Hotel Online  Special Report



HSMAI to Honor Barbara M. Talbott with the
Koehl Award and Yvonne Middleton
with the Grice Award
MCLEAN, VA (Oct. 30, 2006) – Recognizing individuals who have made significant contributions and lasting impressions on the hospitality and travel industry, the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) announces the recipients of its annual Albert E. Koehl Award for advertising and marketing and the Winthrop W. Grice Award for public relations excellence.

The 2006 recipients of these lifetime achievement honors, who will be acknowledged as part of the 50th Annual HSMAI Adrian Awards program at the 17th annual awards gala on Jan. 29, 2007 in New York City, are Barbara M. Talbott, Executive Vice President, Marketing, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, who will be recognized with the Koehl honor, and Yvonne Middleton, Chairman, Middleton & Gendron, Inc. who will receive the Grice Award.

“It is an honor to present Yvonne Middleton and Barbara Talbott with these distinctions,” states Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHA, president and CEO of HSMAI.  “Both individuals have served the industry beyond compare, doing so professionally with tremendous talent, grace and panache.”

“These annual awards are HSMAI’s way of paying tribute to them and encouraging others to make similar commitments to their careers, the discipline and the industry,” Gilbert adds.

Albert E. Koehl Award

Barbara Talbott is Executive Vice President, Marketing, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.  When she joined in 1989, Four Seasons managed 20 hotels, located primarily in U.S. city locations.  At the time, many were better known by other names – including the flagship Four Seasons Hotel London, then called Inn on the Park.  Today, the name Four Seasons has become synonymous with the very best in hospitality, with 70 resorts and hotels in 31 countries.  In 2006 when The Robb Report devoted its 30th Anniversary issue to “Icons and Innovators of Excellence,” Four Seasons was recognized, alongside names such as Cartier, Mercedes and Armani.

Talbott began her business career in 1978 with the consulting firm of McKinsey & Company, where she focused on consumer research and strategy.  In 1983, she joined her client, Royal Viking, to lead a successful repositioning of the company’s signature voyages and service.  For the next six years she traveled the world and introduced marketing innovations still used by leading cruise companies today.  Under her direction, Royal Viking was the first to present its annual world cruise as a collection of unique, branded travel experiences; beginning in 1984, she also introduced the industry’s first direct response campaigns tailored to past guests.

With a deep understanding of the affluent consumer and worldwide destinations, Talbott was a natural choice 17 years ago as Four Seasons prepared to launch a new generation of resorts and international city hotels.  With an additional 20 Four Seasons properties currently under construction or development, the challenge each year is to create ever-widening global leadership.  Consistent in tone, innovative in method, Four Seasons sales and marketing strategies have kept pace.   An early leader in using the internet as both a positioning and a transaction tool, in 2006 will attract more than 20 million unique visits from around the world, supporting exceptional exposure for the brand and industry-leading results at individual Four Seasons hotels. 

Talbott holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin and currently serves on the board of Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research.  A recognized leader on the subject of branding for service businesses, she is the author of “The Power of Personal Service,” to be published by Cornell this fall. 

The Albert E. Koehl award was established in 1975 to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to advertising and marketing in the hospitality industry.  A lifetime achievement award, it was named in honor of Albert E. Koehl, a pioneer in hotel advertising.  Past recipients include:  Barry S. Sternlicht, Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, Horst H. Schulze, John J. Russell, CHME, Michael A. Leven, CHME, Richard Branson, Michael D. Eisner and Gordon “Butch” Stewart.

Winthrop W. Grice Award

Yvonne Middleton is Chairman of Middleton & Gendron, an award-winning New York brand communications agency specializing in promoting high-end travel, real estate and consumer goods.  The agency has been retained by countless blue chip companies over its 28-year history, including Singapore Airlines, Regent International Hotels, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Wyndham Luxury Resorts, KSL Resorts, Capella Hotels & Resorts, Preferred Hotel Group, Orbitz, Mohegan Sun, FAO Schwarz, and Rolex, U.S.A.  Its roster of independent resorts includes marquee names such as Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain and La Costa Resort and Spa.

As a public relations professional, Middleton has been the subject of a number of articles highlighting women in business.  She has also appeared on such television programs as NBC-TV’s “Today Show.”

Middleton and her partner, Mary Gendron, have been in business together since 1980, spearheading successful image-making and groundbreaking public relations campaigns.  With their exceptional staff, they helped launch new companies, repositioned existing ones, managed crises with worldwide impact, organized celebrity and charity galas and sports tournaments, forged compelling co-marketing partnerships, and helped their clients communicate effectively through newsletters, brochures, e-blasts, websites and blogs.

Before moving to New York City in 1972, Middleton worked in Washington, D.C. in radio and television.  Her first job in New York City was as an editor at Ziff-Davis Publishing Company, one of the nation’s preeminent magazine publishers at the time.  She traveled extensively in North America and abroad on various journalistic assignments.

Middleton received her B.A. in communications from the University of Maryland and did graduate work in radio and television at American University in Washington, D.C. 

The Winthrop W. Grice Award was established in 1989 to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to public relations in the hospitality industry.  It was named in honor of Winthrop W. “Bud” Grice, CHME, a long-time senior marketing executive with Marriott, who was the award’s first designate.  Some of the other winners include: Peggy R. Bendel, René A. Mack, Lou Hammond, Bunny Grossinger, Herbert D. Kelleher, Steve Wynn, Alan Fredericks and Donald J. Trump.

Winners will be honored on Jan. 29, 2007 at the New York Marriott Marquis during the 17th Annual Adrian Awards Gala, a multifaceted, black-tie networking extravaganza celebrating award-winning work, lifetime achievement, and the “Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing.”  Visit for more information on tickets/table purchases.

HSMAI is an organization of sales and marketing professionals representing all segments of the hospitality industry.  With a strong focus on education, HSMAI has become the industry champion in identifying and communicating trends in the hospitality industry, and bringing together customers and members at annual events.  Founded in 1927, HSMAI is an individual membership organization comprising nearly 7,000 members worldwide, with 36 chapters in the Americas region.


8201 Greensboro Drive, Suite 300
McLean, VA 22102
phone (703) 610-9024

Also See: HSMAI to Honor Peggy R. Bendel with the Grice Award and Barry S. Sternlicht with the Koehl Award / December 2005


To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.Online Search

Home | Welcome! | Hospitality News | Classifieds | Catalogs & Pricing | Viewpoint Forum | Ideas/Trends
Please contact Hotel.Online with your comments and suggestions.