Big Wins for Women at ALIS

Updated: Jan 28

Feels like a week of great progress for women in hotels: Wyndham signed its first deal as part of its new “Women on the Room” program with two properties in Texas, Peggy Berg of the Castell Project was honored with the ISHC Pioneer Award, the She Has a Deal (SHaD) alumnae meet up, and DEI progress reports from the ALIS Conference.


Wyndham’s First Deal for Women Own the Room

Super excited to see Wyndham’s new program, “Women Own the Room,” which hertelier wrote about in September, taking off! Wyndham inked the deal yesterday with Trusha Patel, Founder and CEO, Platinum Holdings, who becomes the pioneering program’s first member with two new construction La Quinta and Hawthorn Suites dual-branded hotels in Texas.


Trusha Patel
Trusha Patel, Platinum Holdings and Lisa Checchio, Chief Marketing Officer, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

The new hotels will be in two rapidly growing Texas cities, Austin and Georgetown, which are only about 30 miles apart. The Austin hotel will be less than a mile from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, four miles from downtown Austin, and will be one of the closest hotels to the new Tesla Headquarters and Gigafactory of Austin. The Georgetown hotel will sit nearby one of central Texas’ largest highways, part of Longhorn Junction, a 190-acre mixed-use development, which will also have a brewery, a variety of restaurants and retail. The property is also not far from Lake Georgetown, which is popular for boating and fishing in warmer months.


 La Quinta and Hawthorn Suites dual-branded hotels
La Quinta and Hawthorn Suites dual-branded hotels

Each hotel will offer a combined 125 guestrooms – 75 of which will feature the newly refreshed room design from La Quinta’s Del Sol prototype, and 50 will feature the updated Hawthorn room design, which includes kitchens for extended-stay guests. The pairing of select-service and long-term lodging targets different types of travelers, bringing them together under one roof, cleverly offering more flexibility in the midscale space.


Trusha had found the sites and was struggling to get the financing package together with the right brand. “I grew up in the hospitality industry and have been involved in every facet of hotel ownership, from development to dispositions. When embarking on owning a hotel of my own, it was extremely helpful to have access to the resources that Wyndham provides,” said Trusha. While she has been in the business for more than 25 years and holds her MBA from Baylor University, this is her first time running the show and not helping or as a limited partner. “With the support of Wyndham, I have the backing of the world’s largest hotel company behind me. This is an incredible opportunity to realize my personal hospitality objectives, and also an opportunity to inspire other women to fulfill their entrepreneurship goals.”


Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is committed to gender diversity, women’s economic empowerment, and advancing women entrepreneurs to level the playing field. “Hospitality is one of the most diverse industries in the world and we should be fostering that diversity at the highest levels including ownership,” said Lisa Checchio, Chief Marketing Officer, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. “While the workforce in the tourism and hospitality industry is comprised of 70% women, only one woman enters hotel development for every 9.6 men. “Women Own the Room” is specifically designed to help overcome the common barriers women face in hotel development and help them open and run their hotels.”


Women Own the Room is built upon the pillars of:

  1. Delivering comprehensive financial solutions–capital support, reduced franchise fees

  2. Offering personalized and complimentary operational guidance, support and training

  3. Establishing an inclusive community for networking & education


To get involved and stay up-to-date on Women Own the Room’s upcoming events, visit www.womenowntheroombywyndham.com.


Peggy Berg Honored with ISHC Pioneer Award

Peggy Berg wins ISHC Pioneer Award
Peggy Berg wins ISHC Pioneer Award

Peggy Berg, founder and chair of the Castell Project, was honored yesterday at the ALIS Conference with the ISHC Pioneer Award, established in 1996 to recognize an individual each year who has made an outstanding contribution in the hospitality industry. Winners are selected on a basis of three criteria: active involvement in the hospitality industry; contribution to the industry; and respected by industry peers. Peggy checks all the boxes and more! Her leadership and work with the Castell Project has inspired so many women and incited real change.


We had a sneak peek at the Castell Project's Fith Annual Women in Hospitality Report, which details women’s progress in leadership positions within the industry, and there has been progress!

  • Women are gaining representation in hotel company leadership roles (CEO, president, founder, etc.), women now hold one leadership spot for every 10.3 men, an improvement from one to 11.2 in 2019.

  • At the manager/director levels, women now hold 1 in 3 hospitality brokerage positions and 1 in 6 at the VP/SVP/EVP level. The number of male VP/SVP/EVPs at hotel investment conferences did not change materially while the number of women doubled. Broker representation went from one woman to 10.1 men in 2017 to one woman to 7.2 men in 2021. Hospitality brokerage competes with general commercial real estate for talent. CREW Network reports that more women occupy brokerage positions than ever before (29 percent), a 6 percent increase from 2015.

  • Women speak at 22 percent of hospitality investment conference podiums, up from 16 percent in 2017. This is important because women’s visibility on the podium accelerates careers and inspires other women.



Industry Leaders Collaborate on DEI

More from ALIS: Rachel Humphrey reports from LA that there is great interest in moving the needle forward on DEI. She met with industry leaders Silvia B. Camarota, Ali Thompson, Peggy Berg, Tracy Prigmore, Katie Moore, David Kong, Heather Carnes, Ashli Johnson, Fern Kanter, Lan Elliott, Andrea Belfanti, Dorothy Dowling to strengthen and collaborate on initiatives.

Jeff Higley, David Kong, Ruth Sorenson, and Chip Rogers
Jeff Higley, David Kong, Ruth Sorenson, and Chip Rogers

David Kong, the recently retired president and CEO of BWH Hotel Group® was named the inaugural recipient of the Arne Sorenson Social Impact Leadership Award at ALIS. David has long been an advocate for women in leadership and is committing his retirement to advance DEI. “He is one of the most respected people in hospitality, and I can think of no one more fitting to receive this inaugural award named in honor of Arne’s legacy,” said William “Chip” Rogers, President & CEO of AHLA on LinkedIn.


She Has a Deal (SHaD) Has Alumnae Meet UP

Tracy Prigmore and a cohort of women from her empowering program, She Has a Deal (SHaD) had the opportunity to meet in person and network at the ALIS conference! By the way, tickets are now on sale for the 2022 SHaD Pitch Competition Thursday, April 28th & Friday, April 29th, 2022


SHaD crew enjoy the second alumnae dinner at ALIS
SHaD crew enjoy the second annual alumnae dinner at ALIS

SHaD founder, Tracy also spoke on two panels, one for students and another on ownership and asset management.


Great to see all the engagement by women at ALIS, keep going ladies!