Designer Profile: Park Hotels & Resorts' Christina Flannery

Christina Flannery, director of design at lodging real estate investment trust Park Hotels & Resorts, is a member of the advisory board for Hotec Design, an annual conference presented by Questex Hospitality, the parent company of Hotel Management Magazine. At the conference, buyers like Flannery meet one-on-one with hospitality-focused suppliers to learn about new products and services and to keep up to date on emerging trends.

A History of Design 

Flannery has been working in design since she interned for architect Lisa Fitzpatrick while attending James Madison University. Fitzpatrick, in turn, put Flannery in touch with the Becker Morgan Group in Salisbury, Md., which was getting ready to launch its interior design program. By the time she graduated with her BFA, she had a job lined up as an interior designer at Becker Morgan. 

As a nascent designer, Flannery learned about creating spaces for educational venues, hospitals, restaurants and residences before the company was tapped to design the Hilton Ocean City (Md.) Oceanfront Suites. “I was able to work on that ground-up construction, doing the full interiors on the whole hotel,” she recalled. Meeting with vendors and handling cost estimates to make sure the project stayed under budget, she found a love for hospitality design. 

Christina Flannery

Looking to stay closer to family in the greater Washington, D.C. area, Flannery took a temporary position with Marriott International in Bethesda, Md., that soon became permanent. Within 18 months she was the senior interior designer, working on renovations for limited-service brands. “The product and brand teams had always designed specifications for new construction,” she said. Renovations, on the other hand, are more of a surprise. “You never know what you're really going to get, whether the building was truly designed originally as the brand that it was supposed to be or if it was a conversion.” She worked with the owners to swap out products and use Marriott’s vendor resource base to make tweaks for some of the projects that didn't necessarily fit into the prototype. “I loved doing that.” 

After nearly four years with Marriott, Flannery stepped away from hospitality, overseeing interior design for AvalonBay Communities, an apartment-focused REIT in Arlington, Va. “That was another opportunity for me to engage with suppliers and vendors as we built packages for plumbing and flooring,” she said. She worked with the REIT’s procurement teams to make sure the apartments were getting best pricing on materials and brought on third-party design firms to give the spaces a hotel-like atmosphere.  

Back to Hotels

In late 2016, Flannery returned to the hospitality sphere at Park Hotels & Resorts, overseeing the design side of all of the REIT's projects and working with vendors and suppliers. After a two-year pandemic-driven pause, she is handling large-scale renovations and continuing to build a network for vendors. 

“The vendor network is always something that really is motivating and exciting and collaborative,” Flannery said, “and that's why I'm really excited to be part of the Hotec advisory board—because it's a really special part of my experience in dealing with the vendors, the manufacturers [and] the designers. It's a great network of collaboration and brainstorming for that next project—or a current project that might be a challenge.”    

Flannery said she appreciates the networking that goes on at conferences like Hotec. “It's hard because in our day-to-day [lives], there just is not enough time for everyone,” she said. “A dedicated event to be able to sit down and have those serious conversations … with a lot of opportunities to brainstorm and make those connections is so refreshing because it's very hard to block out half an hour [to] call with a vendor while your brain is really focused on projects. To be able to clear your plate and [spend] a couple of days focusing on vendors and what they bring to the table and how you can utilize them better and what the industry may be lacking and where we can build better relationships and bring on more resources—I think that’s a really powerful event.” 

The 2022 Hotec Design conference will take place June 20–23 at the Breakers Palm Beach in Florida. Registration is open for both buyers and suppliers.