Meet Ylonda Hughes, Sales & Marketing Manager, Kings Orlando, FL
Ylonda Hughes is originally from Alton, Illinois and when it came time to run off to college, she found herself at Southeast Missouri State where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Hotel & Restaurant Management and a Minor in Business Management. Ylonda started her career in the industry through the Disney College Program which brought her from the Midwest down to sunny Orlando.
With her first job out of college, she gained valuable hospitality experience as a Guest Service Supervisor at an area hotel. Her attention to detail and understanding of accounting then lead to a shift in her career path and Ylonda found herself digging deep into numbers in various accounting positions within the hotel industry. This ultimately led to an Accounting Clerk position at a hotel in Disney’s acclaimed Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vista. Here, she met Kai Carter, who was working at Disney at the time. Ylonda and Kai became fast friends after realizing that they both shared a passion for planning events and throwing great parties. Little did they know that their paths would cross again and that they would soon be working together as an unstoppable Sales & Marketing duo for Kings in Orlando.
After 10 years in an accounting position, Ylonda soon realized that she sorely missed the opportunity to meet new people, hear their stories and make genuine connections. Meanwhile, just a few miles down the road, Kai Carter had recently started his journey with Kings Dining & Entertainment and found himself looking for a trusted partner in crime in the Sales & Marketing office. Ylonda was top of mind for Kai as he knew she would not only be a great fit for the Sales & Marketing office due to her well-rounded background in the hospitality industry, but that she would also be a great partner thanks to their shared passion for guest service and building sales. Ylonda started with Kings Dining & Entertainment in June 2018 and has been an integral part of the team in Orlando, helping to build both event and raw sales through planning events and marketing efforts. Within her position at Kings, Ylonda has been able to let her inner extrovert loose, whether it’s painting a picture of events at Kings for potential party hosts or making genuine connections at networking events.
Ylonda has an incredible understanding of how all of the departments within the venue must work together in order to ensure that every event is executed to perfection and every walk-in guest leaves wowed. When she is not in the sales office corresponding with future and current booking contacts, she can be found communicating with everyone in-house, from the kitchen, to the servers/bartenders and the host desk to ensure that everyone is aligned and working towards the same goal. Whether it’s a special request regarding set-up for an event or someone who is coming in for dinner with a special dietary request, Ylonda’s personal mission is to make it happen.
For first time guests and long-time clients alike, Ylonda stops at nothing to get to know you and to find out what she can do to ensure that your experience is amazing. “Ylonda has a natural ability to ask the right questions when it comes to planning and booking events - her confidence immediately puts your mind at ease as you know you are talking to someone who will expertly guide you through the planning stages of any event - whether it’s a birthday party for 10 or a full-venue buyout for hundreds of guests” says Jessica Rooks, Regional Sales & Marketing Manager.
Beyond booking and coordinating events in-house, Ylonda is incredibly passionate about marketing and has stated that she loves having the flexibility to put new ideas and initiatives into motion with support from the team at Kings. When asked about her favorite part of working in the Sales & Marketing office, Ylonda replied “I love selling fun!”
When Ylonda is not booking events at Kings or attending various networking events, she can be found relaxing at home with her dog, Spanky, or out riding bikes in Orlando’s seasonable year-round weather. She is also an expert baker, currently creating her own cheesecake recipes using a beloved vintage stand mixer that was passed down from her grandmother - she currently has a vegan cheesecake recipe in the works because everyone deserves a little cheesecake made with love!
Do you love to connect with people and learn what makes them happy? Are you looking for a supportive, team-oriented environment with plenty of room for you to grow? If you have the drive to challenge yourself and deliver the goods when it comes to hospitality, apply to Kings today to get started.