On the Move: This Week’s Comings and Goings

Fred Grapstein has been elected as the new chairman of the Hotel Association of New York City. Grapstein, executive vice president of Vornado Realty Trust’s Hospitality Group, has been a board member of the Hotel Association for more than five years and a longtime member of the Hospitality Council of New York. He brings a wealth of financial and operating experience to the role.

Here are more notable hospitality comings and goings that took place this past week:

Connie Rheams will help create mobile solutions for back-of-house hospitality employees as vice president, hospitality for Beekeeper, a workplace app developer. In this role, Rheams will impact the guest experience by providing mobile tools to hotel employees to make operations go smoothly.

Laura Burke is the new national sales director for Chatham Bars Inn on Cape Cod and the Inn at Perry Cabin on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Burke will drive account development, sales relationships, and strategic group partnerships for the two resorts as well as the forthcoming Links at Perry Cabin and the Lodge at Perry Cabin. She most recently served as director of sales, worldwide accounts for Hilton’s Luxury Brands–Waldorf Astoria and Conrad Hotels.


Aretha Kelly will be responsible for assisting professionals, executives, and specialists collaborating with Associated Luxury Hotels International’s (ALHI) member hotels and resorts as director of sales in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region. Kelly worked as a business development consultant for CaseWorthy, Inc. prior to ALHI.

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has appointed Todd Ryan as regional director of sales and marketing for the group’s Mid-Atlantic area hotels. Ryan brings more than 20 years of hotel and resort sales experience to Kimpton’s team. In his new role, he will provide direction to all regional strategies as well as sales and catering staff for 16 hotels in Kimpton’s east coast portfolio.

As regional director of operations, Becky Aleman will oversee functions for a group of Hotel Equities’ properties. Prior to her promotion, Aleman served as general manager of the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Lynchburg where she managed a complete renovation.

Pacific Northwest hospitality company Staypineapple welcomes Troy Longwith as regional director of operations. By working closely with the leadership teams within the Staypineapple portfolio, Longwith will maximize revenue and financial results.

McKibbon Hospitality announced that Christopher Flanders is the new general manager of the Hampton Inn & Suites Atlanta Buckhead set to open in early summer 2018. In his role, Flanders will be responsible for day-to-day hotel operations, guest satisfaction, hotel performance, associate training, compliance, and meeting brand requirements. He has 17 years of experience, previously serving as GM of the Residence Inn by Marriott Tallahassee North/I-10 Capital Circle, also a McKibbon property.

Sofia Vandaele will focus on employee success and positive guest experiences as general manager of the InterContinental New York Barclay. Vandaele most recently served as general manager of Hilton Paris Opera, where she led a renovation and repositioned the property while remaining open.

The Knickerbocker Hotel in New York will see Karim Abdelhamid manage guest experience and operations in both guestrooms and food and beverage outlets as hotel manager. With almost 20 years of hospitality experience, Abdelhamid served as the resort manager of the Westin Savannah Harbor Gold Resort & Spa before joining The Knickerbocker.

Hyatt Centric South Beach Miami welcomes two leaders to its growing team: Ricardo Mendes will oversee daily operations and train staff members as general manager; and Alex Alvarez will work closely with Mendes to generate revenue strategies for groups and events as director of sales and marketing.

Hotel Republic San Diego has made two additions to the executive team to continuously grow the property: Erin Lovely will use her 15 years of transient, group, and catering sales experience as director of sales and marketing; and JC Colón will manage the 3 on-site food and beverage outlets as executive chef.

After previously working as a banquet manager, Brent Stone will continue at Snow King Resort as director of food and beverage. Stone has grown his career through various banquet and food and beverage positions for hotels including Lodge & Spa at Cordillera in Edwards, CO, and Vial Mountain Resort & Spa.

Chanelle Despins will coordinate social media accounts, marketing, and public relations campaigns as marketing coordinator of the Hyatt Regency Austin. Despins began her Hyatt career in 2015 when she worked as a front desk agent at the same hotel.

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