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Conrad N. Hilton College Announces 2011 Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor Inductees

Leaders of STR and Tata Sons are the newest inductees to the Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor.

Houston, TX, September 06, 2011 --( Three hospitality-industry visionaries, including the authorities on hotel industry performance trends and the chairman of India’s largest business conglomerate, are this year’s inductees into the prestigious Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor housed at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston.

Randy and Carolyn Smith, co-founders of STR (Smith Travel Research, Inc.), the global leader in hotel market data and performance benchmarking, and Ratan N. Tata, chairman of Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata Group, India’s largest business conglomerate that includes Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, will join some of hospitality’s biggest icons and industry giants in the Hospitality Hall of Honor at the annual induction ceremony to be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct.19, in the Conrad N. Hilton Ballroom at the Hilton University of Houston.

Randy and Carolyn Smith co-founded STR (Smith Travel Research, Inc.) more than 25 years ago. Randy Smith currently serves as the company’s chairman, and Carolyn Smith served as the chief operating officer for more than 20 years. The couple had the idea of creating a database that housed the names of all hotel properties in the United States. This concept evolved into the Hotel Census Database, which houses the information of more than 140,000 hotels worldwide—and growing. This database is what put STR on the map.

Ratan N. Tata is chairman of Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata Group, India’s largest business conglomerate, which was founded by his great grandfather, Jamsetji Tata. Since taking over as chairman in 1991, Tata has been instrumental in reshaping the Group. During his tenure, the group’s revenues have grown manifold, totaling $83.6 billion in 2010-11. The Group currently has the largest market capitalization of any business house on the Indian Stock Market. Though headquartered in Mumbai, more than half of the Group’s revenues come from outside India.

Tata is also the chairman of the major Tata companies, which include Tata Motors (incorporating Jaguar and Land Rover), Tata Steel, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Power, Tata Global Beverages, Tata Chemicals, Indian Hotels (better known as Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces) and Tata Teleservices. Tata serves on the board of directors of Fiat SpA and Alcoa. He is also on the international advisory boards of Mitsubishi Corporation, the American International Group, JP Morgan Chase, Rolls Royce, United Technologies, Temasek Holdings and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

A Board of Overseers, which includes representatives from the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the National Restaurant Association, Hilton College and past inductees or their representatives, nominate and elect each year’s Hall of Honor inductees.

The inaugural Hospitality Hall of Honor class of 1996 included four inductees—J. W. Marriott, Conrad N. Hilton, Vernon Stouffer and Kemmons Wilson. Since then, nearly 60 industry luminaries, including Ray Kroc, Howard Johnson, Ernest and Julio Gallo, Walt Disney and Conrad Hilton’s sons, Barron and Eric Hilton, have joined them.

The event, which has grown from its inception as a gala dinner and induction ceremony into a week-long affair featuring “Think Tank” sessions and roundtable discussions with Hall of Honor members, allows hospitality students at the Conrad N. Hilton College the chance to interact with industry leaders. These sessions serve not only as excellent networking opportunities, but also as extensions of classroom and experiential learning. An industry luncheon and a reunion dinner for the former inductees round out the week’s activities. All aspects of this event are managed and run by a student board of directors.

The 16th Annual Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor festivities on Oct. 19 will begin with a reception at 5:45 p.m., followed by the ceremony and dinner at 7 p.m. The event is black tie optional. Think Tank sessions with industry leaders, who will discuss a number of current hospitality topics, will be held Oct. 18 and 19. For more information on Hall of Honor events, or for ticket information, contact faculty mentor Alexis Hoey at 713.743.2432 or

Contact Information
Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management
Debbie Maurer

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