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Report: Hotel Boards Are Becoming Increasingly Diverse

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WASHINGTON, D.C.—The percentage of hotel industry board seats held by Black members and women members, respectively, is going up. That’s according to recent research commissioned by AHLA Foundation and conducted by Penn State’s School of Hospitality Management. The increase exceeds the 2022 average in both categories for firms in the Russell 3000 Index, signaling progress in the effort to diversify corporate boards.

The report highlights multiple gains for the industry. The 2022 data set analyzed 230 board members at 28 companies between 2016 to 2022. Key findings include:

  • Women occupied 31.3 percent of independent board seats on hotel public company boards in 2022, a significant increase from 22.5 percent in 2021. This exceeds the 2022 average for firms in the Russell 3000 Index, which was 28.4 percent women.
  • Only one publicly traded hotel firm has no women on its board of trustees. In 2021, there were two firms with no women on their boards.
  • 67 percent of directors who were new to a board in 2022 were women.
  • In 2022, 12.6 percent of hotel public company board members were Black, a significant increase from 6.5 percent in 2021. This exceeds the 2022 average for firms in the Russell 300 Index, which was approximately 6 percent Black and is approaching the overall percentage of the U.S. population that is Black (13.6 percent).
  • 22 percent of directors who were new to a board in 2022 were Black.

“It’s encouraging to see this progress. Our industry recognizes that with the board’s role in governance and oversight, increased diversity on hotel boards is a pathway to a more diverse hotel industry,” said Anna Blue, President of AHLA Foundation. “The business case for diversity is clear. Research validates the value of diverse perspectives and experiences in our organizations, which shows up in our business as better recruitment and retention, more innovation, and greater success overall.”

The investment in this report to increase diversity is part of AHLA Foundation’s 5-year, $5 million commitment to advance DE&I across the hospitality industry.

Click here to view the full report.

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