The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) is pleased to announce the recipients of its lifetime achievement awards, presented annually in conjunction with the annual Adrian Awards Gala, which celebrates excellence in travel advertising, digital marketing and public relations.
HSMAI will present two lifetime achievement awards, the Albert E. Koehl Award and the Winthrop W. Grice Award, during the Gala held on Feb. 24 at the New York Marriott Marquis. The Albert E. Koehl Award is given to highlight distinction in advertising and marketing and the Winthrop W. Grice Award is presented to honor those in the public relations field.
This year’s recipients, David Kong and Richard S. Kahn, have each dedicated more than 40 years to the travel and hospitality industry, driving unique and noteworthy advertising, marketing and public relations initiatives.
David Kong, president and CEO of Best Western International, was chosen as the Koehl award winner for the strategic and innovative thinking he has continued to bring to his role. Under his leadership, he has led the company to its highest RevPAR Index in 2012 and 2013, and helped Best Western International achieve unprecedented performance in guest loyalty and hotel satisfaction.
Richard S. Kahn, president and owner of Kahn Travel Communications (KTCpr), was chosen as the Grice award recipient due to his extensive career as a former journalist and, currently, public relations and marketing expert. His dedication to the hospitality, travel and tourism industries has paved the way for numerous colleagues during his 45-year career.
“HSMAI is pleased to recognize David Kong and Richard Kahn for their remarkable achievements during the tenure of their careers,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA, president and CEO of HSMAI. “Both leaders have accomplished a great deal while positively representing the travel and hospitality industries and deserve to be recognized for their achievements.”
The HSMAI Lifetime Achievement Awards Selection Committee consists of 11 former Koehl and Grice Award recipients and selects winners based on skill, leadership qualities and demonstration of innovation, among other credentials.
Albert E. Koehl Award
David Kong has served as the president and CEO of Best Western International since 2004. During the course of his tenure, he has established a reputation as both a strategic thinker and innovator.
Through implementing a comprehensive brand strategy, he has raised overall brand standards and helped Best Western earn numerous accolades, including: the title of the best midscale hotel chain in customer loyalty the past four years by Brand Keys; best hotel website the past two years by Compuware; industry best mobile website in 2013 by EyeForTravel; “E-Marketer of the Year” in 2013 by Travel Click; best in e-commerce in the hotel industry in 2013 by L2; as well as 30 Adrian Awards and 22 Travel Weekly Magellan awards in 2013.
Also in 2013, Kong received the Stephen W. Brener Silver Plate Award at the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference for his contributions to the revamping of the Best Western brand and was inducted into the University of Hawaii's Hall of Honor.
Other past awards include: the Education Institute’s highest award – the Arthur Landstreet Award; the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) Lawson Odde Award for hospitality leadership; the J. Patrick Leahy Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association; the Award of Excellence presented by the Asian American Hotel Owners Association; and the Lifetime Hotelier Leadership Award presented by Niagara University's College of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
Prior to joining Best Western, Kong held leadership positions with KPMG Consulting, Hyatt Hotels, Omni International and Hilton Hotels.
Kong served three years on the United States Department of Commerce Travel and Tourism Advisory Board beginning in 2010. He also served as the chairman of the AH&LA in 2010 and continues to be active on the CEO Council and Government Affairs Council.
Kong holds a bachelor of business administration degree from the School of Travel Industry Management at the University of Hawaii. Furthermore, he completed the Executive Development Program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
Named in honor of Albert E. Koehl, a pioneer in hotel advertising, past Koehl award recipients include: Roger Dow, Eric A. Danziger, Sol Kerzner, Ian Schrager, Barbara Talbott, Barry S. Sternlicht, Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, Horst H. Schulze, John J. Russell, CHME, Michael A. Leven, CHME, and Richard Branson.
Winthrop W. Grice Award
Richard S. Kahn has been the president and owner of his namesake public relations firm, Kahn Travel Communications (KTCpr), for more than 20 years. Since launching KTCpr, Kahn has established the firm as an award-winning boutique agency based in Rockville Centre, New York, focused on travel and hospitality related clients.
KTCpr has received numerous industry awards on behalf of its clients at the Adrian Awards as well as from the American Resort Development Association’s (ARDA) annual ARDYs.
Before launching KTCpr, Kahn spent more than 20 years as a journalist, with roles of reporter, editor and publisher at outlets such as Aviation Week & Space Technology and Travel Agent Magazine. He also hosted a weekly radio talk show in New York called “Travel Talk.”
Through his journalistic career, Kahn received awards such as the Business Writers Association Award for his investigative series on cargo theft at Kennedy International Airport which resulted in a Civil Aeronautics Board investigation and exposure of a major international theft ring at the airport. In addition, he was named Allied Member of the Year by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association.
He has volunteered with numerous industry-related organizations including the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) as well as HSMAI.
Kahn was president of the CTO Greater New York Chapter for three terms and helped launch the Caribbean Sales Seminars, which became the travel agent segment of the annual Caribbean Tourism Conference. Furthermore, Kahn served two terms as president of the New York Travel Writers Association (NYTWA) and one term as vice chairman of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) Northeast Chapter.
Kahn holds a bachelor of science degree in English, journalism and history from Murray State University, Kentucky.
The Winthrop W. Grice Award was named in honor of Winthrop W. “Bud” Grice, CHME, a long-time senior marketing executive with Marriott, who was the award’s first designate. Other winners include: Howard Feirertag, Mary Gendron, Vivian A. Deuschl, Laura Davidson, Yvonne Middleton, Peggy R. Bendel, René A. Mack, Lou Hammond, Bunny Grossinger, Herbert D. Kelleher and Steve Wynn.
Known as the world's most-renowned and prestigious travel advertising, public relations and digital marketing competition, the HSMAI Adrian Awards is celebrating its 57th year honoring breakthrough campaigns focused on hospitality, travel and tourism industries.
For more information on the HSMAI Adrian Awards visit www.adrianawards.com, or follow Adrian Awards news on Twitter at twitter.com/AdrianAwards.
The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) is committed to growing business for hotels and their partners, and is the industry’s leading advocate for intelligent, sustainable hotel revenue growth. The association provides hotel professionals & their partners with tools, insights, and expertise to fuel sales, inspire marketing, and optimize revenue through programs such as HSMAI’s MEET, Adrian Awards, and Revenue Optimization Conference. HSMAI is an individual membership organization comprising more than 7,000 members worldwide, with 40 chapters in the Americas Region. Connect with HSMAI at www.hsmai.org, www.facebook.com/hsmai,www.twitter.com/hsmai and www.youtube.com/hsmai1.
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