The Albert E. Koehl Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Marketing and the Winthrop W. Grice Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Public Relations awards recognize individuals who have spent a major portion of their careers in the hospitality and travel profession and have contributed to the betterment of the industry in a significant and lasting way, over an extended period of time.
An innovative marketing executive who has left a lasting imprint on multiple hotel brands and a public relations expert who founded her own hospitality media and marketing firm and a food and travel entertainment company are being honored by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) for their significant achievements.
Peter Strebel, chairman of Omni Hotels & Resorts, is receiving the Albert E. Koehl Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Marketing. Mary Wagstaff, partner and managing director at MMGY Wagstaff, is receiving the Winthrop W. Grice Award Hospitality Public Relations. Both awards will be presented in conjunction with the HSMAI Adrian Awards Celebration on February 23 in Los Angeles.
The HSMAI Lifetime Achievement Awards recognize individuals who have spent most of their careers in hospitality and travel and have contributed to the betterment of the industry in a significant and lasting way over an extended period of time.
“Peter and Mary are true leaders and visionaries in the travel and tourism industry, and HSMAI is excited to celebrate their remarkable careers and contributions,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA, president and CEO of HSMAI. “They have made, and continue to make, a lasting impact, not only on the companies and people they lead but also on the hospitality industry as a whole. It is a great honor to recognize Peter with the Albert E. Koehl Award for Hospitality Marketing and to present Alice with the Winthrop W. Grice Award for Public Relations.”
Peter Strebel: Albert E. Koehl Award for Hospitality Marketing
Peter Strebel is chairman of Omni Hotels & Resorts, a position he assumed in May 2022. In this role, he provides strategic counsel to the company, ensures Omni maintains its existing high level of guest service, and oversees growth and expansion planning.
A veteran of 30-plus years in the hospitality industry, Strebel had a successful career in sales and marketing positions at Omni that ultimately led to his appointment as vice president of sales and marketing in 1999. He left Omni to become chief marketing officer and executive vice president for the Wyndham Hotel Group and was later promoted to president of the company before returning to Omni in 2009.
Strebel rejoined Omni as area managing director and general manager of the company’s flagship property in midtown Manhattan, the award-winning Omni Berkshire Place. He went on to become senior vice president of operations, overseeing the development of brand-wide property standards, guest rooms, and other operational areas for the company’s growing convention collection and resort portfolio.
Since returning to Omni, Strebel has also served as president, chief marketing officer, and senior vice president of sales. He has been instrumental in creating and driving innovative branding, communications, marketing, and business development strategies to increase awareness of Omni’s properties, capture market share, and build revenue.
Mary Wagstaff: Winthrop W. Grice Award for Public Relations
Over a career of more than 30 years, Mary Wagstaff has worked in most areas of the hospitality and tourism industries in various public relations and marketing roles. After graduating from New York University, she moved to Chicago and founded ProVisions, a public relations firm focused on restaurants in Chicago and Los Angeles. She later moved to Los Angeles and became vice president of Murphy O’Brien Public Relations in 1998, then struck out on her own, founding Wagstaff Media & Marketing in 1999 with just a desktop computer.
Wagstaff spent the next 20-plus years diligently nurturing her company’s growth, opening offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, and Vancouver, Canada. Wagstaff Media & Marketing was included in Forbes’ inaugural list of America’s Best PR Firms, and Wagstaff was recognized by the Los Angeles Business Journal’s Women’s Leadership Awards.
In October 2022, MMGY Global, an integrated travel marketing company, acquired Wagstaff Media & Marketing, bringing additional resources, expertise, and global reach to Wagstaff’s clients and employees. As partner and managing director, Wagstaff continues the work that she began more than 30 years ago, driving innovation across her global client portfolio and cultivating world-class talent across her 70-person North American team.
Wagstaff is a co-founder of Flapjack, a food and travel entertainment company that creates documentary films, cooking videos, and travel shows. She produced the documentary “A Chef’s Voyage” in 2020. She is a founding board member of Active Cultures, a nonprofit cultural organization that explores the convergence of food and art in contemporary life, and has served on the board of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs.
ALBERT E. KOEHL & WINTHROP W. GRICE SELECTION COMMITTEE:
Gary Leopold, CHME
Prism Advisory Group
Bendel Communications International
Melinda Bush, CHA
President & CEO
HRW Holdings/Hospitality Resources Worldwide, LLC
Laura Davidson Public Relations
Nancy J. Friedman Public Relations
Owner/editor Gostelow Report
Lou Hammond & Associates
Bjorn Hanson, Ph.D., CRE, CFE
National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
Virginia M. Sheridan
Peter Yesawich, Ph.D.