Just recently, Hyatt Hotels Corp. announced a new SVP and Global Head of Digital: Arlie Sisson. As part of her job responsibilities, Sisson will be tasked with using digital to redefine on-property experiences for guests, experiment with new ways to drive revenue for owners and innovate with emerging technologies. But while she may be new Hyatt, Sisson is not new to the hospitality industry.
“When I graduated college, one of my first jobs was on-property at a hotel under the Starwood Hotels & Resorts brand. Through their training program, I was exposed to multiple facets of the guest experience including marketing, front desk, and other capabilities that taught me life-long skills such as the importance of relationship building, demonstrating empathy and care, as well as proactive thinking,” Sisson explained.
Her next job, at a mobile app start-up, is where she learned the ins and outs of building a fan experience in the technology space, which she drew on a few years later when she rejoined the hospitality industry, leading a mobile application team for Marriott Hotels. After Marriott, Sisson worked for Condé Nast overseeing emerging digital products and was the CEO of UpPurpose, a global technology SaaS platform that partners with nonprofits, foundations, CSR organizations, and social enterprises to increase digital awareness.
During her time with UpPurpose, Sisson was able to help digitize the nonprofit space during a pandemic when nonprofits were being heavily relied upon. The product helped engage communities with nonprofits in the digital realm as opposed to physical spaces or gatherings.
“I’m proud of this experience because the product was not perfect at first, however, we tested, learned, and pivoted,” she states. “Experimentation and listening to stakeholders is a core component of the work at Hyatt, too. Together by Hyatt, is a great example of this, a product built out of listening to meeting planners and event organizers and tailoring offerings to support wherever they are on their journey to returning to in-person events. I’m thrilled that this background has brought me to Hyatt and am excited to help make the digital experience for guests and members exciting, easier, and enjoyable – fueled by Hyatt’s purpose of care.”
How Hyatt Cares
One of the things that drew Sisson to Hyatt was its commitment to its purpose – caring for people so they can be their best. One way Hyatt is showing it cares is with its pledge to double the representation of women and people of color in key leadership roles by 2025.
“Representation matters and it’s important that those looking to join or advance their IT careers see themselves personified,” she notes. “Hyatt recently released its second annual DE&I Report and shared progress, including an increase in women in leadership positions compared to 2020 and I’m looking forward to continuing to grow a digital team that reflects our broader company and communities.”
Another way Hyatt shows it cares is with its commitment to creating digital products that are equitable and accessible for all guests.
“I’m a mother of a daughter with disabilities, both cognitive and physical, so when I look at how we develop digital products, it’s a passion point of mine to ensure that it’s inclusive. Landing at Hyatt and seeing our ADA practices across design and programming, makes me excited, both from a personal and professional level,” she notes.
And don’t forget the role that mentorship plays. By creating a culture that fosters the mentor/mentee relationship, Hyatt ensures that all team members are able to do their best work.
For Sisson, Amy Weinberg, Hyatt’s SVP of Global Brands, Loyalty & Insights has been a key mentor.
“It has been inspiring to watch and learn from Amy and her data-driven approach to curating guest experiences, the World of Hyatt loyalty program, commercial offers, and strategic collaborations that offer rewarding experiences,” Sisson says.
For the Love of Hospitality
When it comes to working within the hospitality industry, Sisson says she truly loves it. And that love really began with her mother’s dedication to ensuring every experience was special and curated just for her.
“That sense of hospitality has guided so much of my life and Hyatt’s digital team has the ability to help create and customize an exceptional guest and member experience within the physical footprint of our global properties,” she says.
But that isn’t the only reason for Sisson’s love for the industry.
“I returned to hospitality because I know the work is fulfilling and this industry supports the whole me,” she explains. “If you are looking for a welcoming, exciting and life-long career, hospitality is a wonderful industry, and technology is a great place to start.”