5 Smart Moves in the Meetings Industry: June 10, 2015

Ashley Ongsmart moves

Ashley Ong has been hired as group sales manager for The Modern Honolulu. Ong was previously a guest experience manager at St. Regis Princeville Resort after completing Starwood Hotels and Resorts’ management training program with the St. Regis brand.

She discovered her affinity for sales while working as a temporary sales coordinator at Aulani Disney Resort & Spa. Ong is a graduate of the travel industry management school at the University of Hawaii.


Vik Khokarsmart moves

The JW Marriott Chicago welcomes Vik Khokar as director of event planning. Khokar brings more than 15 years of hotel management experience to the position. He previously spent four years at Dolce Hotels and Resorts as assistant general manager and director of operations. He has also worked at The Pfister Hotel, Ballantyne Resort and The Ritz-Carlton St. Louis.

Khokhar says, “The JW Marriott Chicago already sets a standard for excellence and superior luxury service for events. As I start my new role with the hotel, I hope to challenge my team to think creatively and develop personalized, new experiences for our guests. I strive every day to showcase my passion for event hospitality through service excellence, quality and innovation.”


Judy Kentsmart moves

Connections Housing, which provides meetings convention and travel services, welcomes Judy Kent as vice president of strategic sales. In her new position will focus on new business development in the Chicago, Washington D.C. and the mid-Atlantic region. Kent brings more than 20 years of hospitality, sales and business development experience to Connections Housing.

She previously spent 10 years as a strategic sales executive of association sales at Experiment, a Maritz Travel company. She was also regional director of Midwest/West convention sales for Tourism Toronto.
“We are excited to welcome Judy to our growing team,” says Brad Weaber, chief innovation officer of Connections Housing. “Chicago, DC and the entire Mid-Atlantic region are pivotal growth markets for us and Judy is the perfect candidate for this important new position. Her long-term industry relationships, extensive experience and energetic leadership style promise to help us reach our goals.”


Tricia Vecchiosmart moves

The Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau has hired Tricia Vecchio as its new destination sales manager. Vecchio will generate leads and book conventions and trade shows that require more than 1,200 hotel rooms. She will also conduct site visits and work closely with remote sales team members in Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Vecchio previously worked at the InterContinental Los Angeles as sales manager for domestic and international business and leisure travel. She began her hospitality career with Tourico Holidays, an international wholesale travel company.


Hans Rittensmart moves

Omni Hotels & Resorts has hired Hans Ritten as general manager of the Omni Chicago Hotel. Ritten will manage all operations including sales, marketing, food and beverage and future growth efforts. The hotel is currently undergoing a multi-year, multi-million dollar renovation.

Ritten previously served at Remington Hotels, where he was general manager of the Silversmith Hotel for the last three years. While there, he was very involved with renovations and managing development of the hotel’s new restaurant. Ritten has also held managerial positions at One Ocean Resort, Marriott International and Interstate Hotels & Resorts. “We welcome Hans to the Omni Chicago Hotel and the Omni family,” said Lesli Reynolds, senior vice president for Omni Hotels & Resorts. “He is an accomplished hotelier who has amassed great experience working with some very well-known brands—the hotel will achieve great success under his leadership.”


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