IHOP has reached outside of the restaurant business for its new CMO, Marriott and Hilton veteran Kieran Donahue.
Donahue held a number of marketing posts in the lodging business, both domestic and international, during the last 20 years. Among her areas of focus were field-level marketing and lead-generation programs.
She was most recently VP of brand, marketing and digital for Marriott’s Americas division. Earlier, Donahue served as VP of marketing for Hilton Enterprise’s Americas operations; VP of global brand marketing for DoubleTree; and senior director of global brand marketing for Hilton Hotels and Resorts.
The lodging industry has been ahead of the restaurant business in adopting such marketing initiatives as loyalty programs, online reservations and customized communications with customers.
Donahue joins IHOP as the chain is striving to rebound from the wallop of the pandemic. Family chains such as the pancake specialist took a hit at breakfast as consumers shifted to working at home, schools were shut and onsite dining was suspended and only gradually reinstated.
Among the chain’s recent sales-boosting tactics has been the rollout of new bowls and burritos, a move intended to capture more delivery and takeout business.
IHOP is franchised by Dine Brands Global, which is also the parent of Applebee's.