Courtyard Marriott Long Beach Airport appointed Kenya Bannister as GM of the 159-room Long Beach, Calif., hotel. Bannister was the first employee on the hotel’s opening team in March 2013 and originally served as the hotel’s director of sales. In her new role as GM, Bannister manages the hotel’s day-to-day operations and a team of 51 employees.
Bannister brings more than two decades of experience in the hospitality industry to the Courtyard Marriott Long Beach Airport team and Kokua Hospitality, the hotel’s independent management company based out of San Francisco. She officially joined Kokua Hospitality in October 2015 when the company assumed management of the hotel, and represents just one of many female leaders within Kokua’s executive team and portfolio of hotels.
Prior to Bannister's tenure at the property, she served in positions ranging from front desk clerk and to director of sales and marketing across various hotel brands. Her time spent at hotels such as the Belamar Hotel Manhattan Beach, DoubleTree by Hilton LAX/El Segundo and Residence Inn Orange armed Bannister with experience in diverse hotel sectors, including limited service, select service, full service and boutique hotels.
“Kenya is a dedicated and results-driven leader who knows this hotel better than anyone,” Kirk Pederson, president of Kokua Hospitality, said in a statement. “We are excited to have her leading the team and look forward to the continued success of the property under her direction.”
Bannister is a Long Beach, California native and studied communications at Long Beach City College. A role model for her team, Bannister regularly volunteers at the Long Beach Rescue Mission, WomenShelter of Long Beach and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She is an activist in the local tourism community and serves on the local convention and visitor’s bureau board of directors.