Appointments & Promotions

JQH Promotes Amanda Cushing to Director of Sales at Bloomington-Normal Marriott in Illinois

NORMAL, IL. & SPRINGFIELD, MO. July 13, 2017 - John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts (JQH) today announced that Amanda Cushing has been promoted to director of sales at the company’s Bloomington–Normal Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Illinois. Cushing has worked at the TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame hotel for eight years and most recently served as director of event sales. She will oversee the sales and marketing team at the 228-room/suite Bloomington–Normal Marriott, which is owned and operated by Springfield, Missouri-based JQH under license from Marriott International, Inc. or one of its affiliates. JQH is a leading private, independent owner and manager of hotels in the United States, including operating more than 1 million square feet of superb meeting space.

“Amanda has excelled at strategically growing revenue throughout her successful career at the hotel. We anticipate her continuing to be a strong achiever, as she leverages her close ties with the community and hotel teams,” said John Sabbagh, general manager of the Bloomington–Normal Marriott Hotel & Conference Center.

In addition to serving as director of event sales at JQH’s AAA Four Diamond Bloomington–Normal Marriott, Cushing has also worked as sales manager and catering manager at the contemporary property located in Uptown Normal. In her various roles, she has had the opportunity to lead, train and mentor staff; solicit, negotiate and generate contracted revenues; communicate with clients; and collaborate with all hotel departments. Cushing graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in mass communications with a minor in agriculture from Illinois State University in Normal. She is a Certified Hospitality Sales Professional through the American Hotel & Lodging Association and also a member of the Bloomington–Normal Hotel and Lodging Association. She was designated a Stars of the Industry nominee by the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association. Cushing works closely with events benefiting Red Cross, YWCA and Boys & Girls Club. She is also a member of the McLean County Chamber of Commerce and of the Uptown Partners, a business partnership in Normal.

“I have great appreciation for the supportive environment at JQH in which creative thinking is encouraged and associates’ professional success is fostered,” Cushing said. “I look forward to continuing to work together with internal and external teams to drive demand for our premier destination for superb hospitality in the Midwest.”

About Bloomington–Normal Marriott Hotel & Conference Center

Situated in Uptown Normal, the 228-room/suite Bloomington–Normal Marriott Hotel & Conference Center provides easy access to Children’s Discovery Museum, Normal Theater, Shoppes at College Hills, and Illinois State University. The AAA Four Diamond hotel is a recipient of the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame status for consistently earning outstanding traveler reviews for five consecutive years. The stylish hotel’s spacious accommodations boast pillow top beds, custom duvets, flat-panel TVs, high-speed Wi-Fi and ergonomic workstations. Guests can also enjoy a well-equipped fitness center, a saltwater indoor pool and a whirlpool. The on-site restaurant, Jesse’s Grille, offers delicious, eclectic dining options for breakfast, lunch and dinner with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients. For a quick snack and Starbucks® beverages, stop by Caffeina’s Café. The nine-story property also features more than 24,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including 15 event rooms. Electric vehicle charging stations are available complimentary. Located at 201 Broadway Avenue in Normal, the Bloomington–Normal Marriott can be reached at (309) 862-9000. Visit for more information or connect with the hotel at

About John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts

Springfield, Missouri-based John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts (JQH) is a leading private, independent owner and manager of hotels in the United States, representing brands such as: Marriott, Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Sheraton, IHG, Chateau on the Lake Resort / Spa & Convention Center, and Plaza Hotels Collection. With a portfolio of 35 hotels representing approximately 8,500 guest rooms/suites in 16 states, JQH’s properties are dominant in their markets. Founded on the extraordinary vision of John Q. Hammons and built on his continued legacy of excellence spanning more than 50 years, JQH has become one of the most recognized and award-winning companies in the hospitality industry. Built to be the best, JQH continues to set the standard in hospitality management and hotel development. Go to for more information, or connect with JQH on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Phill Burgess

Sheri D. Smith

Coming Up In The August Online Hotel Business Review

Feature Focus
Food & Beverage: Multiplicity and Diversity are Key
The challenge for hotel food and beverage operations is to serve the personal tastes and needs of an increasingly diverse population and, at the same time, to keep up with ever-evolving industry trends. In order to accomplish this, restaurateurs and hoteliers have to flex their creative muscles and pull out all the stops to satisfy their various audiences. One way to achieve this is to utilize existing food spaces in multiple ways at different times of the day. Lunch can be casual and fast, while dinnertime can be more formal and slower paced. The same restaurant can offer counter service by day but provide table service by night, with a completely different menu and atmosphere. Changes in music, lighting, uniforms and tabletop design contribute to its transformation. This multi- purpose approach seeks to meet the dining needs of guests as they change throughout the day. Today’s restaurants also have to go to great lengths to fulfill all the diverse dietary preferences of their guests. The popularity of plant-based, paleo, vegan, and gluten and allergen-free diets means that traditional menus must evolve from protein-heavy, carb-loaded offerings to those featuring more vegetables and legumes. Chefs are doing creative things with vegetables, such as experimenting with global cuisines or incorporating new vegetable hybrids into their dishes. Another trend is an emphasis on bold and creative flavors. From chili oil to sriracha to spicy maple syrup, entrees, desserts and beverages are all being enhanced with spice and heat. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will document the trends and challenges in the food and beverage sector, and report on what some leading hotels are doing to enhance this area of their business.