At our Market Outlook and Opportunities for Los Angeles luncheon we will hear from Wendy Kheel, VP of Tourism Insights at LATCB, Jorge Azpeitia, Director of Strategic Development at DKN Hotels, and Kelly Popp, Senior Director of Business America West at SHR and learn about the current status of our L.A. market and what the future looks like for our dynamic city!
Wendy Kheel joined the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board almost eight years ago as Vice President, Tourism Insights. She is charged with overseeing all tourism and hospitality related research and data analysis enabling the organization and its members to formulate well-informed marketing and sales plans and make fact-based business decisions.
Prior to her current position, she was Director, Consumer Insights at Universal Studios Hollywood for the 12 years where she managed an internal consumer research department that designed, executed and analyzed research influencing the strategic, operational, and marketing objectives for the theme park. She was Director of Market Research at Walt Disney Imagineering for nine years and Senior Manager at two hospitality-industry consulting firms: Laventhol & Horwath in Los Angeles and PKF Consulting (acquired by CBRE) in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.
She is a former board member of the Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) and is a member of research advisory boards for Visit California, U.S. Travel, and BrandUSA.
She has a Masters of Hotel Administration from Cornell University, a MBA from the University of Miami, and a Bachelor of Speech from Northwestern University.
She is a dog-lover with two rescued greyhounds and a world traveler who has visited 45 countries so far with a bucket list of at least 20 more.
Jorge began his hospitality career as a night auditor, and his experience now spans 20+ years and countless operations and sales roles with Hilton, Marriott, Starwood, IHG, and independent hotels.
His innovative leadership style has been instrumental in ensuring the success of every team he has worked with. Jorge is currently the Director of Strategic Development at DKN Hotels and is responsible for driving DKN’s sales revenues and 3rd party management acquisitions.
When he is not fishing for new sales accounts or hotels for the portfolio, you can find Jorge fishing a mountain stream for dinner.
Kelly joined SHR in 2012, and is currently responsible for sales across the Western U.S. and Mexico, developing and deploying successful long-range growth and business strategies for core and emerging hotel markets. Striving to break down silos, she works with hotel owners and officers as well as revenue and reservation managers.
She lends her 15+ years of expertise to every point of client contact, from technical product demonstrations to final contracts and assisting in ongoing account management.
Previous to SHR, Kelly held various technology sales leadership positions, including Regional Sales Director, Americas West, for Micros E-commerce, Client Services Manager for TIG Global, and Marketing Sales Manager for Clark Security Products. In addition to rich practical business experience, she also brings with her a unique sense of compassion and understanding from her background as a Special Education teacher.
Kelly holds a BS in Education from Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, and an MA in Education from George Washington University, Washington D.C.