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Craig Smith Promoted & Receives Prestigious Award



PHOENIX – (January 31, 2013) – It’s a great start to the year for Best Western’s Craig Smith. The hotel chain announced today that not only has he been promoted to managing director of corporate communications, but also that he has been named to Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International’s (HSMAI) Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing.

HSMAI’s annual list recognizes the top sales and marketing professionals in the hospitality, travel and tourism industries. A panel of senior industry executives selected the award recipients based on recent work meeting the following criteria: creativity and innovation; cutting edge sales or marketing campaigns; triumph in challenging situations; and sales efforts that resulted in dramatic gains.

Smith joined Best Western in 2006 as director of hotel and employee communications for the hotel chain, which has more than 4,000 properties worldwide. In October 2011, he took over management of the brand’s external communications and began managing public and media relations efforts. In his new role he will also focus on driving reputational awareness with key audiences and repositioning Best Western for a Better World, the brand’s charity arm.

“Craig is a communications expert who brings a solid business understanding and creativity to the organization,” said Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Best Western International. “Under his leadership, the brand has delivered its strongest public relations results ever relating to consumer awareness and industry accolades. I look forward to his continued success in this new role.”

Prior to joining Best Western, Smith served as director of marketing for Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business, where he managed public relations efforts for several high-profile events, including a $50 million school naming gift, a Nobel Prize recipient, and the introduction of an MBA program in Shanghai. Smith has also worked at Sabre Holdings, a global travel technology company, and at a public relations agency where he directed local and national campaigns, including work with another hotel chain. Smith received his Master of Business Administration from the ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business, and his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California in San Diego. He lives in Phoenix with his wife, Jennifer, and two daughters.

Smith was honored at HSMAI’s gala on January 28 in New York City.


Best Western International, Inc., headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., is a privately held hotel brand made up of more than 4,000* BEST WESTERN®, BEST WESTERN PLUS, BEST WESTERN PREMIER hotels in more than 100* countries and territories worldwide. Now celebrating 67 years of hospitality, Best Western welcomes hundreds of thousands of guests nightly. Best Western provides its hoteliers with global operational, sales, marketing and promotional support, and online and mobile booking capabilities. More than 20 million travelers are members of the brand’s award-winning loyalty program Best Western Rewards®, one of the few programs in which members earn points that never expire and can be redeemed at any Best Western hotel worldwide. The brand’s partnerships with AAA/CAA, race car driver Michael Waltrip, and Harley-Davidson® provide travelers with exciting ways to interact with the brand. In 2012, Best Western won a record number of awards, including AAA’s Hotel Partner of the Year, CAA’s Partner of the Year, TravelClick’s eMarketer of the Year and Compuware’s Best of the Web Gold awards.

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*Numbers are approximate and may fluctuate.

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