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HB ON THE SCENE: Hotel Business Presents Executive Roundtable for Women

NEW YORK—Hotel Business held an Executive Roundtable titled “A View From The Top: A Woman’s Perspective,” in which a number of the industry’s top female executives weighed in on topics such as trends in the industry, changing workplace cultures and advice for the next generation.

Held at the headquarters of Dow Jones & Company here, the event was sponsored by The Wall Street Journal and moderated by Stefani C. O’Connor, executive news editor, Hotel Business, and managing editor, Roundtables, Hotel Business.

The executives discussed current challenges within the industry, such as brand loyalty. “Millennials are our current and future travelers,” said Angela Landgraf, SVP, corporate development, Red Lion Hotels Corp., “and today’s traveler doesn’t look at brand loyalty the way we did.” Added Carrie McIntyre, CFO, Interstate Hotels & Resorts, “It poses a big dilemma for the hotel owners. The statistic is that brand loyalty is going away, and yet the brands are in a dilemma themselves on how to keep up. When they make decisions to shift what their brand will look like, it’s a capital investment for the owners. If they can’t show they are getting loyalty out of it, how do we handle it? In addition, you’ve got new players grabbing the share.”

The panelists also discussed workplace culture and gender roles. “The rules of the business world are based on male social norms of behavior,” said Niki Leondakis, CEO, Commune Hotels & Resorts, noting that from a young age men and women are socialized differently. “I think the trick to being successful… is to be true to who you are, but recognize the differences. Don’t be blind to the differences: There are social differences, there are communication style differences, and there are attention and focus differences. If we can learn from each other and create a more balanced environment, that’s when we get the best of both worlds.”

However, the executives also agreed that when it comes to achieving success, it should come down to an individual’s core traits. “For me, it’s not about being a woman,” said Amanda Hite, president/COO, Smith Travel Research. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman as long as you have that motivation and that willingness to roll up your sleeves and solve problems. Then you can achieve whatever goal you set for yourself.” Eileen Moore, regional president, Caesars Entertainment, Inc., added that to get to where she is in her career, she “took a lot of zigs where most would have zagged. If it makes you uncomfortable, go for it.”

Look for complete coverage of the Executive Roundtable in the September 21st issue of Hotel Business.

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