The more things change, the more they stay the same
The more things change, the more they stay the same
02 MAY 2019 7:35 AM

We’re in the middle of positive change at Hotel News Now. Welcome aboard.

I attend a lot of big industry conferences, and the main general session panel, usually filled with big-name CEOs and presidents, is a stalwart—as is a lot of what they talk about, only not in a good way. Let me put it this way: Hearing their messages about big-picture issues and challenges affecting the industry is always a good reminder about priorities, but the message can get stale fast.

That’s why I enjoyed the way this panel was executed at last week’s AAHOA conference in San Diego. So much of the AAHOA mission is built on family business issues, so this year, executives from prestigious companies took the stage to talk about how their heritage and family businesses have had an impact in shaping their personal and professional values today.

This message means a lot to me in particular right now because we’re facing a new phase of evolution here at Hotel News Now. I recently took the role of editorial director at Hotel News Now, as we say goodbye and good luck to HNN founder and my own professional mentor Jeff Higley, who is moving on to his next big opportunity.

I have always felt like Hotel News Now is a family business. Of course, we’re part of a legendary family business in the travel space—STR—and Jeff built HNN to fit hand-in-hand with the values of our company.

So I thought this transition was a good opportunity to talk a little bit about our values and commitments at HNN. On behalf of the HNN team, we thank Jeff and STR for building these values and supporting us as we bring them to our work every day.

We are committed to fair and balanced journalism. There’s a reason why we have always tended to hire newspaper reporters for our team. News is what we do, and that will never change. Balanced sourcing, fact-checking, copy editing and all-around excellent reporting, writing and design are the baselines we build on. No #fakenews here.

Ethics and transparency are our foundation. When we make mistakes, we own them and tell you we’ve made them. We disclose when other organizations pay for our trips. We challenge each other every day to be better. We’re not perfect; we make mistakes. But we’re open to being better every day. Above all, we know that our credibility is our calling card and our reputation. Thank you for that, Jeff.

We don’t rely on rumor or anonymous sources. An unfortunate byproduct of the 24-hour news cycle is that all too often we see news attributed to “people familiar with the matter” cited in big-name news outlets, like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. We don’t do that here at HNN, because facts matter. We’d prefer to wait and get the real story from a real person (usually a couple real people; not just one!), rather than just parrot back a rumor. I’ve covered this industry long enough to know how many rumors are out there, and how few of them turn out to be true. (Fun fact: The truth usually is a lot more interesting and juicy anyway.)

Audience matters. We’re here for you, to bring this industry the information it needs and wants in the formats it needs and wants. We’re here to challenge your thinking, bring you different viewpoints and give you content you’re not getting elsewhere. We’re in the front row of industry events and we lead discussions at those events because that brings us closer to what you want.

I am so excited to see where Hotel News Now goes from here. This industry is changing so much, and that’s our mandate for change as well. Please let me know how we’re doing anytime. Comment below, email me at or find me on Twitter @HNN_Steph.

The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Hotel News Now or its parent company, STR and its affiliated companies. Bloggers published on this site are given the freedom to express views that may be controversial, but our goal is to provoke thought and constructive discussion within our reader community. Please feel free to comment or contact an editor with any questions or concerns.


  • Daniel Lesser May 2, 2019 11:39 AM Reply

    Terrific opinion piece Stephanie. Congratulations to you and Jeff.....two hotel industry media stalwarts.

  • Robert Rauch May 3, 2019 8:37 AM Reply

    Stephanie, HNN's orderly transition is another indication of the quality of the organization. Best of luck--great decision to put you at the helm!

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