Ken Lyons has been working in the incentive travel industry for over 10 years working within both the destination management and luxury hotels markets in Ireland. His CV includes luxury brands such as The Ritz-Carlton brand, The Marker Hotel (of which he was part of the pre-opening team) and The Westbury Hotel to name a few. Ken has a wealth of experience and has seen how the industry has changed and developed over the years. Having held the role of SITE president in 2017, Ken is passionate about the incentive travel industry and is delighted to be working with a number of Ovation offices across Europe. We sat down with Ken to ask him about his role and to learn a little more about the man himself….
Give us an insight into your work life…..
How did you get into the business/the role you’re in today?
Over the last 12 years, I had been working in the DMC and luxury hotel space with a focus on the North American MICE market. When working as a Director of Sales in a luxury hotel, I realized that although I wanted to continue my career in the global MICE industry, I wanted to do something different with it. As a result, in 2016, I opened up a dynamic sales and marketing representation agency called KL Communications.
Walk us through your “typical” day
What I love most about my current role is that no two days are the same. As I am based in Dublin, Ireland, I use my local daytime to catch up with my European based buyers and suppliers, work on marketing for my agency, review sales activities and pipelines and dedicate time to online social media activity. Once North America wakes up, I check-in with clients on existing inquiries, to ensure the work being done for them by my partners is to the highest standards and to see how else I can assist them in their professional lives. I see my agency as being a strategic resource to MICE buyers when sourcing international destinations.
What have you learnt about tourism in Ireland in the past ten years?
It is always evolving. What may work one day, could be irrelevant the next. We can never sit comfortably as there a large number of factors outside of our control that can impact on our industry both positively and negatively. We must continually reinvent ourselves to ensure we remain market relevant.
What are the challenges facing hoteliers today?
As hotel prices rise, guest expectations are higher so the experience delivered to each and every guest has to be consistent, personal and memorable (for the right reasons!). Guests expect the hotel to play an integral role in their travel experience and want the hotel to see them as individuals with specific needs as opposed to adopting a one size fits all approach to the guest experience.
What is your ideal day off in Ireland?
The day starts with a lie in bed followed by a run through Dublin’s Docklands and along Sandymount Strand. Picking an outdoor table for a long lazy lunch (Le Gueleton Restaurant being a personal favourite) and enjoying some people watching is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. A browse through the shops late afternoon, always including a stop in The Powerscourt Towncentre, followed by a chilled out pint of craft beer in The Gasworks (my local pub) with some tasty pub grub is my idea of an ideal chilled out day off in Dublin.
Now a bit more about you
Where is your favourite holiday spot in Ireland?
Recently fell in love with the Hook Peninsula in County Wexford.
What is Ireland’s best-kept secret/hidden gem?
Donegal is not so hidden anymore but I must admit that the Slieve League Cliffs are breath-taking and one of my favourite locations to visit.
Other than Ireland, what is your favourite holiday destination?
Spain, Spain and more Spain! Love the diversity of the country, its rich food culture and the overall vibe found throughout the country.
TV series you are hooked on?
I Know Who You Are (Sé quién eres in Spanish) was a gripping drama set in Barcelona and I loved it.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I always thought I would be an educator and at one point considered studying English and Religion in Dublin.
Finally, what is the number one thing that makes you proud of Ireland?
Even though the country has changed a lot over time, I really think the Irish people care for each other and never take themselves too seriously and for me, that is something to be proud of.
Thank you for letting us know a bit about you and your professional life, Ken. We wish you all the best!