PARSIPPANY, NJ – Cendant officially named Thomas Higgins the new President and CEO of Days Inn Worldwide as a replacement for Joe Kane, who was promoted to Hotel Division Group President and CEO when the company restructured its management in November.
“I’ve known Joe Kane for 25 years,” said Higgins. “We started at La Quinta Inns on the same day in 1978. I heard he got promoted, and then I got a call. I was familiar with the quality of Days Inns, and that was very attractive to me.”
Prior to his appointment, Higgins was Chief People Officer for Sun Country Airlines, where he was responsible for operational issues ranging from catering to legal responsibilities.
Previously, Higgins had spent four years as Senior Vice President for San Antonio-based La Quinta Inns, and is credited with improving property management, marketing and pricing strategies, which grew company revenues by $200 million. He also coordinated $300 million in renovations for more than 225 LaQuinta Inns.
A 30-year hospitality veteran, Higgins said that working with people is what initially drew him to the business, and attributes his success to the right combination of the right kind of people.
“My personality is geared toward people interaction; I am people oriented, and I like immediate feedback,” said Higgins. “You put together a quality team and you are guaranteed success.”
Beginning his career as Director of Recruiting for Steak and Ale Restaurants, Higgins has held a wide range of positions in the travel, hotel and restaurant industries. After leaving La Quinta, he was Vice President of Resources for Motel 6 in Dallas from 1988 to 1992. He then went on to become Director of Employment for General Mills Restaurants in Orlando, and was recently President and CEO of DiamondFire Food Systems, a San Antonio-based restaurant and video production company.
Higgins said that his plans for Days Inns involve growth in the Northwestern and Northeastern regions, as well as an international focus.
“Days Inn is under-represented in certain parts of the country, and, although there is room for growth all across the board, we are definitely concentrating on certain areas,” said Higgins. “Worldwide is what we are and what we will continue to be.”