchise
  • Susan Sepehri - VP Owner Relations

Following the senior management meeting there was a discussion on the Sheraton brand and the meeting was joined by the following:

  • Hoyt Harper - SVP Global Brand Leader - Sheraton
  • Erin Hoover - SVP Brand Design

The final subject on the agenda was Architecture and Design and at this point the meeting was joined by the following:

  • David Bray - Vice President Architecture & Design
  • John Peyton - Senior Vice President North Americas Hotel Operations


It was agreed at the White Plains meeting that the ASFONA board of directors would be developing a new grouping of business initiatives to be addressed during 2010. The general headings for these initiatives are to form the agenda for this meeting in Atlanta.

  • The minutes of the meeting were distributed and approved.

Membership Report:

  • 2008/2009 & 2009/2010 - Membership Update (At January 4th 2010)

Treasurer Report:

  • 2008/2009 Financial Report Year to Date (At January 6th 2010)

ASFONA Associate Members Updates:

  • New Associate Members: Report

Each of the Board Reports were distributed and approved by the board.

Meeting Notification:

Starwood Hotels & Resorts North Americas 2010 Owners Conference

  • February 2nd 3rd 2010Westin Diplomat Florida

Agenda Items for Discussion:

State of the Nation Current & Projected Business Conditions:

Despite acknowledging that 2009 was one of the worst years in recent history for the worldwide hospitality industry, the board generally agreed that the 2010 outlook for North American occupancy levels was certainly more positive than in previous months although rate increases would be more challenging.


The initiatives were broken down into five general headings each one of which would include an unspecified number of subheadings each relating to a key business area of focus for the ASFONA board to address with the senior management of Starwood. The five general headings are as follows:

  • Franchise Operations (North America)
  • Brand Management
  • Revenue Generation
  • Information Technology
  • Business Systems Review

It was agreed that representatives from the ASFONA board would meet with Starwood management to agree on the subjects to be addressed and furthermore to jointly agree on management team involvement, action plans and schedules.


Two management representatives from Starwood Hotels & Resorts joined the meeting to present on Field Marking & Revenue Management initiatives.

  • Field Marketing:
    Lori Strasberg
    Senior Director Field Marketing
  • Revenue Management Franchise:
    Kathi Corbett
    Director Revenue Management Franchise

The meeting concluded at 12.30 PM

The General Meeting Including Associate Members Continued the following day

  • Presentation: Lynne Dougherty SVP Owner Relation & Franchise:
    The presentation covered the recently announced organizational management responsibility changes for Full Service and Specialty Select Service brands within Starwood Hotels & Resorts in North America.
    Lynne explained that Starwood are looking to drive the maximum value for its franchise partners and shareholders, and it was evident that Starwood needed to evolve their franchise organization and deliverables into two distinct organizations. This realignment and the implementation of shared resources and increased internal efficiencies would make Starwood an even stronger and more proactive organization.
  • Starwood new sustainability initiatives were also presented:
    The presentation included an overview of the new aloft brand. The four areas of focus for 2010 across the Starwood brands include (1) energy and water conservation, (2) waste minimization, (3) enhanced indoor air quality, and (4) sustainable meetings.
  • Presentations on the first day were made by ASFONA Honorary Board Members:
    These highlighted an array of new and exciting initiatives, including a number of sustainable options, such as organic linens, biodegradable plastics and Energy Star rated electronics.

ASFONA members who wish to obtain further details on any aspect of this meeting or any specific information on any Agenda item should contact John Shingler.

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