Business News

Leadership Shake-Up at U.S. Travel

Skift Take

U.S. Travel Association is restructuring and, in its wake, has created a new position to increase group travel to the United States. Ishma Haider, director of convention marketing at Visit Orlando, will assume this new role.

With a focus on meetings and events, the U.S. Travel Association has appointed Ishma Haider vice president of group travel, a new role for the organization. Haider, who joins from Visit Orlando, where she served as director of convention marketing for four years, joins U.S. Travel on January 2. 

“Investing in group travel and strengthening our role in this critical segment of the travel economy is central to U.S. Travel’s future focus, and we welcome Ishma to the team to lead this effort,” says Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.

Before Visit Orlando, Haider was part of the national meetings and events team at Caesars Entertainment. “It is an exciting time to join U.S. Travel and, working collaboratively across the industry, help the group meetings segment thrive. I look forward to engaging with U.S. Travel members and the Meetings Mean Business Coalition to leverage their collective reach and help this segment continue to grow,” says Haider. 

U.S. Travel Association Restructures

The creation of this new role is part of U.S. Travel Association’s restructuring under Geoff Freeman, who became president and CEO a year ago. 

In a memo to the U.S. Travel board, Freeman wrote, “We implemented a restructuring of our internal organization designed to make U.S. Travel more focused, collaborative, nimble and innovative. This included shifting responsibilities, eliminating and transitioning several roles, and creating more than 15 new positions. While some of these changes are difficult, all are essential to achieving our future aspirations.”

He continued saying core areas of focus are advocacy, its existing events, particularly IPW, an international inbound travel show, and ESTO, a forum for destination marketing professionals, and research and education.

“We do all of this while growing as an organization. In 2024, we expect our revenue to reach a new high of nearly $35 million, and we are dedicated to growing revenue substantially in the years ahead to reinvest in critical member services,” Freeman wrote.

Those impacted by this restructuring and have been let go include Nan Marchand Beauvois, senior vice president of membership and industry relations and general manager of ESTO; Malcolm Smith, senior vice president of business development and general manager of IPW; Will Brown, senior director of government relations; Jamie Mageau, director of research products; Chrystal Farmer, manager of meeting and event services; and economist Aaron Szyf.