Insights from HSMAI’s Marketing Educator of the Year: Janelle Hoffman

HSMAI staff recently had the pleasure of talking to Janelle Hoffman, Program Director, Professor & Advisor, Hospitality & Tourism Management Program, Scottsdale Community College. Hoffman will receive the Marketing Educator of the Year during HSMAI’s Commercial Strategy Conference in Charlotte on June 26th 

Hoffman has over 26 years of academic expertise in Hospitality Management at Scottsdale Community College. Prior to her years in the classroom her hotel sales and marketing experience spans 15 years across Michigan and Arizona with hotel management companies Vista Host, Promus, and Hilton Hotels. Hoffman holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Communications from Western Michigan University and a master’s in organizational management from the University of Phoenix.  


1. What significance does receiving the HSMAI’s Marketing Educator of the Year award hold for you?  

I am genuinely grateful and honored that HSMAI recognizes the importance of education in marketing in the hospitality industry. This award is significant to me because it reflects not just my efforts, but also the success of my students. I’ve dedicated over 25 years to teaching and assisting hospitality-hearted people find their place in the industry and many have pursued sales and marketing as a career path. 

2. How did you get your start in the industry? 

Before my years in the classroom, my hotel sales and marketing experience spans 15 years across Michigan and Arizona with hotel management companies Vista Host, Promus, and Hilton Hotels. Upon graduation, my first job offer was in hotel sales and marketing. I remember half-heartedly taking the position thinking I would do this until I found what I wanted to do. Looking back at that moment in time I smile as this is the industry in which I belong I didn’t know enough to truly appreciate the opportunity. I often share my story with my students to express the importance of keeping an open and positive mindset wherever you find yourself.  

3. What is the guiding philosophy of your career thus far?  

To inspire and educate the next generation of hospitality professionals through a commitment to excellence, innovation, and integrity, and to live a life that fulfills what I was created for being of service to others.  

4. Could you share a piece of career advice or key habits you think are important for those starting in the industry?  

Never forget the true definition of “hospitality” it is the generous, friendly, or courteous treatment of others. Exude a joyful attitude regardless of the pressures of life and interact with people directly, honestly, and with compassion. It’s a small world and industry developing your personal brand of hospitality will guide your choices and inspire others to want to work with you.  

 5. During your time in the industry, how have you seen the marketing education space evolve? 

Technology has had the biggest impact on the evolution of hospitality marketing education. Marketing has become more dynamic, interdisciplinary, and responsive to the evolving needs of our customers and partners. Preparing students for careers in a rapidly changing marketplace highlights digital marketing, social media, and understanding how to apply data analytics to target markets, including virtual and augmented reality and artificial intelligence. Today’s focus is to understand customer journeys and leveraging technology to enhance guest experience and create a relationship, one of loyalty.  

6. What are the biggest challenges students face in marketing education? 

Overall, marketing education requires mastering new technologies and understanding how to use analytical tools, navigate digital overload, and stay focused on the question or identified issue. Education should highlight how to navigate ethical dilemmas, and cultural differences in an increasingly globalized marketplace. 

 7. How did you get involved with HSMAI? What impact has your association with HSMAI had on your professional development? 

I’ve lost track of how many years I’ve been a member of HSMAI. I started as a member when I worked on-site as a hotel sales manager over 30 years ago! Overall, joining HSMAI has been beneficial to me in expanding my professional network.  

Membership has also assisted me as a Program Director at SCC in identifying and hiring quality adjunct faculty members to teach part-time in our hospitality program. HSMAI’s Arizona Chapter over the years has provided industry insights, professional development, and camaraderie among members thanks to the best Executive Director, Joanne Winter. 

Categories: Marketing
Insight Type: Articles