University of West Florida

Innisfree places great value on education – whether learning from one’s circumstances or through the traditional university system.

Because of its significant contribution to education in our region, Innisfree Hotels made a $250,000 pledge to the University of West Florida in February 2013. Like the MacQueens and Innisfree Hotels, UWF has a strong community focus, initiating positive change for its students and hometown.

As a result of this substantial gift, the UWF Hospitality, Recreation and Resort Management program will be renamed the MacQueen Guest Experience Management Program within the Department of Global Hospitality and Tourism Management, a special honor for a couple who build more than hotels – they build community, challenging others to do good wherever they can.

But the money the Innisfree has given to UWF is only the beginning. Hospitality is at the core of everything we do at Innisfree Hotels, and we seek to nurture the industry by educating those who will cultivate its future.

We open our doors to students of hospitality, providing real-world training in our properties along the Gulf Coast of Florida and Alabama. Working in collaboration with UWF Professor of Hospitality Dr. Xuan V. Tran, we turn our beachfront hotels into classrooms each semester. Students in marketing and revenue management are exposed to all aspects of resort operations, from front desk to food and beverage and managerial duties.

The students are tasked with creating a class project, culminating in presentations to the Innisfree executive team, who critique, share ideas and offer possible employment to interested students. One of the brightest glowing examples was a marketing project that led to the implementation of live pirate and mermaid shows at our Holiday Inn Resort.

As a result of our special partnership with the University of West Florida, we employ UWF graduates at various levels throughout Innisfree. We are proud to establish a legacy educational conduit that will strengthen tourism, the third largest economic driver in Escambia County. We hope our proven commitment to community will set an example for other area companies.