Why aren’t there more operating CEOs in the hotel industry?

Why aren?t there more operating CEOs in the hotel industry?

I have been in the midst of a few C-suite search assignments, and it dawned on me that there aren’t that many operators leading hotel companies these days. Why is that?
  • Today’s hotel industry is a real estate business as much as it is a service industry.
  • Public companies are dominated by finance and capital market issues.
  • Legal matters are so significant today that hotel leaders have to be de facto legal scholars.
  • Growth is what companies get rewarded for from investors.
  • Operators are great at the day-to-day details but often lack the strategic vision of other C-suite executives.
  • Hotel chains are now brand companies as much as they are hotel companies, and that requires expertise in consumer branding.
  • Hotels are increasingly a technology-driven business, and operators aren’t known as technology innovators.
  • Less than 10% of the hotel CEOs in our annual study have an operating background.
  • The hotel industry is still an entrepreneurial business, largely populated by hard-working owner-operators who like running their small businesses.
This is not a criticism of my industry, just a realization that if you want to be a hotel CEO one day, understand what will be expected of you.