Editorial Board   

Dr. Downey

James Downey

Professor, Program Coordinator MBA Hospitality & Event Management, Lynn University

James Downey began teaching at Lynn in 1994 as an associate professor in the former School of Hospitality, Tourism and Recreation Management. Prior to that, his educational positions include Department Chairman of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and he served as Dean of the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration at the University of New Haven, in New Haven, Connecticut. He also served as the Associate Dean in the College of Hospitality Management from 2002 until 2009 at Lynn.

Mr. Downey's teaching philosophy has been and continues to be predicated on sound instructional techniques that provide successful student learning outcomes. He has maintained this philosophy since he came to Lynn. Below is a chronicle of how he adapted this teaching philosophy. Mr. Downey did not choose the hospitality industry, the hospitality industry chose him. His family managed a small hotel in eastern Pennsylvania where he began as a front desk clerk at the age of 13. From that experience, he developed a love of the hospitality industry that eventually drew him into the fields of accounting and lodging development.

Mr. Downey's desire to share that passion and to help others seek a career in hospitality encouraged him to pursue a career in teaching. He believes learning is best facilitated by an instructor who balances sound theory with solid industry experience. For example, his teaching of hospitality accounting and lodging development is facilitated by his experience working for a hospitality-related public accounting firm and serving as a director of development for a hospitality management company. He actively seeks to create a student-centered classroom where students participate in directing their objectives very much where he acts as a guide-by-the-side rather than a sage on the stage.

Dr. Downey can be contacted at 561-237-7858 or jdowney@lynn.edu

Coming up in September 2020...

Hotel Group Meetings: Demand vs. Supply

It is a great time for hotel group meetings. It is expected that once again this sector will grow by 5-10% in 2020, partly due to the increasing value of in-person group meetings. Because people now spend so much time in front of their screens, face-to-face interactions have become a more treasured commodity in our modern world. Plus, the use of social media reinforces the value of engagement, discussion, conversation, and networking - all areas where group meetings shine. Despite this rosy outlook, there is a concern that demand for meetings far exceeds the supply of suitable venues and hotels. There are very few "big box" properties with 500-plus rooms and extensive conference facilities being built, and this shortage of inventory could pose a serious challenge for meeting planners. In addition to location concerns, the role of the meeting planner has also evolved significantly. Planners are no longer just meeting coordinators - they are de facto travel agents. Cultural interactions, local dining, experiential travel, and team-building activities are all now a part of their meeting mix. Plus, they have to cater to evolving tastes. Millennials are insisting on healthier venues and activities, and to meet their demands, hotels are making yoga breaks, fresh-pressed juices, plant-based diets, state-of-the-art gyms, and locally-sourced menus available. Millennials are also insisting that meeting venues practice Corporate Social Responsibility, which means upholding sustainable and ethical values; investment in the local community; health and well-being of employees; and general business practices that reflect being good citizens of the planet. Finally, there is a growing trend to merge meetings with other local events, such as music festivals, sporting events, and cultural attractions. The December Hotel Business Review will report on issues relevant to group meetings and will document what some hotels are doing to support this part of their operations.