AHLA, AHLA Foundation, The BHN Group Partner to Present The Arne Sorenson Social Impact Leadership Award at Annual Gala

LOS ANGELES (July 26, 2021) – The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), The American Hotel & Lodging Foundation, and The BHN Group announced a new award to recognize and honor the transformational leadership of industry icon, Arne Sorenson, former president & CEO of Marriott International who died earlier this year.

The Arne Sorenson Social Impact Leadership Award will be awarded in memory of Sorenson annually during the AHLA Foundation’s premier fundraising gala, the annual Night of a Thousand Stars and during the annual Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS).  

Known for his progressive leadership, Sorenson utilized his platform as the head of a major international corporation to address national and global issues – including diversity, equity, and inclusion; environmental sustainability; human trafficking awareness and prevention; among others. The Arne Sorenson Social Impact Leadership Award will be presented to a senior-level executive in the lodging industry who strives to drive change through strong leadership and community engagement, exemplifying these values every day.  

“Arne was a visionary leader driven by passion for his people, the millions of associates around the world who worked for and with him and by a desire to spread a love for travel. He was an icon in our industry, dedicated to improving the lodging experience for the guests we serve and the people who serve them,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “While Arne’s business accomplishments are apparent to all, his championing of social change made our entire industry better for everyone, and we are proud to bestow this award on future generations who exude his best qualities: his decency, generosity, and compassion.”

“The AHLA Foundation was proud to partner with AHLA and The BHN Group to unveil The Arne Sorenson Social Impact Leadership Award at the annual Night of a Thousand Stars gala,” said Rosanna Maietta, president and CEO of The American Hotel & Lodging Foundation. “The ceremony seeks to honor those who go above and beyond for their guests and our hotels, showing their dedication to our industry day in and day out – just like Arne did. With this recognition, we hope his legacy lives on and helps propel the industry forward.”

“We welcomed Arne’s vision and insights to ALIS many times over the years, and he is greatly missed. On behalf of ALIS, The BHN Group, and Northstar Travel Group, we are delighted to be partnering with AHLA and the AHLA Foundation for this important award in Arne’s name,” said Jeff Higley, president of The BHN Group. “We thank the Sorenson Family, Marriott and the Marriott Family for allowing us to establish this award in his honor. Arne’s dedication to having a positive social impact at every level of the industry was incomparable. He further humanized a people industry and made it stronger through his actions. This award will help Arne’s legacy and spirit to live on as we seek to recognize those who, like him, have great ambition to make the world’s greatest industry even better.”

This annual award, with nominations reviewed by AHLA’s Executive Committee, and representatives from ALIS, will be given to a recipient announced each year at Night of a Thousand Stars and will receive recognition at ALIS. The first honoree will be announced in January 2022 at the AHLA Foundation’s Night of a Thousand Stars gala. More information on nominations to follow.

About AHLA

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the sole national association representing all segments of the U.S. lodging industry. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA focuses on strategic advocacy, communications support and workforce development programs to move the industry forward. In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, the hospitality was the first industry impacted and it will be among the last to recover. That is why AHLA is committed to promoting safe travel while also creating a standardized safety experience nationwide through the Safe Stay initiative. With an enhanced set of health and safety protocols designed to provide a safe and clean environment for all hotel guests and employees, hotels across America are ready to welcome back travelers when they are ready to travel. Learn more at

About The AHLA Foundation:  
The AHLA Foundation, the charitable giving arm of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, is dedicated to helping people build careers, improve their lives and strengthen the lodging industry. We are committed to elevating, educating, and empowering individuals and the public on the industry’s story of opportunity and advancement. Since its founding in 1953, the Foundation has distributed over $27 million in support of the industry and is committed to ensuring a strong and viable workforce for the entire lodging industry. The Foundation is funded solely by contributions from generous individuals and companies who want to give back to the hotel industry and ensure a successful future. Learn more at

About ALIS
Produced by Northstar Travel Group, in association with the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and The BHN Group (, the two-and-a-half-day ALIS event features an extensive array of seminars and panels hosted by leading experts and investors discussing important trends and identifying new opportunities. The conference attracts the lodging industry’s leading hotel executives, investors, lenders, developers, and professional advisory community. This year’s ALIS was moved to July 26-28, 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2022 conference is expected to revert to its usual January timeframe as it is scheduled for January 24-26, 2022. Learn more at