1. What are you looking forward to the most in your new role?
Kyla Knudson: The ability to work with clients more often and more closely due to our gorgeous portfolio offerings of 400+ hotels and top notch DMC partners around the globe. Our properties are luxury, independent and small branded hotels which provide a sense of place which is exciting as attendees are seeking experiences not cookie-cutter spaces. Associations and corporations that provide this are helping to elevate their attendee experience and helping them find these options is exciting.
Helena Dechant: Sharing the great portfolio that Teneo Hospitality Group represents and getting to know all of our hotel partners and their teams to strengthen the portfolio and introducing new products to my clients.
2. How do you think past experiences have prepared you for this role?
KK: Having worked in the MICE industry for over 20 years with intercountry experience via Canada and the United States with hotels & resorts, Destination Management Organizations (DMOs)/Convention & Visitors Bureau’s(CVBs) and having partnered with DMCs over the years, I’ve been fortunate to work with so many facets of our industry. The knowledge I’ve gained has and will continue to be helpful in supporting both clients and partners alike.
HD: Working as an NSO and as a third party has shaped my client relationships to take on the role of an extension off their staff – offering suggestions on hotel properties, cities to host events and brainstorming on how to innovate. It has also prepared me to work with a multitude of clients each with different needs and decision making process.
3. How did you get into the industry?
KK: I was a corporate management trainee in Vancouver, British Columbia with Hyatt Hotels & Resorts after completing my bachelor of commerce in tourism & marketing from the University of Calgary and the rest as they say is history!
HD: As a child I ran a pretend hotel every summer while on vacation – everyone had to check in, each room had a name, the dinning room was a place for all “guests” to gather. I loved being the host and my passion for the industry grew from there… I studied hotel and restaurant management and I never looked back! I love meeting new people, sharing experiences and seeing the world.
4. What are you hoping to achieve in your new role?
KK: Teneo Hospitality Group is a relatively young company having formed in 2013 so it’s exciting to be part of a company that is poised for exponential growth with a tenured, well-respected sales team. As Teneo is expanding and developing there are so many opportunities to help position Teneo as the preeminent global group sales organization for independent and small branded hotels, resorts and destination management companies (DMCs). An opportunity to help shape our trajectory is exciting!
HD: To continue to grow strong partnerships with my clients. Offering personalized service to help us standout from the competition – we have a fantastic portfolio of hotels with good partnerships. I think the key is going back to the basics of finding customized solutions.
5. What do you enjoy most about the industry?
KK: The people! I love the fact that this industry allows us to meet so many different people and learn about so many different industries. Being based in the greater DC area for the past 15 years and working closely with the association community, I believe in the work associations do for society as their attendees are moving their industries forward with innovation – there is an association for everything after all! Serving a client one day whose attendees are at the forefront of medical innovation and the next day who’s attendees are planning flight routes is so interesting!
HD: The fantastic friendships that I have been able to build over the years – I have worked in many capacities in the industry but sales is my true passion.