Christi Davis is vice president of the Loews Sales Organization and a member of HSMAI’s Sales Advisory Board.
If you would have asked my younger self what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer most likely would have been a lawyer. My parents will tell you I started negotiating (they may have used the word debating), as soon as I could talk. Well, the girl with the knack for “negotiating” was bit by the travel bug when I spent a summer abroad in Sydney Australia. I came back to the states to graduate and a short few weeks later I was back in Australia, all but begging them to give me permanent residency. They politely declined and advised me to find a nice Australia bloke to marry or consider a job in the US that allowed for international transfers. Then they handed me my denial and told me to enjoy the last 72 hours of my time in Australia.
It was on the flight home I looked through the handful of internships I had completed, all surrounding sales + marketing for various organizations and matching said skillset to international organizations. And so began my career in hospitality. I started as a sales manager with select-service Marriotts in Carlsbad, California. Marriott offered a transfer program that I decided had my name all over it. A couple years went by and the idea of being so far from family became less appealing, but my love affair with hospitality was already well on its way. I fell in love with the profession and even more so with the discipline.
Marriott provided an incredible foundation with their sales training, and of course fantastic travel benefits, but I soon realized that select service was not for me. I set my sights on La Costa Resort and Spa, at the time a KSL property, and found my love of luxury.
After a couple years, I was determined to move into a leadership role and was recruited to move my career to Los Angeles as the director of group sales for The Hollywood Roosevelt. I moved around a bit in the Los Angeles market as I continued my career progression into different leadership roles, eventually landing at The Beverly Hilton. I started as director of sales, but I moved into director of sales and marketing shortly thereafter. I spent years at the iconic hotel and pretty much grew up there — wedding, babies, and eventually realizing I wanted to move on to the next challenge, the ownership and asset management side of the industry. I accepted the role of vice president of sales and marketing for Journal Hotels, a well-funded startup that owned, managed and was actively interested in acquiring independent assets across the US.
After a handful of years of travel, including weeks at a time when we were acquiring an asset, I decided it was time to move out of the startup world and acclimate back into the luxury space. I was recruited by Loews Hotels & Co in early 2017, and currently serve as vice president of the Loews Sales Organization, where I oversee the group operation of the organization, from national sales to group contracting, sales tools, and strategy.
My love for hospitality has never dulled. 17 years later I can still say I love what I do. This industry encourages engagement, creativity, and exploration. The discipline fuels my competitive nature and with the evolution of the sales discipline it also challenges my analytical side. Moving from the relationship sales concept to consultants or strategists that maintain the relational competitive edge but must challenge for the business is a daily inspiration. How can we be better today than yesterday? Im motivated by the potential of constant improvement. Something my husband may wish was not so much on the forefront of my mind in my personal life, as I don’t tend to shut it off at home. It’s apparently in my DNA. My job as it stands now is to be intuitive and push the boundaries. How can we improve? Improve processes, efficiencies, production, how can we stand out in a sea of large brands and luxury offerings and drive results.
My best advice, go after what you want, because the worst someone can say is no (and I would add) then prove them wrong. I also remember someone once telling me, “Operate as if you were in the role you want, not the role you are ”. And lastly, always see the strengths in others.