Women are increasingly becoming a part of hospitality leadership, according to a new report by the AHLA Foundation.

The report found that women now hold one in four of all chief-level positions at hotel companies, although it is mostly in human resources and sales/marketing roles. At the director level, women hold the same number of positions as men.

“Women have experienced gains in leadership positions in hospitality investment and development since 2019, going from one woman for every 10 men to one woman for every 7.9 men,” according to the report. “Women held 24 percent of the podium spots at hotel investment conferences, up from 16 percent in 2017. On the main stage, 37 percent of prime speaking spots in 2022 went to women – up from 22 percent just a year earlier in 2021.”

The 2023 “Women in Hospitality” research report was conducted by the AHLA Foundation and Penn State’s School of Hospitality Management. The AHLA Foundation is a philanthropic organization that is a partner with the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA).

“We want to see equity for women at the leadership level and across the hotel industry, and this progress is encouraging,” said AHLA Foundation president Anna Blue. “Representation is only the first step. We see growing efforts by our members to prioritize intersectional leadership, inclusion, and belonging for women in the industry.”

The main researcher on the report, Phillip Jolly, PhD, assistant professor of hospitality management at Penn State, reviewed publicly-available data from more than 6,000 individuals, 701 companies, and more than 7,000 hotel investment conference attendees.

“Although we must continue to increase representation of women leaders in hospitality, it’s encouraging that the hotel industry is steadfastly working together to address longstanding inequities. This report shows that change is possible,” said Donna Quadri, PhD, Marvin Ashner director of the Penn State University School of Hospitality Management.

Read the full report here.