With 15 years of experience in the hotel industry, Kate Hudson knows what it takes to create a welcoming hospitality experience for all. Her career began in 2007 as a sales coordinator at a small Bellingham Inn. After four years in that role, Hudson decided to take the next big step and opened the Hampton Inn in Federal Way, Wash.
Like most, Hudson had a goal for herself. While running the Hampton Inn taught her many things, she wanted to get back into sales. This forced her to move onto Red Lion River Inn, where she earned the sales manager position. In just seven months, she was promoted to her dream job as director of sales. Hudson stated after all those years, her arduous work has finally paid off.
Now, those who live, work and play in and around Downtown Bellevue can find Hudson at Residence Inn Seattle Bellevue/Downtown as their director of sales and marketing. Hudson and her dedicated team run 231 extended suites that feel like a home away from home. Hear more about Hudson’s most challenging moment in her career and where she loves to hang out around town.
What was the most challenging moment in your career?
Hands down, the pandemic was and still is one of the most challenging times for all of us. 2020 was going to be a very pivotal year for the hotel. We had record-breaking numbers on the books already, but then COVID-19 hit, and no one was coming into the office or traveling anymore. It wasn’t just our business that was affected, it had such an impact on our employees as well. We had to cut more than half of our staff and deal with many cancellations. It wasn’t easy, and I look forward to the day when we can get back to where we were.
What is your favorite part about being a director of sales?
If you had asked me before COVID, my answer would be the competition of being in the sales industry. I was one of those people who loved to crush goals and budgets. As I’ve continued to grow in my career, I’ve learned that I love mentoring. I love talking about hotel sales and finding the right person to hand off all my knowledge.
How does the Residence Inn Seattle Bellevue/Downtown compare to other hotels you’ve worked at?
I think the one thing that makes us stand apart is the fact that we’re an extended stay hotel. All 231 rooms have the same layout as an apartment complex, but you also get the added bonus of full housekeeping and all the amenities of a luxury hotel. I would also say the Bellevue community is unique as well. We have so many businesses like Amazon and Microsoft who have to stay in the area long term, our property is a place where they can have a home away from home while working here.
What’s your favorite part about working downtown?
I love that everyone here has the common goal of making Bellevue a suitable place to work, stay and play. Bellevue is a booming metropolis, but when you get into Bellevue and talk to the businesses, you get a small-town feel. You can casually see the mayor visiting a new coffee shop. If you don’t have people interacting with each other on that personal level, you’re not going to feel as connected to the city.
Where do you see Downtown Bellevue in 3-5 years?
I see so much growth. You can look through the windows of this hotel and see the buildings and cranes high in the sky. Right now, our hotel has various busy peaks in the summer, but I think in the future, that peak will continue through the winter too. Bellevue will bring in more businesses which will also bring in more travelers. I’m super excited to be a part of that evolution.
Where are your favorite places to dine in Downtown?
Cielo Concina Mexicana is one of my favorite places to meet up for happy hour. The outdoor dining area is incredible, the margaritas are delicious, and the chips and salsa have so much flavor.
Do you have any favorite hidden gems in Bellevue?
The nature preserve right next to our hotel is fascinating to walk through. Turtles live in the wetlands, and sometimes you can even see bunnies. It’s great for those looking for a slice of nature Downtown.
Why are Downtown partnerships so vital to your work?
I think being in the hotel industry can give people the wrong impression that we’re all just out to get each other, but we’re actually a close-knit group. We’re all trying to flourish and drive traffic back to downtown. One of our biggest supporters is Visit Bellevue. They’ve been such a massive asset for the hotels in the area and making us more confident.
What opportunities do you see for the Inn and yourself?
I hope to gain my sales and staff back. I also want to train my replacement, not because I foresee myself going somewhere else but because that’s what I love doing. I also want to grow our business in other ways, like booking more in-person events. Our hotel has over 2000 square feet of space, perfect for all types of affairs.
Overall, I want to continue finding ways to bring business travelers back and give our guests the best hotel experience possible.
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Residence Inn by Marriott 605 114th Ave SE Bellevue, WA 98004