Dorothy Dowling is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Best Western® Hotels & Resorts. Dowling, a 30-year hotel industry veteran, directs all marketing and sales strategies, overseeing the brand’s loyalty program, consumer and field marketing activities, advertising and public relations.
Since joining Best Western in 2004, Dowling has implemented a number of measures to increase market share and contemporize the iconic Best Western brand. She re-branded the company’s loyalty program to Best Western Rewards®, increased its membership by 13 million and more than doubled its revenue contribution percentage to hotels. The program has since earned key industry recognitions in recent years, such as the top loyalty program by Loyalty 360 and the “Best Hotel Chain Loyalty Program” by Business Traveler Awards. For four years in a row, Best Western Rewards was ranked as a top hotel loyalty program by U.S. News & World Report.
Under Dowling’s leadership, Best Western has strengthened its strategic partnership with AAA®/CAA®. As a result, Best Western has been named AAA Lodging Partner of the Year every year since 2008. In 2016, AAA also named Best Western “Best in Marketing,” “Best in Member Support,” and “Best in Travel Agency Support.”
During Dowling’s tenure, Best Western introduced its descriptor program, which established three distinct hotel types, and made significant investments in its sales programs. As a result, Best Western Plus® and Best Western® ranked in the top three upper-mid-price and mid-price hotel brands by the Business Travel News survey for three years in a row.
Dowling has also overseen critical user experience improvements to the bestwestern.com booking channel, as well as the launch of multiple mobile initiatives, including the iPhone and Android application, Best Western To Go®. Under her leadership, Best Western has become a leading hotel player in digital marketing through innovative partnerships with TripAdvisor®, Facebook® and Google®, among others. In 2016, Best Western launched the Best Western Virtual Reality Experience (BWVRE), making it the first major company of its size and scale to utilize this cutting-edge technology and enhance the customer experience. Complete with music and narration, the BWVRE provides travelers with an immersive 360 degree look into its hotel offerings – setting a new industry standard and reinventing how guests view hotels. In September 2013, Dowling was named Vice President of the Global Business Travel Association Allied Leadership Council. Dowling currently serves on, and is a former chair of the HSMAI Americas Board of Directors, and is past president of HSMAI Canada.
Dowling has been honored with a number of awards, including being named the 18th most influential Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) in the world in the Forbes/ScribbleLive/LinkedIn’s 4th Annual CMO Influence Study in 2015. Dowling, who jumped in the rankings from 27th in 2014 to 18th in 2015, is the third highest ranked female CMO on the list. Additionally, she received the prestigious American Hotel Foundation Award for Best Practices in Guest Loyalty Programs, and was among HSMAI’s Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing two times. Finally, in 2014, Dowling was inducted into the Direct Marketing News Marketing Hall of Femme.
Before joining Best Western, Dowling held executive-level positions with ARAMARK’s parks, resorts and conventions divisions. She began her hospitality career in Canada after earning a joint Masters of Arts degree in sociology and leisure studies from the University of Waterloo in Ontario. In 2008, Dowling received the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2016, Dowling’s alma mater awarded her with the prestigious Applied Health Sciences Alumni Achievement Award for her outstanding contributions to the health and wellbeing of society through her professional accomplishments.