The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd (LHW) announced that the Executive Committee, comprised of seven LHW hoteliers, has appointed Shannon Knapp as the next President & Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Knapp, who assumed leadership responsibilities of the company in April as interim CEO, previously served as LHW's Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for more than five years.
"Shannon is a strong, effective and values-driven leader who has been a driving force of strategy and innovation at the company since she joined in 2013," said Andrea Kracht, Chairman, Executive Committee, The Leading Hotels of the World and Proprietor, Baur au Lac. "Having held executive positions at LHW for over six years, Shannon has a deep understanding of our business. She also has extensive experience in the broader luxury travel landscape. The Executive Committee is highly confident that under her direction, LHW will continue to lead the independent luxury hospitality industry."
"I am incredibly honored and humbled for the opportunity to lead this iconic, member-owned institution," said Shannon Knapp, President & Chief Executive Officer, The Leading Hotels of the World. "Created by hoteliers, for hoteliers more than 90 years ago, LHW has remained dedicated to empowering the success of its independent hotel members and ensuring this extraordinary segment of luxury hospitality continues to thrive. I am passionate about this mission and inspired to collaborate with the amazing 430 hotels in our collection and the extraordinary LHW employees to carry that mission forward."
Since assuming leadership responsibilities as interim CEO, Knapp steered the company through a successful leadership transition and began to accelerate the momentum of the company in nearly all critical areas of the business. During this time, she also crystalized LHW's strategic vision and business strategy for the new future of the company.
In her role as Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Knapp led breakthrough brand and data-driven marketing strategies, transformed the customer experience, and accelerated brand loyalty for the company. Knapp oversaw the various marketing divisions of LHW and was responsible for the redesign and 2018 relaunch of Leading Hotels' loyalty ecosystem, Leaders Club, a program that has been recognized by Condé Nast Traveler as "offering a boutique alternative to mega-chain hotels with a bevy of benefits."
Additionally, she built the marketing analytics and customer insights organization to drive a paradigm shift in the use of data to inform marketing strategy, resulting in an increase of marketing efficiency and millions of dollars in incremental revenue.
Knapp also brings a wealth of luxury travel experience from her 15 years at American Express, where she had the opportunity to work in both the Corporate and Leisure travel divisions, managing luxury travel programs, partners and benefits for Platinum and Centurion Card members and travel consortia business.
"Shannon's strong marketing and customer experience background will enable LHW to further leverage its strength of connecting curious travelers who cherish unordinary story worthy travel moments with hoteliers who live to craft them," said Kracht. "The appointment of Shannon will introduce a fresh perspective on our business that will redefine the role of LHW in empowering the success of its members."
(Photo credit: Le Royal Champagne Hôtel & Spa)
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