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 June 2018...

Sales & Marketing: Opinions Matter

Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors manage a complex mix of strategies to attract and convert customers into guests. Part of their expertise includes an awareness of customer behavior during the reservation process, so they can make sure their hotel is favorably positioned. One such trend is the growing popularity of travel review sites. According to one recent survey, 61% of prospective customers consult online reviews in order to validate information about the hotel before making a purchasing decision. Another survey found that the average hotel customer reads between 6-12 reviews across 4-10 properties before making a final decision on where to stay. Similarly, other studies have shown that consumer reviews are a more trusted source of information for prospective customers than other kinds of marketing messaging. In fact, reviews are often considered to be as influential as price regarding whether a customer decides to complete a purchase or not. Plus, travel sites with the most reviews - including recent reviews from satisfied customers and thoughtful responses from staff - were also found to be the most appealing. So having positive reviews on a travel website is essential and can help to increase a hotel's conversion rates dramatically. Of course, there are all kinds of additional marketing strategies for sales and marketing directors to consider - the importance of video and the emergence of live streaming; the implementation of voice search; the proliferation of travel bots; and the development of Instagram as an e-commerce platform. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.