Monty Bennett

Henderson County, Texas

A Visionary Leader in Hospitality

Monty Bennett stands as a prominent figure in the realm of hospitality, hailing from the vibrant city of Dallas, Texas. His illustrious journey in the hospitality industry is characterized by his stewardship over Ashford, Inc., Ashford Hospitality Trust, and Braemar Hotels and Resorts, collectively managing and operating an impressive portfolio of more than 100 hotels across the United States.

The Roots and Expansion of a Hospitality Empire

The roots of his remarkable collection of upscale properties trace back to the late 1960s. Over the ensuing decades, Monty's visionary leadership and strategic insight transformed the family business into an industry powerhouse, expanding their initial six hotels to a formidable fleet exceeding 130. In addition, his teams expertly oversee 13 exquisite resort properties located in six states and the enchanting U.S. Virgin Islands.

Educational Background and Personal Life

He is a distinguished alumnus of Cornell University. Growing up as one of seven siblings in the heart of Houston, Texas, he has found his home between Dallas, Texas, and the charming town of Athens, situated an hour southeast of Dallas, where he and his ever-growing family have cherished for over three decades.

Bennett currently holds pivotal roles and responsibilities in the hospitality realm. He is the esteemed chairman and founder of Braemar Hotels & Resorts, the visionary chairman and founder of Ashford Hospitality Trust, and the dynamic CEO of Ashford, Inc.

Founding Ashford Hospitality Trust

Braemar Hotels & Resorts, established in 2013 as an offshoot of Ashford Hospitality Trust, flourishes under his sagacious leadership, boasting a remarkable portfolio of 13 distinctive properties. Among them, two gems shine brightly: The Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe in the picturesque Nevada County, California.

At the heart of Braemar Hotels & Resorts lie five core principles championed by him, focusing on ethics, innovation, profitability, engagement, and tenacity.

Professional Acumen and Charitable Spirit

In 2003, Monty Bennett laid the foundation for Ashford Hospitality Trust, an investment trust primarily dedicated to upscale, full-service hotels. Under his guidance, Ashford Hospitality Trust went public in 2013, now presiding over a diversified portfolio of more than 110 properties. Notable gems within this collection include The Ritz-Carlton Atlanta, the neighboring W Hotel Atlanta, and the elegant Renaissance Nashville Hotel.

Ashford Hospitality Trust shares the same five guiding principles as Braemar Hotels & Resorts while also embodying a profound philanthropic spirit. The company actively engages with and supports the local community through charitable initiatives, including its annual Community Service Day, and extends its generosity to organizations assisting those less fortunate.

In 2014, Monty introduced another visionary venture, Ashford, Inc., which serves as a trusted advisor to Braemar Hotels & Resorts and Ashford Hospitality Trust. This alternative asset management company is dedicated to providing global asset management, investment management, and related services to both entities. Furthermore, Ashford, Inc. plays a pivotal role in nurturing a broader portfolio of strategic operating businesses within the real estate and hospitality sector.

Leadership and Innovation 

Under his astute guidance, Ashford, Inc. boasts a dedicated Hospitality Products and Services department strategically positioned to invest in operating companies that cater to the ever-evolving hospitality industry. The company serves as an accelerator, propelling these enterprises to greater heights through innovative proprietary platforms and strategic partnerships. Bennett's visionary leadership has left an indelible mark on the world of hospitality, shaping the industry's future with unwavering dedication, expertise, and commitment to excellence.

Monty Bennett is a highly accomplished hospitality professional passionate about education and philanthropy. He earned his Bachelor of Science from the prestigious Cornell University School of Hotel Administration in 1988. Realizing the importance of formal education in his field, he pursued a Master of Business Administration from Cornell University Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management the following year.

In addition to his academic achievements, Bennett has a unique talent for understanding the deeper story behind numbers. Having worked in the hospitality industry for a considerable time, he is skilled at predicting trends and identifying underlying issues that may impact a property's performance. This expertise has helped him achieve great success in his career and become a respected leader in the industry.

Personal Passions and Civic Engagement

Bennett is also a firm believer in civic engagement and charitable work. He is vocal about the importance of educational equity, advocating for equal opportunities for children of all backgrounds to succeed. He has contributed to numerous charitable organizations both through his efforts and through the Ashford companies. These include the American Cancer Society, Alzheimer's Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boy Scouts of America, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Dallas Champions Academy, Dallas Children's Advocacy Center, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, Jackie Robinson Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Junior League of Dallas, Project Lyme, Ronald McDonald House of Houston, Runway for Rising, Salvation Army, Sky Ranch, Special Olympics, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and Teach for America.

When Monty Bennett is not working, Bennett enjoys spending time with his family at his Dallas home and on his 1,500-acre ranch in Athens, TX, which has been in his family for generations. Bennett's dedication to his profession, his community, and his charitable causes is an inspiration to many.

Learn More: The Importance of Outstanding Hospitality Management