Industry Update
External Article22 February 2021

5 Things to Know About HSMAI Lifetime Honoree Mary Gostelow

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Spend just a half-hour talking to Mary Gostelow and you'll come to understand how she's lived the life and built the career she has as a globe-trotting luxury-travel guru. She has a spirit of infectious curiosity, a need to share her latest discovery — and a lot of energy. During a recent interview with HSMAI, she answered questions while sitting at her desk and performing exercises using a therapeutic band. "Excuse me," she said cheerfully while extending her leg. "I always multitask, so I'm stretching my limbs."


Stretching is something the British-born Gostelow is used to. Early in her career, she worked for The Daily Telegraph in London, but she only began focusing on travel and hospitality when she was living in Beirut, where her husband was teaching school. Today, she produces The Gostelow Report, a monthly market intelligence briefing on high-end travel; runs Girlahead, an online travelogue; contributes to a variety of industry publications; and — when there isn't a pandemic happening — is on the road 300 days a year

Next month, she'll receive HSMAI's Winthrop W. Grice Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Public Relations during the virtual Adrian Awards Gala. "It makes me seem as though I'm dying," Gostelow said with a laugh. "I said to my husband, 'I don't need any eulogies now, because I'm going to be getting them.'" She added: "I am just extremely honored, and I thank all those people who have helped and do help supporting what I'm trying to do, which is very simple: It's making the world a better place for all the stakeholders that I can reach."

Here are five things we learned during our interview with Gostelow — as a tribute rather than a eulogy:

1. Travel and hospitality found her. "We were living in the Middle East, and somebody found out that I'd been on my school newspaper in [high school] and said, 'Oh, you must edit a magazine for my hotel, and then for all my hotels in the area.' That led me into hotel mystery shopping, which I did for a few years, and as I traveled the world mystery-shopping, I had to have a reason to be in places like Kabul, in Afghanistan, and in various places in Nicaragua before anybody went to Nicaragua. I started writing articles and I built up a following of people who actually read what I wrote, which was extraordinary to me."

Read the full article at The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI)

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