Jessie Burns, senior director of brand and public relations strategy for Terranea Resort, will receive the 2022 Single/Multi-Unit Marketing Professional of the Year Award during the HSMAI Marketing Strategy Conference, taking place June 28. “Receiving this award is an incredible honor, and I am truly humbled to be recognized among the outstanding leaders nominated within this group,” Burns said. “This award is only possible because of the talented, world-class team of marketing and revenue leaders I am fortunate to work with and learn from each day. It is shared and celebrated with each of them.”
In her role, Burns oversees communications to support revenue generation, brand awareness, and reputation management, and has helped position Terranea as a top resort destination. She specializes in brand strategy, media relations, crisis communications, content marketing, strategic partnerships, and internal communications. Burns has more than 15 years of experience in marketing communications and has worked with several brands within the luxury hospitality segment. In addition, she is an HSMAI Certified Hospitality Digital Marketer and a member of Visit California’s PR Advisory Committee, American Hotel & Lodging’s Communications Cabinet and ForWard Ambassador Program, and Terranea’s Green Team. Here, she discusses how she’s seen the industry evolve as well as what makes a strong brand and PR strategy.
HSMAI: How did you get your start in the industry?
Jessie Burns: Growing up, I was fortunate to live abroad and travel extensively with my family. Those experiences made me fall in love with exploring new destinations and sparked my passion for travel, which continues today. I was drawn to hospitality because it allows me to collaborate and create memorable experiences, help inspire travel, and be involved in different areas I enjoy such as wellness, epicurean, sustainability, entertainment, and adventure. I began my career working in marketing and public relations as a storyteller for various luxury hospitality clients on the agency side. After several years, I transitioned in-house on the independent brand side and love the endless possibility of growing, shaping, and evolving what sets a destination apart.
How did you get involved with HSMAI?
My mentor Agnelo Fernandes, immediate past chair of the HSMAI Foundation and CSO and EVP of Terranea Resort, introduced me to HSMAI through the membership opportunities and industry awards and accolade recognition. In 2012, I became a member, joining my local Los Angeles chapter, and we have been participating in the Adrian Awards for more than 10 years. I also achieved my certification as a hospitality digital marketer (CHDM) in 2020.
During your time in the industry, how have you seen the hospitality marketing space evolve?
The hospitality marketing space continues to rapidly evolve, as does our industry. The greatest shift and driver for success has been developing an integrated approach across revenue and marketing thought leadership, allowing us to use data and analytics in establishing our strategies and driving impactful results. Technology has also played a significant role in the evolution, allowing us to connect with the right audience at the right time, with meaningful and engaging content. One constant that remains, however, is the need to create an emotive connection with guests — that becomes the differentiator in transitioning beyond a client to an ambassador.
What do you think is critical in developing effective brand and PR strategy in hospitality?
Developing an effective strategy begins with defining the objective and establishing a clear path to achieve your desired results. A brand is defined by its ambassadors; listening is paramount to understanding the needs, wants, and service opportunities of your guests and employees. If the past two years have taught us anything, the need for flexibility and the ability to pivot are also important. It is critical to understand the value proposition and architecture of your brand to achieve success.
What would you describe as the best moment of your career?
One of the best moments of my career was following the Adrian Awards in 2020 before the pandemic began. Our team was fortunate to attend the conference and awards dinner in New York, and it was a wonderful achievement to be recognized for the awards we garnered. When I arrived home, I was greeted by my three young daughters and husband who had made congratulatory signs celebrating the big win. It was a proud moment for me professionally, and personally, to see the joy of my career success reflected by my family.