Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales,
Intercontinental Hotels Group
Nominated by Meeting Professionals International (MPI)
Shaping the Industry
A true pioneer, Stephen Powell was a charter member of Meeting Professionals International (MPI), and an organizer of the Rocky Mountain Chapter. In 1983, he became the youngest person—and the first supplier— to serve as MPI’s president. In that role, Stephen created the Canadian Council to encourage chapter development outside the US, established the first standing committee, presided over its first participation in the Joint Industry Council in Europe, and was instrumental in starting a dedicated group to create the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) program prior to it moving to the Convention Industry Council. An early adopter of technology who foresaw its value to the industry, he created the first online bulletin board for MPI. He led the conversion of sales resources for Sheraton to CD-ROM in the early 1990’s and in 1999, Stephen was Senior Vice President of Global Sales for PlanSoft Corporation, a forerunner to StarCite. Later, he served as Vice President of Sales for Certain Software.
Single Most Important Contribution
As a thought leader in sales, Stephen established the industry-leading Strategic Pricing Program for IHG for the business travel segment. Strategic pricing is based on taking a percentage discount off of the market rate versus absolute/flat pricing. The plan simplifies the business travel request for proposal (RFP) process. He is seen as the leader in this model as demonstrated by various interviews.
Stephen’s career has spanned nearly every aspect of our industry. From the Denver Convention and Visitors Bureau to CCR Destination Management Company, his early years were spent developing destinations and promoting their value to clients. He was also a leader in technology and software application companies with Plansoft and Certain Software. Incentive Travel has benefited through his leadership with the Society of Incentive Travel Executives (SITE). And he is an acclaimed hotel sales leader holding executive positions with Fairmont, Loews, Sheraton, and IHG brands.
Distinguished Achievements of Lasting Value
Stephen has served as Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales at InterContinental Hotels Groups (IHG), which has over 4,500 hotels located in nearly 100 countries around the world. His key responsibilities include the creation of a unified sales platform for IHG as a worldwide company with global customers and the development of a common way of delivering the IHG brand proposition through a consistent sales experience.
Outstanding Service to Industry Organizations
Stephen was a founder of the MPI Foundation and served as that organization’s second chairman. In December 2003, Stephen joined IHG as Vice President of Sales, UK & Ireland, and was soon promoted to Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) where he was instrumental in linking brands and sales together to drive tangible business results. Since 2007, Stephen has served as Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales and has implemented solutions and programs, such as sales force automation, that serve customer need and drive results for IHG. Stephen’s outstanding contribution to the meetings industry has been awarded and recognized by numerous industry organizations, including: the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI), International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), MPI, and SITE.
Contributions to Society
Stephen is a leader in Corporate Social Responsibility, not just because it is good for business but, because it is the right thing to do. He has led IHG participation in numerous projects which aim to support initiatives for the blind and the homeless and those which promote eco-friendliness.