Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Denihan

Chrissy Denihan

Chief Comfort Officer, Affinia Hotels

Chrissy Denihan, founder Benjamin “Bud” Denihan's granddaughter, assumed the role of Chief Comfort Officer (CCO) for Affinia Hotels in October 2011. As CCO, Ms. Denihan serves as the leader of Tender Loving Comfort (TLC), a new movement rooted in deep customer service and reading and responding to guests' body language. Ms. Denihan, who is also brand integration manager for Affinia Hotels' parent company Denihan Hospitality Group, joined the company in 2007. She has worked in every department from housekeeping to the front desk, and was intimately involved in the development of TLC from the beginning. As the CCO position developed, it became clear to the executive team that Ms. Denihan was a perfect fit for the job. In her new role, Ms. Denihan oversees a TLC Crew at each hotel and liaises with guests and hotel staff on everything related to comfort, including collecting guest feedback on initiatives and hotel programming. Additionally, she sources unique items to be offered brand wide, and serves as the curator of comfy content on the social networks. Her contagious smile and warm personality, paired with her hands-on experience in the hotel industry, make her popular with hotel staff. She motivates and inspires the TLC crew to find out what guests want and need, and uses that information to make their experience even more enjoyable. Ms. Denihan is a graduate of Boston College with a bachelor's degree in human development and sociology. She volunteers with Operation Smile and is a member of the Young Alumnae Organization of Sacred Heart School in Manhattan.

Ms. Denihan can be contacted at 212-751-5710 or cdenihan@affinia.com

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.