“Insight; New York Hospitality Professionals”, a weekly interview series with professionals from the MICE industry in New York.
These are uncertain times for our industry – yet we believe that now is the moment to bring our industry closer together by strengthening our ties and relationships on a more human level. It is for this reason that Shackman Associates is undertaking a series of interviews with other New York hospitality professionals to learn how they are managing during this time.
In today’s episode; New York Hospitality Professionals Karen Shackman, President and CEO of Shackman Associates interviews Victoria Batten, Regional Director of Sales & Marketing, North America, Director of Sales & Marketing, The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue
Karen: Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about yourself and your role in the company.
Victoria: I’ve been with Langham Hospitality Group for five years; first at the brand’s flagship, The Langham, London, then re-locating to New York City in March 2019 to serve in a dual role as Regional Director of Sales & Marketing overseeing all of the sales and marketing efforts for our hotels in North America; and Director of Sales & Marketing for The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue. With more than 20 years’ experience in luxury hotels, including eight years with Dorchester Collection and overseeing sales efforts for three hotel openings, I am passionate about the group market segment and enjoy the challenge of selling both destinations and individual hotels. My goal is to create greater synergy across the North American region to ensure a consistent customer journey while allowing each hotel to play to its individual strengths.
Karen: You certainly have an impressive resume in the luxury hotel market, and your dual sales and marketing roles for the brand, since relocating to New York, is crucial, particularly during this time. How and where have you spent the last few months?
Victoria: I have been living and working from our family apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn, since mid-March alongside my daughters’ home schooling efforts but we’ve managed to keep to a pretty disciplined routine and fortunately my girls are as driven and motivated as I am (most of the time)! Flash back to a year ago when I first re-located from London and I was living alone in one of The Langham, New York’s spacious suites with my own kitchen and stunning views to the Empire State Building. While I am grateful to have been with my family during this time, I do miss those more luxurious surroundings.
Karen: We know those luxury accommodations, spacious suites and those iconic view really well - and one can get used to them very easily. But it seems your life is much fuller now having your family with you. How have you been managing your professional situation since March?
Victoria: From the outset of the crisis, I have been focused on doing the very best we can every week given the circumstances. The Langham, New York has remained open throughout this time and my team has remained intent on capturing the limited demand for luxury accommodation, engaging with our clients and finding new future clients. Unlike many other hotels, we kept a small sales team in play so we have been front and center with our clients, which stands us in good stead for the recovery. We have also taken the time to make internal improvements to aid efficiency moving forward.
Karen: That is good to know. We too have tried to keep our team intact as much as possible - trying to connect with clients and partners and remain relevant and active as we move through this crisis. It is so important that clients know that New York and we, the hospitality partners are here - ready and waiting!
Since you recently relocated to New York, what are your thoughts in regard to remaining in the US?
Victoria: The big question for me, and my family, is whether we decide to continue our American Adventure or whether we return back home to the UK… that’s a decision we’ll have to make in the next five years due to schooling logistics! At the moment we’re looking forward to exploring what New York State has to offer for our staycation and then getting back to enjoying life in NYC.
Karen: I am so pleased you are looking to explore beyond the boundaries of the city as well. New York State has some amazing locations worth visiting. In fact, we often offer our clients day