There’s good news for women in the hospitality industry these days. For example, while men still rule the roost at most facilities, Carol Fraser, vice president of Aspen Hotels, has put women in the top general manager spot at her co-owned hotels in Fairbanks, Juneau, Valdez, and Soldontna, Alaska. And she plans to put a woman in charge of her Anchorage property when it is rebuilt after a fire.
In a Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News story that was published recently in the Anchorage Daily News, Fraser said, "It’s not a coincidence. We’ve had a better success rate with women general managers." She cited as leading qualities women’s tendency to work hard, eye for detail, and empathy and compassion toward guests and employees. But women hospitality professionals still have a way to go: According to a University of Massachusetts study last year, 66 percent of hotel managers nationwide are male, and those guys make an average of $76,835 a year, compared to women managers at $65,818.
On the meeting planner front, Wyndham International and United Airlines recently announced a $150,000 higher education scholarship fund that will be available to meeting planners through MPI’s Women’s Leadership Initiative. The scholarship—two-thirds of which is coming from Wyndham, the remaining $50,000 from United—will be disbursed in $50,000 increments over the next three years. While specific application criteria (including whether it will be available only to women or to both genders) won’t be announced until MPI’s Professional Education Conference–North America early next year, an MPI press release did say the scholarship is earmarked for applicants seeking higher education.
While the possible availability of more scholarship funds for women meeting professionals is a positive note, the gender salary gap remains: Female meeting and convention directors, at least on the association side, still make an average of $56,688 to their male counterparts’ $64,120, according to recently released results of an American Society for Association Executives salary survey.