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 2019...

Hotel Group Meetings: Uncommon Destinations

The last few years have been good to the Hotel Group Meetings industry and that trend is expected to continue into 2019. Planners are brimming with confidence due to an expanding economy and increased job creation, which typically results in a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are trying to outdo themselves to satisfy the high expectations of their clients. One notable trend is to integrate unusual settings into the meeting experience, hosting groups at local zoos, aquariums, museums, event centers, or other outdoor facilities. The goal is to embrace uncommon destinations, rather than a typical hotel conference room, so that meetings can be memorable, unique and stimulating. This is also part of another trend which is to support all things local - from hosting events at landmark city venues; to catering through local restaurants, food trucks and microbreweries; to hosting off-site excursions like agri-tours, athletic events or scenic 5k routes. However, though the setting might be spectacular, there are still some bedrock components that must be provided to ensure a successful meeting. Free, high-speed Wi-Fi is still one of the most requested services. Planners have to make sure that a comprehensive communication infrastructure is in place so clients can easily connect - and stay connected - to the network throughout the entire meeting experience. Also, technology tools can be used to streamline the booking, registration, and check-in process, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) materials can be utilized to ensure seamless access to conference events. There are also numerous software tools that encourage audience participation, as well as integrating polls, Q&A, surveys and games into speakers' presentations. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.