Following an 18-year career with Macy’s—the last seven as vice president of tourism—Kristen Esposito announced that she has accepted the position of vice president of tourism and marketing alliances for Simon Property Group, which owns, or has an interest in, more than 325 properties including Simon regional malls, Premium Outlet Centers and The Mills. Esposito is generally credited with implementing an international marketing strategy—both to the trade and consumer–that positioned Macy’s as the primary shopping venue for millions of international travelers.
John Boesche, who previously oversaw the Germany and Japan markets for Visit Seattle, has replaced Janet Christopher, better known as the FAM Queen—Visit Seattle hosted 145 FAM tours in 2015 in order to show their hotel partners ROI. Christopher moved to Denver at the end of 2015.
Marilynn Hannes, who less than six months ago moved from San Diego to Orlando in her post as vice president of global sales, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, is moving back to San Diego after a major promotion to the position of president of SeaWorld San Diego and Aquatica San Diego. Hannes’ promotion was part of a major corporate shakeup of the company just announced Joel Manby, president and CEO of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. that has resulted in various shifts, promotions and retirements. Hannes has been with SeaWorld for more than 18 years.
In Germany, Thomas Cook Group has appointed Gilles Despas as its new chief digital officer to continue the group’s “digital transformation.” The French-born executive is an experienced tourism manager who was previously CEO at Holidaycheck and formerly with Ebookers and STA Travel. The position had been vacant since last July when Marco Ryan left the company.
Daniela Hupfeld has been appointed commercial director of Thomas Cook Hotels & Resorts with responsibility for revenue management, sales, marketing and e-commerce for the group’s six hotel brands. Hupfeld comes to Thomas Cook from Eurocar International where she was group director.
Blair Felter has joined OpenKey—known for its mobile application and technology for keyless hotel room entry—as director of marketing and will oversee the marketing and public relations activities for the company. Prior to joining OpenKey, Felter was the marketing manager at DRN – Digital Recognition Network, where she oversaw the company’s marketing department and programs.
In Brazil, Intermac, which specializes in travel assistance for outbound travelers, has hired Renato Dassan as its commercial manager for Sao Paulo. He joins the company from Assist Card, where he worked in marketing for eight years.
Just months after the failure last summer of Brazil’s leading tour operator, Nascimento Turismo, Cleiton Feijó accepted a position with Travel Master; his job was to direct the company’s São Paulo base. Now, he has left the company to “pursue other projects.”
Dean Harvey has been hired as the new marketing director for Kuoni UK. Harvey, who joins the operator from advertising agency Designate, replaces Steven Seddon who left Kuoni to join river cruise and tours specialist Scenic. At Designate Harvey worked on campaigns for clients including Mark Warner, TravelZoo and Disney as well as working on the Kuoni account.
Caroline Page has been appointed sales and account manager for Excite Holidays, as the company expands its UK sales team.In her new role she will work alongside head of sales Adrian Marpole and will provide training and support to travel agents throughout the UK. She joins the company from Red Sea Holidays, where she was trade relations manager.