When a top-to-bottom renovation is underway and a pandemic enters the scene, having an experienced professional in the director of sales and marketing chair proved invaluable for the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel. This person was Tracy Blair, who has been a steady presence in Denver’s hospitality scene for two decades, previously working in the same role at The Westin Denver Downtown.
Blair joined the Sheraton in 2013 knowing a major renovation was on the horizon for Denver’s largest hotel. “I was thrilled to be a part of bringing the iconic 80-year-old Sheraton brand back to life through a complete brand transformation that would impact all Sheraton properties around the world,” she says. “Because Denver was one of the two halo hotels in the United States, it meant that we, along with the Phoenix Sheraton, were piloting decisions on the ground-floor design and vision, and had a lot of agency over the process.”
While COVID-19 has been extremely difficult for the travel industry, it allowed the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel to complete its renovation with very few business disruptions, despite several supply chain delays. “We took advantage of lower occupancy levels and lack of corporate events to get the work done,” she says. “We never closed our hotel thanks to a strong stable of business we have with the airline industry. … Overall, we were still able to do our grand unveiling [in September 2021] fairly close to our planned date.”
What has kept her in the business? “Every day is different at this job, and I love the entrepreneurial experience that comes with curating unique experiences and managing our own distinctive property,” Blair notes. “My team and I get to be creative and reimagine the business every day.”
Currently, she serves as a board member for Denver’s Tourism Improvement District and Destination Colorado Meetings and encourages anyone starting out in the hospitality industry to be active in such organizations, gain as much knowledge as possible, and enjoy the ride. “Get involved in the local community, volunteer for things, create your portfolio of experience across as many disciplines as you can, and most importantly—have fun. Ultimately, that’s why we do this job!”