"Sheila was a remarkable lady – someone who would always give the industry the time of day," said Maritim Hotels director of international sales Mark Spivey.
"Our industry has lost some great people like Keith Wrighton, Graham Ferguson and Tony Bosel, but Sheila Hayles is up there with these guys. All four of them had one thing in common – the decency they showed to all of their colleagues in the industry."
Hayles founded the company in 1981. She leaves behind husband Allan, who will continue to run the High Wycombe-based venue-finding service with Barbara Wheeler.