‘Operating in This Hyper-Agile Way’ and Other Realities for Brand Chief Digital Officers

By Kaitlin Dunn, Writer, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI)

Digital marketing executives have been stretching their creative muscles throughout the pandemic, with no signs of slowing down. HSMAI hosted a virtual Executive Roundtable Feb. 23 for brand chief digital officers to share their ideas and best practices. Participating companies included Accor, Choice Hotels, Club Quarters, Outrigger, Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Red Roof, RLH Corporation, and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. Here are key takeaways from their discussion:


  • “For us in Hawaii, it’s been a real challenge trying to get people to understand that Hawaii’s actually open. We’ve been leveraging media outlets and doing publication production just to get the word out everywhere that you can fly to Hawaii and you don’t have to quarantine anymore. We just launched a guarantee that we’ve been getting good response on — if you stay for at least four nights and you don’t truly enjoy your vacation, your next stay is on us.”
  • “We’re operating in this hyper-agile way, so we’re looking at data to learn results, but we have always had to be in digital. It’s always changing and that’s the exciting thing about it. But in today’s world, we just have to be on the ready. It’s just a different way of operating in the world. Everything’s faster on a daily basis. Processes are evolving and everything’s at warp speed.”
  • “Service providers are changing, too. For example, Travelport’s about to get rid of Worldspan. Every time I turn around, something is changing, and not just in my organization but also with the other people I work with every day. It’s hard to keep up.”


  • “I’m not seeing a lot of movement yet. Companies are still gun shy about backfilling some of the positions. Everybody feels optimistic right now but not optimistic to start the hiring process.”
  • “Bringing on full-timers is just a difficult decision from a budget perspective. We’ve gotten away with using temporary resources and bringing people for projects, but getting a full-time employee is very difficult right now.”
  • “The talent that’s coming in isn’t quite meeting the expectations of what the future demands are, and I think this is a function of how organizations trimmed their staff. They took out the folks that were probably the weaker elements, so now the folks that are in the market looking for jobs aren’t necessarily positioned to take the organization to the next level.”


  • “Overprepare, know your numbers, and anticipate the questions they’re going to ask before you get in the room, and you’re probably much more likely to get that money. I know it seems elementary, but it can prove successful.”
  • “We’re going month to month saying if we get this much money, this is what we expect the return will be. And at the end of the month, if we were accurate, we look at getting more money, because we’re validating our usage.”
  • “Really present the cases that matter that you want to get funded. It just requires very surgical diligence in order to present that for funding.”

Categories: Marketing, Digital, Internet & Social Media, Mobile
Insight Type: Articles