Appointments & Promotions

The Chanler at Cliff Walk Appoints Lani Shufelt General Manager, Chief Operating Officer and Cherie'lin Toporowski Director of Sales and Marketing

NEWPORT, R.I. March 22, 2017 – The Chanler at Cliff Walk announces the appointments of hospitality veteran Lani Shufelt as General Manager and Chief Operating Officer and seasoned marketing specialist Cherie’lin Toporowski as Director of Sales and Marketing.

In her new role as General Manager and COO, Shufelt will oversee day-to-day management of the hotel including all staff, guest services, and marketing initiatives. Shufelt most recently served as The Chanler’s Marketing Manager, working closely with the hotel staff and developing creative brand marketing campaigns for the luxury boutique property. She will continue to work closely with her team on-property to increase brand awareness and market share through customer acquisition, retention, and reactivation.

Taking over the property’s day-to-day marketing strategy is new Director of Sales and Marketing, Cherie’lin Toporowski. She joins The Chanler team from Rhode Island Destination Management Company, Newport Hospitality, where she most recently held the position of Program Manager, and was responsible for executing more than 30 programs for multiple companies throughout Rhode Island. Toporowski’s many responsibilities included proposal writing, negotiation and contracting, budgeting, sourcing hotel rooms and transportation, event detailing and reconciliation for multi-day programs and events including high level executive board meetings, incentive trips, award dinners, and galas.

“Having held a variety of positions across the hospitality and marketing fields throughout my career thus far, I am thrilled to bring my experience and fresh creative ideas to my new dual role as General Manager and COO,” said Shufelt. “I feel fortunate to have already worked alongside this fantastic team for the last three years and I am looking forward to building an even stronger identity for this award-winning hotel through enhanced guest offerings and programming. Each and every guest of The Chanler is so special to me and I want to ensure that they feel like they are always coming home when returning to the hotel.”

“I am thrilled to bring my knowledge and understanding of the Newport hospitality market to my new role at The Chanler,” added Toporowski. “Lani and I have a lot of creative ideas and we are excited to be working together to introduce new programming for our guests.”

Shufelt spent much of her life entrenched in the hospitality field as the daughter of a hotelier. She spent her young adult summers working at Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island, Michigan, a property owned at the time by her father, John Shufelt and his wife Jeanie Shufelt. She then went on to hold multiple positions with the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group from Assistant Front Office Manager to Front Office Manager in San Francisco. Shortly after her father and Mrs. Shufelt purchased the historic mansion that is The Chanler at Cliff Walk in 2003, Shufelt began her career at The Chanler as a Reservations Supervisor and later as Rooms Manager. She then took a break from hospitality for several years and served as a Digital Marketing Associate for the fine jewelry online shop Plukka in Hong Kong, as well as a Product Development Associate at the upscale women’s specialty store Henri Bendel based in New York City. It was in late 2012 that Shufelt returned to The Chanler as Marketing Manager, and worked her way up to her current role.

Similarly to Shufelt, Toporowski has deep roots in hospitality having held positions with the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce, where she served as the Events Director for nearly two years and at 41° North in Newport, where she was a Sales and Events Manager before joining Newport Hospitality in late 2015 as their Program Manager.

Shufelt attended Skidmore College where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Art History, and then went on to receive a Cuisine & Pastry Degree from Le Cordon Bleu Paris, and an MBA from Cornell University’s S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management in Luxury Goods Marketing.

Toporowski attended Eastern Connecticut State University where she received a double Bachelor’s degree in Art History and Visual Arts, and then attended Savannah College of Art and Design for a Master of Arts Administration. As a graduate student at SCAD, she focused on Marketing and Special Events Planning.

About The Chanler at Cliff Walk

A historic hotel at the start of Newport’s famous Cliff Walk, The Chanler boasts twenty uniquely designed rooms to reflect a different historical period or theme. The Spiced Pear dining room serves Contemporary American Cuisine with a décor of grace, splendor and elegance featuring breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Ideal for boutique weddings, meetings and corporate events, The Chanler offers exclusive buyout options and fully customizable packages.

Amanda Feldman

Coming Up In The June Online Hotel Business Review

Feature Focus
Sales & Marketing: Who Owns the Guest?
Hotels and OTAs are, by necessity, joined at the hip and locked in a symbiotic relationship that is uneasy at best. Hotels require the marketing presence that OTAs offer and of course, OTAs guest’s email when it sends guest information to a hotel, effectively allowing OTAs to maintain “ownership” of the guest. Without ready access to guest need hotel product to offer their online customers. But recently, several OTAs have decided to no longer share a data, hotels are severely constrained from marketing directly to a guest which allows them to capture repeat business – the lowest cost and highest value travelers. Hotels also require this data to effectively market to previous guests, so ownership of this data will be a significant factor as hotels and OTAs move forward. Another issue is the increasing shift to mobile travel bookings. Mobile will account for more than half of all online travel bookings next year, and 78.6% of them will use their smartphone to make those reservations. As a result, hotels must have a robust mobile marketing plan in place, which means responsive design, one-click booking, and location technology. Another important mobile marketing element is a “Click-to-Call” feature. According to a recent Google survey, 68% of hotel guests report that it is extremely/very important to be able to call a hotel during the purchase phase, and 58% are very likely to call a hotel if the capability is available in a smartphone search. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.