Female Leaders in Hospitality and Travel-Tech Part 1

Updated: Jun 11

Female Role Models at Hospitality, Travel and Leisure

The definition of role model is an individual who is looked up to and revered by someone else. A role model is someone who other individuals aspire to be like, either in the present or in the future. A role model may be someone who you know and interact with on a regular basis, or may be someone who you've never met, such as a celebrity.

Common role models include well known actors, public figures such as police men or political officials, teachers or other educators, and parents or other family members.

According to this definition a role model has no concrete age, gender, race or occupancy.

Numbers of female senior executives in subsectors within Hospitality, Travel and Leisure Source: PWC

When setting our goals however we like to pick the person who we most identify with as to where we would like to get in our career. It is just a fact that women have a different career path than men, so the best match for us would be female leaders.

Whether you are a hotelier by trade or from the travel- technology industry, you are probably aware that both are highly dominated by men.

In fact according to a report published by PWC, in 2019 women occupy just 7% of the CEO, CFO and Chair triumvirate in HTL businesses, and only 10.4% of CEO roles across the hospitality, travel and leisure sector are held by women.

It is hard to find female leaders, therefore my biggest personal challenge is not trying to be like a man but learn to be one and inspire others to enter the industry grow and become one themselves.

When I did a quick LinkedIn search, apart from the apparent algorithms in place and network, the first female CEO I found was on page 5, before and after that a long silence.

In an interview to The Next Web, Gilian Tans, CEO of booking.com addressed diversity in especially in tech and tourism stating “ We have over 17,000 employees across the globe, representing over 140 nationalities. Our global workforce is comprised of more than 50 percent women, and within our leadership team women hold one third of the positions. At Booking.com, we are still only 20% women within tech roles, something we are immensely focused on improving. “

Gilian Tans, CEO booking.com Source: Booking.com

When asked for advice for those young women who look up to her as a role model she said:

“The advice I would give to anyone starting out is to take risks and not be afraid of new challenges or opportunities. My career path was not obvious, I had to make many twists and turns along the way to get where I am today. It required taking some chances. But those were the moments where I learned the most. Without challenging yourself, growth opportunities are limited. So take the risks. You will be better for it in the long run, regardless of the short-term outcome. “

Whilst here at Women in Hospitality and Travel-Tech we will continuously present you female leaders to inspire you, one thing is very clear; in order to have more female role models, we need to have more female leaders. Companies need change their mindset about how they recruit , develop, promote and retain women, benchmarking from other industries that have already set diversity as the ultimate goal for company culture. “Lead by example to effect industry change”


PWC: https://www.pwc.co.uk/industries/hospitality-leisure/women-in-hospitality-and-leisure.html

Businesswomen Media: https://www.thebusinesswomanmedia.com/10-women-thriving-travel-tech/

TNW: https://thenextweb.com/tnw2019/2019/04/19/gillian-tans-booking-tnw2019/

#WHTT #womenintraveltech #womeninhospitality #femaleleadership #hospitality