Nancy Johnson’s career in hospitality spans more than 40 years, the last 25 of which were in executive roles with Carlson that include heading up the brands Country Inn & Suites™ and Radisson Hotels International. Nancy served as Chair of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) in 2012, and initiated AH&LA’s Women in Lodging Council. Nancy is recognized by many as a spokesperson for the industry, she has participated in a variety of speaking engagements, panels, and leadership programs internationally.
Nancy practically grew up in the hotel industry. By the age of 21, she was married and divorced with two small children. Since her top priority was being home with her children during the day, she took a night job as a cocktail waitress at a full service hotel. She knew she could make more money as a bartender, but the owner of the hotel told her “women don’t bartend,” so she made the tough choice to leave the hotel and started bartending at an independent bar. Within a month, the owner of the hotel realized he was losing business, so he offered her a bartending position. She was eventually promoted to front desk clerk, then Banquet Manager, and finally assistant General Manager. This was Nancy’s first leadership experience.
Nancy then worked for a construction company as a hotel specialist and stayed on through the construction of 48 new hotels. This position provided a lot of great opportunities for her, and she continued to hone her skills by taking blueprint, marketing, and real estate courses. Nancy worked for McDonalds and learned planned unit development. This lead her to become involved in local government. What Nancy loves about this industry is that there have always been many choices. However, the bottom line is always to be of SERVICE.
Rainer Jenss of Nyack, New York, founded the Family Travel Association seven years ago to help parents and caregivers introduce children to the world through travel, whether that’s a yearlong trip around the world that Jenss and his family took or a weekend getaway to a nearby destination. To help the travel industry gauge what parents want when they take their kids on vacation, FTA conducts an annual study. The U.S. Family Travel Survey 2021 reveals the shift in mindset the COVID-19 pandemic has created in families planning a trip over the next 12 months. Hoteliers use can use the information to generate business and boost their strategies to recover and sustain business now and other the coming months.
Whether they’re new to the concept or they’ve worked in lodging for years, women are an emerging force in hotel development, investment and ownership. Several industry leaders are making significant strides in building programs that encourage and support women interested in becoming hotel owners and investors. This report examines new projects and updates the status of existing efforts by industry leaders to recruit women as owners and help them hurdle barriers such as critical access to capital.