Sue Arko, the now semi-retired founder of Free Spirit Vacations and Events, which is based in Gilbert, Ariz., has announced the hiring of a new general manager for the company: Tish Losure. A 30-year veteran of the tour and travel industry, Losure began her career in the hotel sector, working as a national director of tour and travel for major hotel chains, including Baymont Inns, La Quinta and Red Lion. Losure later moved to the tour operator side of the industry, serving at New Horizons Tour and Travel and LEAD USA. (Photos: Arko, top, and Losure)
Long-time hospitality industry veteran Tony Chawla has been let go as a result of a restructuring within IHG. Chawla had been with IHG for more than 15 years, first as a regional director of international sales for several years in San Francisco and, since September 2003, as a key account director in Los Angeles. Prior to his tenure with IHG, Chawla had served as director of sales for the Holiday Inn in Hollywood and, later, as general manager of the Holiday Inn Hollywood Walk of Fame. He began his career in 1976 with the Hotelfschule brand in Europe.
The UK group tour specialist On The Go Tours has appointed Carl Cross as managing director of its global operations. He joins from Flight Centre UK where he was general manager retail product, marketing and consumer experience. Cross will split his time between offices in Australia and the UK, as well as in Canada, South Africa and New Zealand. His appointment follows the departure of general manager Pru Goudie, who has left after two tours of duty with the operator totaling 12 years.
Online booking service HotelPlanner is moving to larger headquarters within West Palm Beach, Fla., say co-founder and CEO is Tim Hentschel—he is the son of Noel Irwin-Hentschel, founder and chair of AmericanTours International—and fellow co founder and CIO John Prince. The move to larger facilities is intended to accommodate a 167 percent increase in the number of its staff, from 45 to 120, over the next five years. All totaled, the company has about 90 workers across its offices in Florida, Las Vegas, London and Hong Kong. The move to the new 15,000-square foot space at the PNC Bank Building on Datura Street in West Palm Beach is expected to take place Dec. 1. (Photos: Hentschel, top, and Prince)
Ben Roseveare has joined London-based Mark Warner Holidays as the company’s new head of sales and marketing. Roseverare joins Mark Warner from his previous role as marketing director at Intrepid Group. He was also previously sales and marketing director at Exodus Travels. He brings with him 15 years’ experience running sales and marketing teams in the active and adventure holiday sector.
The Springfield [Illinois] CVB has named Gina Gemberling executive director after she had served in the post in an acting role for the past 16 months. In addition to acting director, Gemberling—she has been with the CVB bureau since 1992—has served as a sales manager, a services manager and the director of sales and marketing for the bureau. She succeeds Fred Puglia, who retired from the position in early 2014.
Cori Day, director of tourism for the city of Independence, Mo. is leaving the post after four years to join Visit KC, where she has been named vice president of sales and services for the organization. Her first day at her new assignment will be Aug. 31. Before her tenure at Independence, Day served for four years as convention sales manager for the Columbia (Mo.) CVB.