• Emily Goldfischer

13 Networking Organizations You Need to Know


One of the silver linings of the Covid-19 crisis is the increased efforts for engaged networking movements globally. Women, in particular, have seen the benefits of organizing in groups (online only, for the moment) for idea sharing, networking, skill-building, and conducting important research to promote women's issues in the lodging and broader travel sector.


As we all strive to be more connected, how do you know which groups are right for you to join? We've rounded up the latest and greatest and put them in one handy place for you. Have a look to see which missions resonate most for you, click through to learn more.


Get in first with these hot, new platforms...


Raizup (formerly WHTT) The fastest-growing online platform for women and underrepresented groups in the hospitality and travel ecosystem, Raizup is on a mission to increase the success and engagement in the workplace for women and underrepresented groups, and to enable organisations to attract, develop and retain diverse talent, nurtured by a powerful community. Raizup is quickly establishing chapters around the globe; membership is currently free and the community is very active with lots of live sessions, articles and information available for personal and professional growth. Raizup currently has over 6,000 + members from 54 countries.


Women in Hospitality Global (WiH) a new non-profit initiative, Women in Hospitality (WiH) is aiming to be a global community with a mission to create more diversity and inclusion in the development area of hospitality, with plans for mentoring, knowledge share and outreach to support the next generation wishing to join the hospitality industry. WiH is currently establishing the first intake of 500 global members (450 women & 50 men) across Americas, EMEA and APAC and cross-segment with members who Build, Fund, Operate or Advise ('BFOA') in hospitality. WiH has already hosted dozens of panels, initiated a mentoring programme in collaboration with WiHTL, partnered with leading global hospitality conferences to promote more diverse and inclusive panels and launched a global women’s representation survey to provide insight into women and ethnic minority representation in the industry. Once all members are announced, WiH members will partake in mentoring, participate in topical webinars and discussions, panel coaching sessions and outreach initiatives. Membership by application; currently 1,500 followers on LinkedIn.


She Has a Deal (SHaD), another one in the development space, SHaD is a real estate investment platform that was founded to create pathways to hotel ownership and development for women through education, networking and mentorship. SHaD’s signature program is an annual hotel investment pitch competition for women. Accepted pitching teams participate in a multi-module education series that walks them through the process of sourcing, evaluating, capital raising and pitching a real hotel investment deal with the chance to win $50,000 in deal equity. She Has a Deal also educates emerging hotel investors through its masterclasses and coaching and has established an investment fund to support women led hotel development projects.


Women in Travel Thrive A non-profit initiative founded in September 2020 by a group of women in the travel industry out of Miami, Women in Travel Thrive aims help reduce the impact that COVID-19 on women’s career progression mainly through mentorship opportunities. In a short time, this group has amassed a strong following on social media and held the inaugural Day of Impact on January 26 – 28, 2021.


Women Leading Travel & Hospitality Established just over a year ago, Women Leading Travel & Hospitality is a well-staffed membership based organization started by the media group behind Women in Retail. They've recruited a strong advisory board from across all travel verticals and have robust plans for professional development content, in-depth research reports, interactive live and virtual events, networking opportunities, membership benefits, and job boards. So far, members of the community include executives from the hotels and lodging, airlines, rail lines, cruise lines, online travel agencies (OTAs), car rentals, shared economies, and travel agencies.


Leading Hoteliers (part of Hoteliers Guild) A new initiative announced in January, 2021 by CEO of the HoteliersGuild community, Frank M Pfaller, and co-founded by Lindsey Ueberroth, CEO at Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Leading Hoteliers aims to accelerate the path to improved gender equality in higher level positions across the industry, in line with the UN's Sustainable Development Goal 5. This group is very high level and invitation only, so far.


For the meetings and events space...


The Female Hospitality Network is a community for hospitality and event professionals, mostly UK based, also with a New York chapter. The aim of The Female Hospitality Network is to empower, develop, inspire, connect members with events, online training and mentorship. Membership required.

For research and education...


Castell Project The mission of the Castell Project is to see women in more than one of every three positions at all levels of hospitality industry leadership and ownership. Based in the US, Castell is a nonprofit, that conducts significant research projects, holds Castell@College panels for students with leading female executives to learn about careers in hospitality, offers two levels of gender-specific training leadership education to which enables women to progress faster and a series of awards that recognise women in lodging annually. Sponsorship and education; not membership based.


Women in Hospitality Travel & Leisure (WiHTL) UK based, WiHTL is Collaborative Community of Hospitality, Travel and Leisure companies committed to driving forward progress in diversity and inclusion in the sector. WiHTL's mission is to make a positive difference to 5 million women and people from ethnic minorities across the hospitality, travel and leisure industry globally by 2025. Their website has a host of informative webinars, research, three types of mentorship programs, and a robust calendar of ongoing events. They also offer leadership development programmes for women and ethnic minorities.


For Foodies...


Women in Hospitality United New York-based, Women in Hospitality United was born of the #MeToo movement and the belief that there is an urgent need for evolution in hospitality, particularly the restaurant industry. They have a very active Facebook Group with over 9,000 members.


Others to keep in mind...


If you work for an American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) member property, you are entitled to membership of Women in Lodging | AHLA, which offers the opportunity to connect with other women throughout AHLA.


Finally, some interesting LinkedIn (only) groups...


Inspiring Women in Hospitality UK based, this group has fascinating video interviews with women from all areas and sectors of travel, by Naureen Ahmed who is director of marketing for STR (Smith Travel Research).

Travel Industry Executive Womens Network on LinkedIn, with 11K+ members

This group is for women in corporate travel, hospitality, general travel and tourism industries. Group was established in 2005 and holds an annual conference.


Please contact us if we've missed a group you think our readers should know!