Mike Leven was honored by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Las Vegas Board of Directors following his retirement as CEO of Las Vegas Sands last week.
The board, which is comprised of senior sales, marketing and revenue management executives in the market, paid tribute to Leven at a breakfast prior to its annual strategic planning meeting.
“Mike Leven’s customer centric leadership style has provided thousands of hospitality sales professionals around the world a mentor who has been a constant advocate for the importance of genuine hospitality: serving customers,” HSMAI president and CEO Bob Gilbert said. “Mike has leveraged this customer focus and leadership style to turn around and develop multiple hotel companies over his four decade career. His legacy will continue to foster current and future leaders in Las Vegas through HSMAI.”
Under Leven’s leadership, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation made a $500,000 donation to HSMAI to help develop HSMAI’s presence in the Las Vegas area, including a collegiate chapter at UNLV. In the first year, HSMAI Las Vegas has produced a number of successful educational programs in the market, and membership has grown to more than 125 members.
Leven has spent his entire career in the hotel industry. He formed US Franchise Systems, Inc. (USFS) in 1995, which franchises the Microtel Inns & Suites, Hawthorn Suites, and America’s Best Inns & Suites hotel brands. Before that, he served as president and chief operating officer of Holiday Inn Worldwide. During his five-year tenure, the new Holiday Inn Express brand grew from 0 to 330 open hotels, with a backlog of 500-plus units.
Leven was president of Days Inn of America from 1985 to 1990, where led the company through a reorganization resulting in growth from a 225-unit regional chain to one of the largest brands in the world, with over 1,000 open units and 400 signed franchise agreements. He was also responsible for leading Days’ initiatives to hire older workers, people with disabilities and the homeless, and was recognized by AARP as “Outstanding Employer.” Leven also served as president of Americana Hotels.
Leven co-founded the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) which now has over 8,000 members, and has lectured at most of the hotel schools in the U.S. He is former international president of the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and a member of HSMAI’s Hall of Fame.