Associated Luxury Hotels, the parent company of Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) and Worldhotels, announced today that it has named highly respected hospitality industry executive Josh Lesnick to be its President and CEO. Lesnick comes to Associated Luxury Hotels from Wyndham Hotel Group, where he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, responsible for all aspects of revenue generation for 18 brands encompassing more than 8,000 hotels in 77 countries. In his new role, Lesnick will oversee all business operations and subsidiaries of Associated Luxury Hotels, which significantly expanded its global footprint, hospitality services and collection of member hotels and resorts with the recent strategic acquisition of Frankfurt, Germany-based Worldhotels. He will also become only the third CEO in the 30+ year legacy ALHI history. The announcement of the appointment was made by Associated Luxury Hotels’ Chairman David Gabri. Lesnick will assume his new role starting in April and will be based out of the company’s New York City office, and at its headquarters in Orlando, Florida.
As the owner and operator of ALHI and Worldhotels, Associated Luxury Hotels is evolving to be a significant, full-service “soft brand” solution for owners and operators of independent luxury-level hotels and resorts and independent hotel brands around the world. Its extensive Global Sales Organization (GSO) sales teams and hospitality services now include broad-reaching reservations connectivity solutions, a powerful sales and marketing infrastructure, partnership marketing opportunities, and an impressive geographic reach that will effectively compete in the world’s changing hospitality environment. The company provides an incredible portfolio of solutions for accounts with distribution across the globe, plus a full menu of valuable services and strategic hospitality resources for owners and operators of independent luxury-level hotels and resorts and independent hotel brands.
ALHI is the leading independent Global Sales Organization serving the North American Meetings & Incentive (M&I) marketplace for its distinguished portfolio of more than 250 luxury-level and upper-upscale M&I-focused hotels and resorts worldwide, plus a Global Luxury Alliance partnership including 23 luxury cruise ships appropriate for M&I programs, and Destination Management Companies (DMCs) in 100-plus locations worldwide. Worldhotels, acquired in February 2017, is operated as a separate division, and primarily focuses on the transient travel sectors, small group meetings, revenue strategy, training and loyalty solutions for its nearly 350 member hotels and resorts in 200 destinations in more than 50 countries. Worldhotels’ roots date back more than 45 years.
While at Wyndham, Lesnick was responsible for leading a team of more than 1,200 sales, marketing, and call center associates through a major global transformation that touched all revenue generation functions. This included the roll out of Wyndham’s new loyalty program that earned the #1 ranking in the 2016 U.S. News & World Report for hospitality programs. He also oversaw the repositioning of the company’s 18 brands, a refresh of its brand websites and online capabilities, and evolved the company’s global sales organization and revenue management services.
Prior to his tenure with Wyndham, Lesnick served for six years as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Audience Rewards, where he led the start-up from its early stage development to a highly successful audience development program for Broadway and the Arts. As a first-of-its-kind alliance that united the major Broadway theatre owners, producers, ticketing systems, and national arts presenters, the program now serves as one of the largest performing arts audience development programs in the country.
Previous to that, he was at Starwood Hotels and Resorts as Corporate Vice President of Customer Loyalty, Marketing and Membership Programs and as Vice President of Hotel Marketing, CRM and Online Marketing. While at Starwood he led the roll out of the award-winning SPG program and launched the company’s online/CRM field marketing organization. His hospitality career also includes five years in corporate leadership roles at Hyatt Hotels Corporation where he developed the first desk lamp with built-in power outlet for the growing number of guests with laptops.
“Josh is the ideal person to lead us as we evolve to meet the growing needs of our distinguished member hotels, Alliance partners, and our valued customers and guests around the world,” said Gabri. “He has a proven track record of creating winning cultures, driving meaningful innovation, and a tremendous passion for enhancing customer loyalty as evidenced by the five highly successful customer loyalty programs he has launched and managed.”
Gabri continued, “We’ve experienced considerable growth over the last several years through market effectiveness and expansion, acquisitions, organic growth, and particularly with the recent addition of Worldhotels to our Associated Luxury Hotels portfolio. The sky is now the limit to grow strategically with Josh at the helm, leading our significantly expanded teams in North America and abroad. He has the vision, skills, extensive experience, and strong core values to guide the organization for our members’ benefit, as we build the industry’s best portfolio of ‘soft brand’ solutions and tools for independent luxury-level hotels and independent luxury hotel brands around the world. We could not be more pleased to have such an outstanding, highly accomplished executive, with proven talents within our business to be leading our team.”
Lesnick said, “Incredible changes are going on in our industry with respect to soft branding, loyalty services, and distribution that are having a major impact on independent luxury hotels. To have the opportunity to work with the very talented and passionate teams of ALHI and Worldhotels, creating a new approach to these challenges, will allow us to better serve the needs of such unique and independent hotels, their owners, and guests. Together our goal is to build upon the decades of experience from both ALHI and Worldhotels to become the market leader in serving and supporting independent luxury-level hotels and resorts worldwide. I look forward to leading the team and working with Dave to help guide Associated Luxury Hotels and our fantastic members to even greater heights in the future.”
The appointment of Josh Lesnick as President and CEO represents the second major announcement in a week by Associated Luxury Hotels of a major brand executive joining the team. Last week, the company announced that highly regarded Mark Sergot, the Senior Vice President of Sales from Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, had joined the company as its Chief Sales Officer. Further, only last summer, the appointment of Tom Santora, the former Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President of Sales for Omni Hotels & Resorts, was announced as the firm’s Chief Commercial Officer.
Lesnick earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Audience Rewards, and the Advisory Board of the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration.