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Michelle Russo, CHAM, MAI, CHA

Founder & CEO

  • Bachelor of Science, School of Hotel Administration, Cornell University

Michelle Russo, CHAM, MAI, CHA

Founder & CEO

Michelle Russo has over 30 years of hands-on experience with hotels, restaurants, resorts, convention centers, real estate, and finance. She has worked on thousands of hotel assets across the United States and, in 2003, founded Hotel Asset Value Enhancement. While Michelle oversees the practice, she is very involved in strategic asset positioning, management contract negotiations, and interacting with senior level brand and management executives on behalf of the portfolio.

Michelle has been named one of the 30 Influential Women in Hospitality by Hotel Management Magazine (October 2017) and one of 20 Women in Lodging by Lodging Magazine (September 2015). hotelAVE is a 100% Women-Owned Business Entity certified through the Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE).

Prior to founding hotelAVE, Michelle acted as Vice President – Senior Leisure Analyst, for Deutsche Banc Alex Brown, where she garnered capital markets experience. Michelle also managed a $500M portfolio for John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company where she improved the portfolio and achieved 20% cash-on-cash returns.

Michelle is a regular guest lecturer at Cornell University and has appeared on CNBC and CNN to provide commentary on the hospitality and leisure industry. She has also been invited as a speaker at numerous industry conferences.

“I wake up every day excited to make our clients successful and to support our associates in pursuit of that success.”

Affiliations
  • Dean’s Advisory Board for Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration
  • ULI’s Hotel Council
  • Marriott’s Distribution Strategy Owner Advisory Committee
  • AHLA Financial Management Committee (2012-present)
  • AHLA Hospitality Investment Roundtable
  • Past President of HAMA
  • Formerly on the Morgans Board of Directors and Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship Advisory Board at Cornell University
Publications/Articles
  • Add Value to a Hotel by Focusing on Cash Flow – Author – 2017 – Hotel News Now
  • How Will the 11th Edition of the Uniform System Affect Your Management Agreement? – Author – 2014
  • Owners at Risk of Losing $2.1B in Asset Value: An Analysis of the New Expedia Traveler Preference Program – Co-Author – 2012
  • Benchmarking & Financial Analysis (Ch. 11) – Hotel Asset Management Principles and Practices 2nd Ed. – Co-Author – 2009
Has worked at hotelAVE since
2003
Interests and Hobbies

Outside of work, Michelle enjoys playing tennis, paddleboarding, spending time with family, and cheering on her son at fencing. Her other hobbies include cake decorating and photography.