TIG Global leaders Fred Malek and Trip Schneck have been named winners of the Hospitality Innovator Award, presented annually by the Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship at Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration. The award recognizes entrepreneurs who have created and built distinctly successful ventures that provide extraordinary value in the hospitality field. Malek and Schneck will receive the honor at the school's annual awards dinner to be held on June 2, 2009, at the Marriott Marquis in New York.

Malek and Schneck co-founded and lead TIG Global, the leading interactive marketing company for hospitality and travel. Since its launch in 2001, TIG has grown to serve an extensive portfolio of hotels, resorts and destination marketing organizations worldwide. Over the past year, the firm drove over $700 million in online revenue to its clients and received over 25 awards globally for excellence in web design and web marketing, including 12 Adrian Awards from the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI). The Adrian Awards recognize the top international hospitality and travel websites and interactive marketing HSMAI also previously recognized TIG Global's work with its e-Marketer of the Year Award.

"Cornell is delighted to recognize Fred and Trip for their innovative thinking and dynamic approach to using the Internet to accelerate hotel valuations and destination tourism," said Tom Ward '81, managing director of the Pillsbury Institute. "They were among the first to see and harness the full power of the Internet within the hospitality industry. Under their lead, TIG Global has combined industry knowledge and e-business expertise to become a world leader in helping firms maximize the online channel."

Malek serves as CEO of TIG Global, which is based in Chevy Chase, Md., and also operates an office in London. Prior to founding the firm with Schneck, Malek served as vice president of acquisitions and new business development at Thayer Lodging Group, a private hotel ownership group. At Thayer he directed the company's new business ventures, strategic developments, operations, and Internet distribution strategies, helping to add $1 billion to the firm's portfolio valuation. Earlier, Malek worked for Bank of America and for Nomura Capital. He also served in the U.S. Military, including a tour of duty in the Navy Special Forces and a combat mission in Desert Storm.

Schneck serves as president of TIG Global. Earlier he was vice president of asset management and strategy at Thayer Lodging Group, where he oversaw distribution strategies, revenue management, sales, marketing, and business-development initiatives. He also managed the Thayer Lodging Group portfolio, made up of 23 hotels with a market value exceeding $2 billion.

Prior to joining Thayer Lodging Group, Schneck served as operations director for several hotels and as a consultant working with large pension funds to improve hotel investment operations.

The awards event will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:30 p.m. Event sponsors are Banfi's Vintners, HotelWorld Network, Kiwi Collection, Philips Hospitality, Nobu Restaurants, and Thayer Lodging. For more details about the event and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Joe Strodel, Cornell's director of corporate and foundation affairs, at [email protected] or at 607.255.4646.

About The Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship | The institute advances the study and practice of entrepreneurship in the hospitality industry. Through our network of alumni, faculty, industry leaders, and entrepreneurs, we give students the knowledge and skills they need to successfully pursue entrepreneurial endeavors. To learn more about the institute, visit: www.ihe.cornell.edu, or contact Tom Ward, managing director, Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship at 607.255.1217 or via email at [email protected].

Lauren Benfante