Report: Black and women representation in industry boards rising

The research is part of AHLA Foundation's 5-year, $5 million DE&I effort in hospitality

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AHLA Foundation report
A recent research commissioned by AHLA Foundation and conducted by Penn State’s School of Hospitality Management revealed that the representation of Black and women members on hotel industry boards is on the rise. The surge surpasses the 2022 averages for firms in the Russell 3000 Index, with 67 percent of newly appointed directors being women, while 22 percent of new board members in 2022 were Black.

THE REPRESENTATION OF Black and women members on hotel industry boards is on the rise, signaling progress in board diversity, according to recent research commissioned by AHLA Foundation and conducted by Penn State’s School of Hospitality Management. The surge surpasses the 2022 averages for firms in the Russell 3000 Index, while indicating multiple gains for the industry.

The 2022 data analysis involved 230 board members from 28 companies spanning the years 2016 to 2022, the AHLA Foundation said.

Key findings from the report include:

  • In 2022, women held 31.3 percent of independent board seats on hotel public company boards, a notable surgefrom 22.5 percent in 2021. This surpasses the 2022 Russell 3000 Index average of 28.4 percent for women representation.
  • Only one publicly traded hotel firm had no women on its board of trustees in 2022, down from two in 2021.
  • 67 percent of newly appointed directors were women.
  • In 2022, 12.6 percent of hotel public company board members were Black, a substantial jump from 6.5 percent in 2021. This surpasses the 2022 Russell 3000 Index average, which was around 6 percent Black, and approaches the overall U.S. population percentage of 13.6 percent.
  • Similarly, 22 percent of directors who were new to a board in 2022 were Black.

“Our industry acknowledges that board diversity plays a pivotal role in governance and oversight, serving as a gateway to a more inclusive hotel sector,” said Anna Blue, President of AHLA Foundation. “The business imperative for diversity is evident. Research underscores the worth of varied perspectives and experiences within our organizations, resulting in enhanced recruitment and retention, heightened innovation, and overall greater success.”

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

Last month, the AHLA Foundation re-launched its ForWard program, aimed at advancing women in hotel industry leadership and ownership. The foundation aims to integrate the program with the Castell Project, a not-for-profit organization focused on empowering women in hospitality leadership, which it acquired last year.