Choice Hotels International, Inc. has promoted Sarah Searls to the newly created role of chief customer officer. As part of Choice's ongoing commitment to its customers, Searls will maximize how Choice understands and listens to customers and will connect these valuable insights with strategy to create exceptional customer experiences and value to franchisees. In her expanded role, she will lead the company's marketing & customer acquisition, digital experiences, loyalty, and customer care functions. She will continue to report to Robert McDowell, chief commercial officer, Choice Hotels.
"For the last decade, Sarah has been integral to the development of Choice's strategic business decisions and consumer-facing digital products and communications, delivering billions to our franchised properties in annual gross room revenue," says McDowell. "As we harness customer insights and data to personalize the guest experience and develop innovative ways to drive business to our franchisees, Sarah's leadership, strong analytical skills, and marketing expertise will take our 'customer-first' strategy to new heights."
Searls joined Choice in 2009 as the first member of its enterprise-wide analytics function, leading the design of the analytical solutions and tools that still drive Choice's strategic business decisions today. She played a pivotal role in aligning the company's business intelligence group and, in 2015, became vice president of digital commerce, overseeing ChoiceHotels.com, Choice Hotels' mobile app and emerging digital consumer experiences.
Prior to Choice, Searls spent 10 years with America Online and Time Warner, where she led various analytical functions and areas within corporate development and business affairs. She received a Master of Business Administration from the Duke University Fuqua School of Business and a bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University in Middleton, Connecticut.