Penn State Hotel and Restaurant Society Names STR chairman and cofounder Randell Smith 2011 Hospitality Executive of the Year

September 9, 2011

image of Randell Smith

Randell A. Smith, chairman and co-founder of STR, has been named 2011 Hospitality Executive of the Year by the Penn State Hotel and Restaurant Society. Smith will receive the award during the 50th Hospitality Executive of the Year Award Dinner, which will take place Nov. 13, 2011 in conjunction with the annual International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Show in New York. As part of the honor, Smith also will be inducted into the Penn State Hospitality Hall of Fame, located at The Nittany Lion Inn on Penn State’s University Park campus.

“We honor Randy Smith because, among other things, he had a unique idea, and the grand vision to make that vision a reality,” said John O’Neill, director of the School of Hospitality Management. “In so doing, he revolutionized the way hotel markets are evaluated and hotel managers are measured. His organization has become an indespensible service to the hospitality industry in the U.S. and many other countries.”

Smith launched STR in 1985 in Lancaster, Pa., to provide information on performance trends to the lodging industry and its observers. The company moved to Hendersonville, Tenn., in 1987. The company's initial goal was to create a complete list of all hotel properties in the United States and provide that list to suppliers so they could create districts and territories for their sales staff. That project developed into the STAR program in 1988, which has grown into a series of daily, weekly, and monthly reports made available to the hotel industry. The STAR program has become the definitive source of benchmarking information for chains, management companies, lenders, appraisers, consultants, and developers.

In 2008, STR brought together Deloitte’s HotelBenchmark business and The Bench to form STR Global, which offers monthly, weekly, and daily STAR benchmarking reports to more than 44,000 hotel clients, representing nearly five million rooms worldwide. STR and STR Global are now the world's foremost sources of hotel performance trends and offer the definitive global hotel database and development pipeline.

“I am honored to receive this prestigious award and join the list of notable past recipients,” said Smith. “Penn State’s School of Hospitality Management does a fantastic job preparing its students for the real-world hotel industry and I’m pleased to be recognized by such an outstanding institution of higher education.“

“The 7,000 alumni and 800 students of Penn State's School of Hospitality Management are proud to honor Randy Smith as our Hospitality Executive of the year,” said Joe McCann, president of the Penn State Hotel and Restaurant Society.  “We recognize his industry leadership and appreciate his commitment to hospitality research and education.”

As STR's leader, Smith is widely quoted in the industry as the authority on hotel industry performance, and he is a frequent keynote speaker at industry conferences and seminars. He received the 2011 Lodging Hospitality Magazine's Stephen W. Brener Silver Plate Award, and he is the 2010 recipient of the Americas Lodging Investment Summit Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the lodging industry.

In 2007, Smith was inducted into the Florida State University College of Business Hall of Fame. He is a member and past co-chairman of the Industry Real Estate Financing Advisory Council (IREFAC) and the 2002 recipient of the prestigious IREFAC C. Everett Johnson Award. He also is the vice-chair of the American Hotel Foundation Funding Committee, a charter member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC), and a former member of the ISHC board of directors. In addition, he is the recipient of the 1996 Industry Pioneer Award of the ISHC for outstanding contributions to the lodging industry.

The Penn State Hotel & Restaurant Society (PSHRS) was established in 1948 to strengthen the hospitality profession and to enhance the reputation of the hotel, restaurant, and institutional management program in the Penn State School of Hospitality Management. PSHRS and the school created the Hospitality Executive of the Year Award in 1960 to honor individuals who exemplify the successful leadership characteristics that they strive to instill in students and to convey to alumni and colleagues.

Last year’s award recipient was Roger Dow, president and chief executive officer of U.S. Travel Association. Previous winners include Niki Leondakis, chief operating officer, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants; Andrew Kerin, group president, Global Food, Hospitality and Facility Services, ARAMARK Corporation; Tom Giannopoulos, chairman, president and CEO of MICROS Systems, Inc.; Richard Schnieders, chairman and CEO of SYSCO Corporation; James Broadhurst, chairman and CEO, Eat’n Park Hospitality Group; Robert F. Cotter, president and chief operating officer of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.; Allan L. Schuman, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Ecolab, Inc.; Michel Landel, president and CEO of Sodexho; Marilyn Carlson Nelson, chairman and CEO of Carlson Companies, Inc.; Joseph Neubauer, chairman and CEO, ARAMARK; Henry R. Silverman, chairman and CEO, HFS Incorporated; Herman Cain, former president, Godfather’s Pizza; Raymond Schultz, former president and CEO, Promus Hotel Corporation; J.W. Marriott, Jr., chairman and president, Marriott Corporation; Barron Hilton, chairman and president, Hilton Hotels Corporation; and Walter J. Conti, a past member of the Penn State Board of Trustees, retired owner of Conti’s Cross Keys Inn and Pipersville Inn in Doylestown (Pennsylvania), and creator of the distinguished Conti Professorship in the School of Hospitality Management.

Brian Black
Director, Hospitality and Industry Relations
School of Hospitality Management
The Pennsylvania State University
201 Mateer Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: 814-865-1853


For additional information, please contact the College of Health and Human Development Office of College Relations at 814-865-3831 or