Five minutes with ... Andrew Jordan, CMO, Interstate Hotels & Resorts
Andrew Jordan kicked off his career in advertising in New York City and after completing his MBA he joined Coca Cola’s global marketing team - at a time when it was the biggest brand in the world. He went on to oversee sales and marketing at ClubMed and Wyndham, and today holds the role of CMO for Interstate Hotels & Resorts, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia in the US.
Blog: What were the key moments in your career that defined your position now? Jordan: When I was at Coca-Cola and running the brand from Atlanta, it was really the first time I understood that in order to make an impact you had to get into the marketplace and add value to the local team. This is incredibly relevant to what we do today at Interstate. At a corporate level, how do we provide the tools, the resources and the training that really impact at property level? There are no cash registers at head office, so we really exist to serve the field and provide them with opportunities to boost revenues.
Blog: What have been your major successes? Jordan: When I was at Wyndham we created a guest recognition programme that was all about personalisation and the experience - and had nothing to do with points. At the time, Wyndham was a challenger brand and didn’t really have the capital to support different positionings, so this was a service programme - albeit born from the marketing department - that became an operations mission for the company. We grew market share and tripled loyalty - that’s something I’m really proud of.
Blog: What have been the challenges and how did you learn from them? Jordan: There have been lots of challenges! Booking.com has proved to be a really good partner for us and when we’ve talked to them about how we can work differently or more creatively to solve problems together, we have collectively brainstormed to come up with some very interesting solutions, things that are proprietary for Interstate. If there is something you are not sure of, just ask and forge a team to address the solution. Finding partners that are willing to work together helps us achieve great results.
Blog: What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career? Jordan: Making a decision - even if it's the wrong one - and moving forward is better than not making a decision at all. Have a point of view, be willing to explore things, accept failure. Today, I’m willing to take risks and I’m willing to learn from them. It’s one of the exciting things about being in the travel business - because we have no shelf-life we need to come up with different ways to solve problems, to grow market share. Some of those things will be successful and others won’t. You take your learning from there.
Blog: What has been the most surprising moment of your career? Jordan: There are always surprises when management changes. Part of responding to that is being committed to your own vision while being nimble.
Blog: Did you have anyone that mentored or inspired you? Jordan: Sergio Zyman [former CMO of The Coca-Cola Company] is probably the smartest marketing person I have ever worked with and he has continued to be inspiring for me. He was able to identify the big opportunities, call those out and shape them. He taught me how to make decisions actionable and think about the accountability of making them happen. Right now I am teaching a graduate class on hospitality marketing at Georgetown [University] here in Washington DC, and one of the things I kick off with is a video from Sergio. His mantra is very simple: marketing is about ‘getting more people to buy more stuff, more often, at higher prices’. He can distil things down to the basics and that helps provide clarity and drive action. I’ve learnt a lot from him and always considered him an important mentor.
Blog: What one piece of advice would you have for someone starting out in the travel industry? Jordan: Take risks. I really respect people who have a point of view and are willing to move forward with an action plan that solves a problem. And be nimble. It’s important to have ideas but to also change your mind and take a different course if necessary.
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Hero image: credit to Interstate Hotels
- Andrew Jordan is the CMO of Interstate Hotels & Resorts, a global hotel management company with over 600 properties throughout the US UK, Ireland, Europe and Russia
- He spent his formative years in advertising before joining Coca-Cola’s global brand team, where he worked under the tutelage of Sergio Zyman
- He has held various senior sales and marketing roles within the travel industry at ClubMed and Wyndham