These interviews are part of a series that highlights new hires within the industry. Have you recently started a new role or do you know someone who has? Submit your ideas to email@example.com.
Dayna Zeitlin was recently hired as vice president of sales strategy and market development at Greystone Hotels in San Francisco.
1. What are you looking forward to the most in your new role as vice president of sales strategy and market development?
Greystone already has a strong sales and marketing team, and the hotels in our portfolio are thriving and well-loved by our guests. I look forward to working closely with our teams to uncover new opportunities at both the hotel and brand level, widening eyes and opening up minds for what’s possible, and celebrating many future successes.
2. How do you think past experiences have prepared you for this role?
My experience is varied, extensive, and includes a well-balanced mix of brands and products. Having a diverse portfolio means you need to pivot often, and understand the nuances and needs of all individual properties. I’ve been fortunate to work with several powerful brands and companies to open, reposition and rebrand hotels. With each of these experiences, I learned as much as possible from my mentors and have applied these lessons to much success. Early on in my career, I developed the ability to see the big picture and implement corresponding strategies that are tied to overall goals and initiatives. With Greystone, I will offer this expertise in order to assess the needs of each property and apply strategies to achieve our goals.
3. How did you get into the industry?
I was living in NYC and working in advertising sales. In 1991, I left my job and moved to San Francisco. After a few weeks of networking, I was introduced to a director of sales at Kimpton Hotels—which at the time was called Kimco. I was hired as a sales manager for the company and immediately fell in love with the hospitality industry and with the city.
4. What are you hoping to achieve in your new role?
There are many goals I would like to achieve, but the standouts include providing a fresh perspective and approach to the sales process and how we interact with our current clients and work to acquire future ones. I’m also excited about bringing our sales team closer together to elevate Greystone’s name as the umbrella brand for our outstanding hotels. Doing so will create greater awareness of the portfolio as a whole, ultimately broadening our reach and growing our client base.
5. What do you enjoy most about the industry?
The hospitality industry is so unique compared to an industry like tech or manufacturing. While all industries allow for some kind of day-to-day interaction with people, our industry is special. Booking a hotel room is most often an emotional purchase—it can be for a celebration, a family reunion, an important presentation, a surprise vacation, and so on. Whether it’s through a direct sales effort or within the hotel, each of these interactions we have as hospitality professionals has real-life meaning. I take pride in going above and beyond at every opportunity to make someone feel special, and I get to do that for people from all walks of life on a daily basis. I find this incredibly rewarding.