Editorial Board   

Ms. Williams-Knight

Emily Williams-Knight

President, Kendall College

Emily Williams Knight was named president of Kendall College by the board of directors in January 2012. Prior to that, Ms. Knight had served as a vice president at Laureate Education, Inc., where she was responsible for globally expanding access to the company's hospitality management, culinary arts, and art and design programs. Prior to joining Laureate she was CEO of New England University LLC, where she was responsible for expanding marketing and strategic initiatives as well as growth into Latin America for the New England College of Business and Finance. Ms. Knight worked previously with Pearson Education for ten years. She began her work with Pearson as a sales representative, moved into various management positions, and ultimately served as vice president of marketing and sales strategies for Pearson Teacher Education and Development. As Vice President of Sales and Marketing she led strategic market planning and analysis for a two hundred million dollar business, and was responsible for the creation of marketing and sales strategies in a new combined division that encompassed higher education and K12 teacher professional development. Ms. Knight began teaching management and business courses at Montgomery Community College in Pennsylvania in 1998. She continued in her role as an adjunct instructor at the college for the first three years she worked with Pearson. Earlier, while working toward her master's degree, Ms. Knight also worked as an executive meeting manager with Marriott Four Star Resort Hotels in Key West, Florida. Ms. Knight graduated from Troy University with her Master's of Science in Management. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Administration from Boston University, where she was an academic trustee scholar, and an Associate's Degree in Hospitality Administration from Newbury College where she was a presidential scholar, captain of the women's basketball team, and graduated first in her class. She received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Newbury College in 2012.

Ms. Williams-Knight can be contacted at emily.knight@kendall.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.