The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) has selected Theresa van Greunen, senior director of corporate communications at Aqua-Aston Hospitality as one of the “The HSMAI Top 25: Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality Sales, Marketing, Revenue Optimization” for 2018.
With more than 20 years’ experience in the public relations and communications industry, van Greunen has been instrumental in successfully elevating Aqua-Aston Hospitality as a top hotel and resort management company. Her work to develop a corporate social responsibility program “Advocate with Aqua-Aston” led to the company’s “For Our Reef” campaign, raising public awareness that certain types of sunscreen contribute to coral bleaching. Her work contributed to increased public awareness, and to Hawaii becoming the first state to ban the sale of sunscreens that damage coral reef in 2018.
“The ‘Top 25’ is our annual hot list that celebrates the sales, marketing and revenue management leaders and innovators in our industry,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA, President and CEO of HSMAI. “The creative strategies, passionate dedication and sharp intelligence of these professionals have not only grown the business within their organizations but have also truly raised the bar for the hospitality industry as a whole.”
“This accolade is an incredible honor and a career highlight. Aqua-Aston Hospitality is a company that embraces the power of environmental stewardship and empowers its team to think big and put ideas into action to make a positive difference for our team, our guests, our partners, and the local communities where we operate,” said van Greunen. “I am thankful for the support of our leadership who have entrusted me with the unique opportunity to push boundaries and the status quo in our industry.”
Mrs. van Greunen also had an integral role in leading communication for the recent rebranding of Aqua-Aston Hospitality. Her campaign was recognized as the top PR campaign of the year by PRSA’s Hawaii Chapter (Best of Show, 2016). She also led the launch of the now internationally renowned flagship property, The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club, and was recognized by HSMAI’s Adrian Awards (Platinum HSMAI Adrian Award, 2016).
Prior to joining Aqua-Aston Hospitality, van Greunen was a director at Becker Communications Inc. where she oversaw key accounts, including the Pacific Historic Parks 73rd Pearl Harbor Commemoration. Her work was recognized as the top PR campaign of the year by PRSA’s Hawaii Chapter (Best of Show, 2015), and was ranked the top PR campaign from amongst all 11 chapters of the PRSA’s Western District (Best of the West, 2016). Before moving to her Honolulu residence in 2014, van Greunen operated her own PR consultancy in South Africa, FinePlaces PR, which specialized in promoting the region’s fine food, wine and travel.
The sixteenth annual list recognizes the “best of the best” in the hospitality, travel and tourism industries. Recipients will be honored during a private ceremony on January 22, 2019 at the New York Marriott Marquis and during the Adrian Awards Dinner Reception and Gala that follows.
The 2018 “Top 25” recipients were judged by a panel of senior industry executives for their recent work based on the following criteria: creativity and innovation, cutting edge sales or marketing campaigns, triumph in challenging situations, and/or sales efforts that resulted in dramatic gains.