• Meet Robert Watson, Growing Up in the Business

     
    POSTED June 6, 2019
     

    Robert Watson celebrates 30 years with Hilton, but his résumé in hospitality goes way back.

Hospitality is somewhat of a family business for Tulsa, Oklahoma– native Robert Watson. After all, his career started as a teenager working alongside his father at downtown Tulsa’s renowned Mayo Hotel. “I started out at the coat check station and then moved into a role as a steward [dishwasher]. My father’s roles included banquet manager, catering manager, and food and beverage director,” recalls Watson, who came on board last summer as general manager of Hilton Anatole in Dallas.

Watson recently celebrated his 30th anniversary with the Hilton brand. He came to Hilton Anatole from Hilton Austin, where he led his team to win “Hotel of the Year” for 2018. “I’m thrilled to work toward the same goal for the legendary Hilton Anatole. We will be celebrating our 40th anniversary in 2019, and my goals will revolve around making this milestone year the best in terms of instituting a culture of care, value and respect for our team members while continuing to drive record performance and ensure our guests are having a great experience during their time with us,” says Watson.

Watson says the Dallas property continues to be a high-demand destination for meetings in the U.S., with Cvent ranking the city among the country’s top 10. “The Hilton Anatole was also ranked a top 10 hotel destination and is the only hotel in Dallas that made that list,” he notes.

Dallas’ central location from points around the country, says Watson, is one of the reasons for its popularity as a meeting locale. “Our climate is another big factor, especially for meetings in the first and fourth quarters when weather and natural disasters can cause a lot of risk for meetings being canceled in other parts of the country. And finally, our people: Dallas has become a melting pot destination with over 100,000 people a year migrating here, and they all seem to adopt the Southern hospitality and genuine sense of kindness,” says Watson.

League City CVB manager Stephanie Polk shares her career journey.

Originally from Kentwood, Louisiana, Stephanie Polk, TDM, CTE, first made her mark on the travel and tourism industry as director of marketing for the Beaumont Convention & Visitors Bureau. There, she helped to elevate the city as a destination for recreation travelers and business groups. Wowed by her accomplishments, in 2020, League City brought her on board to lead its marketing efforts. She shares with us highlights and advice from her experience in the industry. 

 

Event planning and experience design go hand in hand. Just ask Maria Moyano, experience designer for the Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC), based in NYC. “I think that everything is an event. You can go have coffee, and that’s an event. Everything is also an experience. You feel happy, and that’s an experience. It’s about what you are trying to get out of the event—and then how does an experience elevate it,” says Moyano.

 

In the midst of the pandemic last year, Loris Menfi joined San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter and Riverwalk as general manager. At the time of her hire, Rivercenter had recently unveiled a renovation to its 70,000-plus square feet of meeting space.