The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB), which provides marketing management services for the meetings, conventions and incentives and leisure market segment, announced the addition of a former Starwood executive as vice president of Meet Hawaii and Travel Industry Partnerships.
Joining HVCB is Karen Hughes, who will lead sales efforts for meetings, conventions and incentives (MCI). She will also lead HVCB’s North America travel trade team in developing partnerships and programs to support the distribution system for selling vacations and packages to the Hawaiian Islands.
“We created a new focus for this position specifically to take advantage of Karen’s talents and depth of experience in developing successful sales strategies and generating results,” said John Monahan, president and CEO, HVCB. “She also has a fondness for living and working here in Hawaii.”
Leading HVCB’s Meet Hawaii sales effort in collaboration with the Hawaii Convention Center to generate both citywide and single-property bookings, Hughes brings a fresh perspective to Meet Hawai‘i’s sales structure.
“The combination of her industry sales expertise and enduring aloha for the Hawaiian Islands makes her the perfect match for this new position,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO, Hawaii Tourism Authority, the tourism agency for the islands.
Hughes spent 15 years at Starwood Hotels & Resorts, where she held executive sales and marketing positions. She recently served as vice president of Global Leisure Sales and Distribution for six years in the company’s White Plains, N.Y. headquarters.
“I began my career as a travel agent and have always known how vital travel trade professionals are to the satisfaction of travelers and keeping our industry vibrant and successful,” said Hughes. “At HVCB, agents and wholesalers can count on me to support them in selling the Hawaii visitor experience that keeps their clients happy.”
She also served five years in Hawaii as regional vice president of sales and marketing for Starwood Hawaii. While living on the islands, she involved herself in the community and volunteered. Prior to her career at Starwood, Hughes spent three years as vice president of marketing for Pleasant Holidays.