The first of its kind, The Hospitality Show is a bold new event for the entire hospitality ecosystem with one shared goal: operating hotels efficiently and profitably. Brought to you by The American Hotel & Lodging Association and Hotel Management, the event will bring together top industry leaders, senior executives of hotel brands, owners, operators, management companies and procurement specialists—and their teams—to discover, network and drive profitability.
Business accelerates when the right people are in the room, and this new weekly series of advisory board interviews goes 1:1 with the industry’s best and brightest as they build the inaugural event to be held June 27-29, 2023 at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas.
In this installment, we catch up with Rachel Humphrey, founder of the Women in Hospitality Leadership Alliance.
What issues are currently causing headaches for the industry?
Humphrey: With labor continuing to be a huge headache for the hospitality industry, advances in [diversity, equity and inclusion] are a critical part of the discussion. The hospitality industry is an incredible industry in which you can have literally any career you want but for people to want to be a part of our industry, we must reflect greater diversity at all levels and in all roles.
What will it take for those issues to smooth out and when do you anticipate that will happen?
Humphrey: The important conversations surrounding a lack of DEI at all levels of the hospitality industry continue to raise awareness and demand change. We are seeing some advances through important hiring and retention and advancement announcements, along with programs covering all aspects of the industry from leadership to ownership to industry conference speakers and attendees and beyond. We need to accelerate this momentum to continue to see greater change over the coming year that will then lead to greater change in the following year and so on.
What new trends do you see affecting the hospitality industry the most in 2023?
Humphrey: There is finally a recognition that [Environmental, Social and Governance] is no longer just a feel-good talking point but is actually a business necessity which drives revenues, impacts investments and the transaction market, attracts labor and guests, protects business investments from the risks of regulatory violations and more, while simultaneously doing good for our communities and the world. This increased awareness will have an impact on the way we do business in the hospitality industry and will become a critical component of every business plan.
What do you see as the biggest opportunities for the industry as we make our way through 2023?
Humphrey: The hospitality industry has a huge opportunity to make significant advances in the quest for a more diverse industry at all levels through the advancement and development of existing talent and the recruitment of new talent, as well as in hotel ownership and conference attendance and speakers. We need to continue these important discussions driving awareness and follow them up with action. All together, we can become the industry that leads the way in reflecting a diverse workforce at all levels which more closely resembles our nation’s population and our guests and by doing so will be the industry in which everyone wants to have a career.
What do you think the industry’s biggest win this year will be?
Humphrey: I hope the hospitality industry’s biggest win this year will be a record number of announcements elevating more women into leadership roles at corporations, at the property level and in hotel ownership.
What are you most looking forward to at The Hospitality Show?
Humphrey: I’m looking forward to seeing so many industry leaders, strengthening existing relationships and building new ones, while having meaningful conversations about DEI and the advancement of more women into leadership roles.