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Beth Thomas, GM for the Westin Galleria & Westin Oaks Hotels, Named Interim Chair
of The Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston

The Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston, a non-profit organization representing one of the largest industries in Southeast Texas,  has named Beth Thomas, General Manager of the Westin Galleria & Westin Oaks Hotels, as its interim chair to replace hotelier Fernando Cuellar. 
Ms. Thomas will head the organization until new elections are held in July. Cuellar resigned as Association chair after accepting a hotel general manager position in New Orleans. Ms. Thomas  has been serving as First Vice Chair over the past year.
A hospitality veteran with more than 23 years of hotel experience, Ms. Thomas has worked in management positions at a number of leading hotels and resorts throughout the country. These include the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels in Orlando, the five-star Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale where she was resort manager and The Westin Waltham in Boston where she was general manager. With Starwood Hotels & Resorts's Valhalia Business Team, she was responsible for developing Starwood's next generation inventory system. She became general manager of the complexed Westin Galleria and Westin Oaks Hotels in 2005.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Wheelock College in Boston and a Masters in Business Administration fro Orlando College in Florida.
While the position may be a voluntary one, the HLAGH chair oversees an organization representing an industry which were it a single company, would be the largest in the area in employment, taxable income and economic impact. The organization was especially valuable in helping government and emergency operation agencies coordinate lodging needs during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and has extended its efforts in educating the general public on finding available rooms in the region during emergency evacuations.
With nearly 300 members, the organization is made up of general managers and owners of hotels and motels, suppliers, service companies and consultants who sell and service the hospitality industry. This industry, which provides more than 89,000 jobs and $327 million in payroll, is one of the top contributors to the Houston economy.
Serving as the voice representing the hotel and lodging industry in the Houston area, the HMAGH is active in governmental affairs, education, tourism and charitable efforts. Among Ms. Thomas'responsibilities will be coordinating lobbying efforts and educational programs - the organization provides scholarships to the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management at the University of Houston and on-the-job training to high school students through its High Schools for Hospitality Program. Ms. Thomas will also work to coordinate charitable contributions and activities which annually average more than $5.2 million.
The organization works closely with the Greater Houston Conventions and Visitors Bureau to promote Houston as a convention and tourism location. Travel spending in the greater Houston area last year generated more than $147 million in local taxes. Hotels and motels also infused more than $500 million in construction and renovation spending into the local economy.


Also See: Houston Hoteliers Say Where There's No Smoke, There's No Change; Hotel Association Poll Indicates the Six Month Old City Smoking Ordinance Not Hurting Business / March 2008
Six Houston Hotel Workers Honored as the Best in the Industry / November 2007


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