Joseph A. McInerney, CHA, is president and chief executive officer of AH&LA. As the head executive of the largest trade association representing the U.S. lodging industry, McInerney implements and directs AH&LA’s services as well as provides leadership to association members. He also works directly with the volunteer officers, board of directors, and partner state associations in determining the direction of the industry.
Since his appointment, McInerney has reorganized the association to streamline efficiency and strengthen its core operations, including consolidating its two affiliates to form the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation – the only educational dollar-dispensing, not-for-profit premier organization for scholarships, professional certification, and instructional material as well as funding for key industry research. Additionally, McInerney spearheaded the changing of the membership structure from a federation to a dual membership format, streamlined the board of directors, and clarified the organization’s mission.
McInerney has nearly 50 years of experience in the hospitality industry, beginning with his first job in 1961 at the Sheraton Chicago as a staff planner. After serving stints in food and beverage and personnel, he was named to front office manager before he was transferred to the franchise division as regional director of operations in 1966. In 1969, he moved to Winston Salem, NC, to be general manager of the Sheraton Inn. In 1970, he was named vice president, assistant to the president of the franchise division, and moved through the ranks until he was named president of ITT’s Sheraton franchise division in 1980. After 25 years with Sheraton, the Pritzker family tapped him to be president/CEO to helm the launch of Hawthorn Suites. His next industry position came when Sir Rocco Forte named him president/CEO of Travelodge in 1991 and then president/CEO of Forte Hotels in 1992, finally appointing him to chairman in 1995. McInerney is widely recognized for having revolutionized the franchise concept for Sheraton and popularizing the suite concept for Hawthorn Suites. Prior to AH&LA, he was president and CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, moving its headquarters from San Francisco to Bangkok.
McInerney is an honor graduate of Boston College. He also is a Certified Hotel Administrator via the Educational Institute (EI), an affiliate of AH&LA.
McInerney has been recognized with several industry awards, including the first 2012 Founding Member award from DePaul University College of Commerce School of Hospitality Leadership; induction into the 2010 University of Houston’s Hospitality Hall of Honors, induction into the 2010 Massachusetts Lodging Association Hall of Fame; the 2009 J. Patrick Leahy Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association; 2007 “Above and Beyond Award” at The Lodging Conference; “Tourism Man of the Year” award by the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association; the 1999 Stephen Brener, Silver Plate Lifetime Achievement Award from Hospitality Magazine; Travel Agent Magazine’s 1998 Pacific/Asia Person of the Year, and the 1994 Economy Lodging’s “Person of the Year,” by AH&LA.