These interviews are part of a series that highlights new hires within the industry. Have you recently started a new role or do you know someone who has? Submit your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
May Lilley was recently named the chief marketing officer for Under Canvas.
1. What are you looking forward to most in your new role?
Assuming a seat on the executive team allows me the the opportunity to shape the trajectory of the business more broadly, beyond marketing and communications. Under Canvas is in such an exciting period of growth and more relevant than ever before, with outdoor hospitality, sustainably conscious and leisure travel brands leading the way in today’s new environment.
2. How do you think past experiences have prepared you for this role?
My experience at Vail Resorts prepared me very well for this role. When I started there, it was a fraction of the size that it is now, so I was privy to – and oversaw – a lot of growth, application of best practices and equally learned how to navigate growing pains. I am been able to apply the sophistication of data-driven marketing with best-in-class global communications to a growing brand, with a truly, multi-channel approach. Bringing a finessed skillset in MarComm’s with application to upscale, outdoor hospitality, while embracing a sometimes scrappy yet strategic approach that amounts to being an active problem solver in a fast-paced business has made for a natural fit.
3. How did you get into this industry?
I’ve always married my personal passions and values with my career. Traveling, enjoying upscale hospitality and participating in sports and outdoor adventures are what I choose to enjoy in both my personal and professional time. When the opportunity came about to shape the brand and drive revenue growth for the leading glamping company in the country, it was a natural evolution from my background in the ski industry. Under Canvas was already capitalizing on upward momentum coming into 2020 but the demand for inherently spatially distanced accommodations within proximity of national parks, driven by the pandemic, has only further accelerated our growth.
4. What are you hoping to achieve in your new role?
We are quickly establishing oureslvess as a business and brand to watch. All seven of our locations were recently awarded by Conde Nast Traveler as the top resorts in the US in their highly celebrated Reader’s Choice Awards; a testament to the amazing experience we provide to our guests. We are also making significant strides in growing our social community, which is a wonderful way for people to trip plan and inspire others to connect with nature and explore the national parks. With two new locations opening in 2021 and several more in the pipeline, we have a lot more runway. Ultimately I would like to build a brand that is a household name; synonymous with upscale, outdoor hospitality at its best.
5. What do you enjoy most about the industry?
Being immersed in nature can have the most profoundly moving effect on people. Being able to impact that at scale and introduce guests who may otherwise have not traveled in that way, while in a fun and comfortable environment, is really an amazing privilege. We’re big believers too that by getting more people outside, we inspire others to protect and preserve the most precious resource we have – the great outdoors. I think that after spending a night in a stargazer tent at either of our new locations, be it waterfront at Acadia or perched on a canyon rim at Lake Powell-Grand Staircase, you’ll understand why.