Jay Hubbs, CHDM, Vice President-Advertising, Marketing, Innovation and Analytics for BWH Hotels, will receive the corporate Marketing Professional of the Year during HSMAI’s Marketing Strategy Conference in Toronto on June 27. Jay has over 30 years of experience in hospitality and travel sales and marketing. In his current role he oversees BWH Hotels’ consumer-facing marketing, advertising and the award-winning Best Western Rewards program.
Jay holds a BS in Hotel Administration from Cornell University as well as an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2018, Jay was named to HSMAI’s Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds and sits on HSMAI’s Americas Board.
How did you get your start in the industry?
My career really started with Cornell’s Hotel School (now the Nolan School of Hotel Administration at the SC Johnson College of Business). I saw it as an opportunity to get a solid undergraduate business degree with a specialization in hospitality (and travel) which I had a passion for. My first hotel jobs were at the Statler Hotel on campus and at the Denver Marriott City Center (now the Hilton Denver City Center) where I got plenty of exercise as a bellman and valet.
How did you get involved with HSMAI?
I was working for Expedia and Hotwire at the time and heard about the amazing opportunities afforded to people in HSMAI to broaden their knowledge, expertise and network. I applied to join the Revenue Management Advisory Board in [we would need Juli to tell us what year?! I think it was 2007 or 2008?] where I got tasked to plan the Revenue Management Conference (now ROC!) in Orlando that following year. Nothing like jumping into the deep end with both feet!
During your time in the industry, how have you seen the marketing space evolve?
How much time (or space) do we have? When I started the internet was nascent – Expedia launched 3 years after I graduated from college, Google went live 2 years later and the iPhone almost 10 years after that (am I really that old?). The advent of online resources and personal computers in everyone’s pockets changed the marketing landscape forever. As marketers it meant we had a lot more data to work with to convert people to guests staying at our properties, and at the same time a lot more partner opportunities to juggle. It’s been a great ride to be on and I’m excited about what the future holds for our industry.
How would you describe your approach to marketing strategy?
I would say there are two primary forces – knowing your audiences and your products. On the audience side it entails understanding who your guests are, what motivates them to travel, what channels do they prefer and what price points resonate with them. With your product it’s important to understand the strengths and weaknesses versus your competition, where your hotels are showing up ‘on the shelf’, the relevant price points and what levers you have available. To compete effectively you have to have a great team (as I’ve been lucky to have throughout my career!) that can understand both forces and help deliver outcomes that are business drivers across the organization.
What would you say has been the best moment of your career?
I have been very fortunate throughout my career with several bosses and mentors who have helped me, and our teams and businesses achieve new heights, as well as was honored to be an HSMAI Top 25 back in 2018. But this honor might be the top so far – we shall see! Onward and upward!