Melanie Thompson

Melanie Thompson is the General Manager for the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown/Haymarket. She has several years of experience in bank management and over 7 years of Hilton Garden Inn experience. After taking a break from banking to start a family she joined Hilton Garden Inn in Perrysburg, Ohio as a part time night auditor. After a year of balancing the day and working overnight, she took a position as a front desk agent.  

She joined the Lincoln Hotel Group team shortly after the Grand Opening of Hilton Garden Inn in 2013 as Sales Coordinator. She has worked as Bookkeeper, Front Office Manager and General Manager. Her knowledge of Hilton programs and products is great and loves learning new and different ways to honor every guest.

For many years Melanie has volunteered through several local clubs and charities, holding the Treasurer position on two PTO boards, Chairperson of Philanthropy committee and Chairperson of Fundraising. Melanie is focused on her family, loves watching basketball and interior design. 

Emily Gifford

EMILY GIFFORD is the Director of Sales, and a part of the opening team, for the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown/Haymarket. Emily is responsible for proactively creating and implementing strategies to enhance profitability and revenue generation for the hotel as well as developing relationships with clients and promoting guest satisfaction.

With over 25 years of experience in Sales and Marketing management, 15 of those years in management positions in the hospitality industry, Emily possesses the unique ability to quickly identify key demand generators in a variety of markets and prides herself on building solid client relationships. In addition to opening the Hilton Garden Inn she opened the Staybridge Suites Northeast and the Comfort Suites East, both located in Lincoln. Prior to working for Lincoln Hotel Group Management Company, Emily was the Director of Sales for the Hilton Garden Inn Las Colinas/Dallas, Texas; Business Travel Manager for the Adams Mark Hotel, Dallas, Texas; and Director of Sales for the Wyndham Las Colinas/Dallas, Texas.

Emily is a member of LIBA and The Lincoln Haymarket Development Corporation/Board of Directors. She has served as an Ambassador for the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and a member of Meeting Planners International and Business Networking International.

Emily is dedicated to her family and friends and loves being back in Nebraska. Her passions are traveling, music, and spending time with family.

Donna Baker

DONNA BAKER joined the Lincoln Hotel Group in the Summer of 2014 as the Food and Beverage Director at our Hilton Garden Inn Haymarket.  Donna has a vast Food and Beverage background working in cities down the coast of California such as San Francisco, Monterey/ Carmel, San Diego, and then most notably abroad in Paris, France before settling with her husband in Lincoln.  She has experience in the Restaurant, Catering and Retail side of the business but also, extensive wine and spirits pairing and presentation expertise. Donna has had the privilege of learning from renowned Chef Roy Yamaguchi during her 2 year tenure at Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Restaurant in downtown San Diego.  Donna spent her first 4 years in Lincoln at Venue Restaurant and Lounge as the Assistant General Manager; assisting in every aspect of the operation.

On a personal note Donna is a passionate foodie, who spends hours perusing restaurant menus and cooking websites. She loves to cook, her morning coffee, reading, and spending her free time with her husband Tom and her sister Christy.  

Lucas Arias

LUCAS ARIAS serves as the General Manager of the Staybridge Suites Lincoln Northeast. He is new to Lincoln Hotel Group, but not to hospitality. With 11 years of experience in restaurants and hotels with positions ranging from serving and cooking to being a General Manager and Director of Sales. In 2013, the hotel he managed won "The Best Place to Work," in the small business category in a Lincoln Journal Star contest.

In his free time Lucas likes to play sports, workout, ice fish, and is a diehard Chicago Cubs fan. 

Dominic Arellano

DOMINIC ARELLANO is the General Manger for the Fairfield Inn & Suites, by Marriott, Lincoln Southeast, which was recently awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2017.  Dom is a customer-centric, team oriented manager with professional experience working in many aspects of the hospitality industry.

With over 15 years of experience in sales and marketing, food and beverage, and operational management, Dom offers leadership within many roles.  He started out as a Front Desk Agent at the Embassy Suites Kansas City Country Club Plaza, where he attended school at the University of Missouri – Kansas City.  After moving home to Omaha accepted a position as Sales Coordinator for Brandeis Catering, the largest caterer in the city.  This position led him to becoming the Outlets Manager for the Crowne Plaza Hotel – Omaha, where he was able to expand and hone his skills and knowledge of the food and beverage side of the industry.  He moved on to become the Group Sales Manager for the DoubleTree Guest Suites in Omaha and eventually transferred to Lincoln.  He served as the Director of Sales for the Country Inn & Suites, by Carlson, and was eventually promoted to General Manager.  He joined Lincoln Hotel Group to serve as the General Manager of their latest venture, Fairfield Inn & Suites, by Marriott, Lincoln Southeast, which opened their doors in March 2016.

Dominic has served as the President of the Lincoln Lodging Association and has volunteered for the Lincoln Marathon for the past six years.  He regularly represents the Lincoln Convention and Visitor’s Bureau as an Ambassador to Nebraska High School Athletic Teams that compete in Lincoln for Championship Finals including Girls and Boys State Basketball and Volleyball.

In his free time Dom enjoys playing golf, tennis, pickle ball and cheering for the Huskers.  He likes traveling, cooking, and has studied and played piano for over 30 years.

Kaoru Scarlett

Kaoru Scarlett is the General Manager for the Hampton Inn Lincoln Airport.  She has over 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Kaoru has held various positions in the hospitality business.  She has been a front desk agent, a front desk supervisor, an Accounting and Human Resources manager, and an Assistant General Manager.  In August 2017, Kaoru left Omaha, after 19 years, for the position in Lincoln and joined Lincoln Hotel Group.

Kaoru was born and raised in Kurashiki City, Okayama prefecture, Japan.  

Her parents owned and ran a coffee shop in her hometown for nearly 40 years.  At age 5, Kaoru was already involved helping her parents in the family’s coffee shop. 

 After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Communication from Sanyo Gakuen University in Japan, Kaoru came to Omaha to attend the Intensive Language program at UNO.  Kaoru then studied and completed an associate degree in Computer Networking.  

Kaoru enjoys researching recipes and cooking at home with her husband.   



Lincoln Hotel Group
9240 Andermatt Dr Ste 1
Lincoln, NE 68526

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