ORLANDO, Fla. (January 23, 2019) – AAA, North America’s largest motorist and leisure travel organization, today announced that travel industry leader and trail-blazer Paula Twidale has been named vice president of AAA Travel effective February 4, 2019. She replaces Bill Sutherland, who retired in December after more than 21 years with the organization.
Twidale brings more than 35 years of distinguished travel industry experience to AAA Travel, most recently serving as executive vice president of Collette Vacations as well as the first female board chair of United States Tour Operators Association, a nonprofit professional association that serves as the unified voice of the tour operator industry, protecting consumer interests. In addition, she has been nominated five times as one of the most powerful women in travel by Travel Agent Magazine.
“AAA Travel has a strong reputation among its members and the traveling public as the go-to travel expert. I am honored to join an organization with the respected history and brand reputation of AAA,” said Paula Twidale. “Travel provides a great opportunity to build member engagement through the offering of differentiated benefits and personalized services, which members have grown to expect from the AAA brand. I look forward to working collaboratively with the AAA teams and industry partners to promote brand and service excellence to create members for life.”
As AAA Travel’s vice president, Twidale will provide leadership and strategic direction for all of the association’s travel services. She will create and manage strategic alliances, maximizing relationships with preferred suppliers in an effort to increase member benefits. Additionally, her responsibilities include guiding the development of innovative technology solutions to support AAA clubs in the delivery of differentiated travel products and services to members.
“Paula brings to AAA vast experience as a visionary leader in travel. I’m confident that she will serve our organization well, building and expanding upon the trust our members have placed in us for their travel needs,” said Marshall Doney, president and CEO of AAA. “I look forward to working with her as we bring the federation to the next level of providing our nearly 60 million members one-of-a-kind travel experiences and vacation memories that will last a lifetime.”
During her 27-year tenure with Collette Vacations, the 100-year-old tour operator, Twidale developed and executed innovative, differentiated growth strategies, and led a negotiations team across the United States, Canada and the UK. She also served as executive spokesperson for the organization.
Twidale holds a Bachelor of Arts from Rhode Island College. Additionally, she has completed several executive education programs (including Strategy & Innovation and Executive Leadership) at Harvard Business Continuing Education and MIT Sloan.
AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 35 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.