River City Six: Megan Gilligan
The Omaha Marriott Downtown (www.downtownomahamarriott.com) at the Capitol District, a Marcus Hotels & Resorts property, is set to open this month! Megan Gilligan is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Marcus Hotels & Resorts.
Tell us a little about your business.
As the newest and only full-service Marriott hotel in downtown Omaha we are the anchor of the Capitol District. The hotel is situated in a prime location with attractions in all directions, bridging previously separated areas of interest: CenturyLink Center to the east, TD Ameritrade Park and NoDo District to the north, Old Market District to the south and the highlight, the Capitol District to the west, Omaha’s first entertainment district offering unique dining experiences. Our hotel is a relaxing retreat with endless possibilities for the sophisticated traveler. As we strive to be the top hotels in Omaha, we go to great lengths to ensure our guests’ stay is as comfortable as possible. Visitors are invited to enjoy our outdoor rooftop swimming pool and extra-large fitness center, dine in at our full service restaurant, Society 1845, our bar, Burdock and Bitters, or in-house Starbucks® coffeehouse. Our 333 room hotel also offers meeting planners the opportunity to make use of over 17,500 square feet of event and meeting space.
How did you get started in the business?
My entry into the world of hoteliers started when I graduated from University of Nebraska at Omaha. I saw an article about a new hotel being built and it piqued my interest. I tracked down the author of the article, got the name and number for the person that they interviewed, and soon after that I had an interview of my own. The 15+ years that has followed has been an exciting ride.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
This is my 4th hotel open. It is really remarkable how each hotel has left an impact on my life both professionally and personally. There are few opportunities in one’s life where you can create something that will be lasting and make an impression on others. With each hotel, I feel like I have done this on varying levels. From naming meeting rooms at my first hotel, developing relationships with guests and coworkers alike, to planning and executing weddings that will last in the bride and groom’s memories for a lifetime, these moments have shaped my career to what it is today. Being able to take the canvas of a new hotel and develop it into a place with an enduring reputation for excellent service and quality is truly an achievement to be proud of.
What local non-profit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why?
I have a background in visual arts so any organization that supports arts and art education holds a special place in my heart. I also think a strong sense of community comes from urban design and development; support for parks and green space along with impactful design in a city and even rural environment is important to everyone’s lives. I seek out organizations that support such causes and while sometimes life doesn’t allow the time I wish I could dedicate to them, these causes are often top of mind in my daily activities and decisions I make both personally and professionally.
What is your favorite local restaurant?
There are too many to name. I love experiencing new restaurants and bars. Omaha has such a great foodie scene that is ever expanding; it is exciting to be a part of it.