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.
Lodging Econometrics has tracked the hotel industry since 1998. Its global database includes new-hotel pipelines as well as renovations and brand conversions. Hotel franchisers once eager to launch new brands are focused on converting existing hotels because it’s a faster way to recover revenue lost to the COVID-19 pandemic than through new construction. In Episode 346, Lodging Leaders explores the increasing number of conversions in the U.S. hotel industry and what owners and operators need to consider before repositioning an asset.
In the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., financiers anticipated a swell of distressed hotel businesses. Some raised rescue funds to respond to what they thought was a pending crisis. Though there are financial rescues taking place, the level of such activity is far below what industry advisers and fund managers expected. Commercial real estate investors positioned to act in the early days of the pandemic held off and are now just beginning to unleash their cash hoards totaling billions of dollars. Episode 345 of Lodging Leaders podcast explores the state of capital investment in the hotel industry.