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 April 2019...

Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.