Nominee: Abigail Whitaker, Chief Marketing Officer

Abigail Whitaker, Chief Marketing Officer of Holiday Systems International and its parent company, Vacation Innovations, is one of the most innovative marketing executives in the vacation ownership industry.

A driven marketing executive with a passion for search engine optimization and more than a decade of experience in digital and traditional marketing, Abigail is a proven leader who is fiercely dedicated to the success of her organization.

She joined (SMTN) as a copywriter in 2008 and quickly grew to meet the challenges set before her, receiving two promotions in less than two years. When SMTN was acquired by Vacation Innovations in 2012, she took on the role of Director of Marketing for the larger organization and continued to excel. Driven by personal ambition and dedication to her craft, Abigail was elevated to her current role in 2019 and is responsible for providing vision and leadership for all aspects of brand strategy, marketing, and communications across the Holiday Systems International and Vacation Innovations’ family of brands and websites.

During her time at Vacation Innovations, Abigail has built a world-class team of marketers focused on designing and executing impactful, integrated marketing programs that deliver results. Her focus on data and analytics has propelled the company forward and allowed it to scale and rise to the next level. She understands the importance of pursuing new initiatives and being creative, with a mindset of evaluating ROI from the onset to allow for proactive and agile decision-making.

With that emphasis on data, and in pursuit of greater efficiency for the organization, she led the company’s adoption of an attribution-based approach to digital marketing campaigns, reducing paid media spend by more than 20% within the first six months while simultaneously growing revenues year over year. This shift in strategy proved especially critical during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, as her team was able to fine-tune advertising spend to continue driving traffic and valuable leads while operating with limited resources.

Abigail also acts as a champion of the customer within the organization, focusing on the lifecycle of Vacation Innovations’ customers to deliver superior, personalized experiences. As part of the acquisition of Holiday Systems International, Abigail has spearheaded a widespread modernization effort to elevate existing HSI brands with fresh, new interfaces and enhanced technology, while also working to develop new brands on the backbone of HSI’s best-in-class technology and inventory sourcing. Beyond her talents as a gifted writer, Abigail is more importantly an excellent communicator, both with internal and external audiences. She has the technical skill to get granular with the development team while also being able to clearly translate those technical details for the executive team and the company’s board. The communication gap between marketing and IT is a notorious one, but Abigail is the perfect liaison and has facilitated an incredibly successful relationship between the two departments.

Beyond her prowess as a marketer, Abigail also truly shines when it comes to leading her team. With her experience growing within an organization, she has developed a passion for cultivating her team members that goes beyond retention and focuses on growth. Honest, humble, selfless, and loyal, Abigail redirects praise to her team while taking responsibility for challenges, never afraid to admit areas of weakness while simultaneously searching for a solution. She realizes development comes from the top down and is proud to have helped create a culture in which each employee is valued for his or her unique skillset, and where many are promoted from within. At the top of her priorities is creating a growth path for each member of the marketing team to maximize their potential. This culture encourages team members to learn more, learn on the fly, and take advantage of new opportunities, resulting in increased productivity and higher levels of job satisfaction.

Simply put, Abigail is the Best Marketing Professional in the industry, not only because of her skill and depth of knowledge but also for her leadership and passion for pursuing what’s best for the organization.