Hotel Marketers Form Online Committee

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Online marketing executives from the nation's leading hotel chains have formed a committee at the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International.

The committee will discuss Internet issues facing hospitality groups in the country. Its first meeting, held last week by telephone, addressed trademark protection, particularly regarding search engine optimization, domain names, bidding and legitimacy.

Committee members include executives from Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Ian Schrager Hotels, Wyndham International, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Affinia Hospitality, Carlson Hospitality Worldwide and Starwood Hotels & Resorts. A professor from Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration is also on board.

These executives belong to the 76-year-old association that boasts 7,000 individual members from 35 countries and 60 chapters worldwide. It represents sales and marketing professionals in the hospitality and travel industry.

Discussions of the new Internet marketing committee will be held monthly by phone. An on-premise meeting is planned for Dec. 12 during a hotel industry conference in Miami. Participation at this three-hour meeting is open to one online marketing executive per hotel brand.

Topics under discussion also include online privacy, customer service, content management, Internet marketing support at the hotel level and customer experience on Web sites.

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