Editorial Board   

Ms. Willis

Kalen Willis

Senior Interior Designer, Hatchett Hospitality

At Hatchett Hospitality, Kalen Willis specializes in interior design for the hotel industry, with responsibility for project design, pricing, and management. She works with franchisers and franchisees on a wide variety of hotel brands, styles, and themes - from economy to luxury, from resort to business conference, and from traditional to modern. Her approach to the design of a project is driven by the target audience and by the end-use of the space. She believes that beautiful surroundings enhance our state of mind and enrich our lives. Typically, Ms. Willis finds a signature piece that makes a statement and then builds around it - but she always remains flexible in her philosophy and her strategy because her only rule for design is that there are no rules. Away from the office, Ms. Willis volunteers with a variety of groups including Relay for Life, Habitat for Humanity, animal shelters, and after school programs for children with special needs. Whether on the job or in the community, Kalen Willis lives her belief that it's a blessing to have the opportunity to make someone else's day a little bit better. A native of Carrollton, Texas, Ms. Willis earned a bachelor of interior design degree at Texas Tech University in Lubbock and is an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). She was a NEWH (The Network of the Hospitality Industry) scholarship award winner and is now a member this group.

Ms. Willis can be contacted at 866-783-5980 or kalen.willis@hatchetthospitality.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.