MIAMI—It’s been all entrepreneurs on deck here at the waterside Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay, where the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers (NABHOOD) has been hosting its 21st annual International African American Hotel Ownership/Multicultural Tourism Summit and Trade Show.
More than 450 owners, investors, developers, hotel franchise company executives, political representatives and students descended on this vibrant city for the three-day event, which has a distinct focus on examining what it takes to be successful in the lodging space.
Attendees, from industry “newbies” to seasoned veterans, were offered a variety of informational sessions, workshops and panels—including a separate dedicated track for students—targeting industry trends and issues of interest.
“We are here in terms of looking at this industry to be very clear on how we can play a larger role—and a more impactful role—from an ownership perspective, not from an employee perspective,” said Andy Ingraham, the association’s founder, president and CEO, noting 823 hotels are now owned by NABHOOD members.
This year, the NABHOOD conference worked with the Latino Hotel Association (LHA) as well as the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) to offer insight and dedicated presentations on their specific organizations.
“What we decided to do was look at the tapestry of the hotel industry and what you see is what I call ‘the browning of America,’” said Ingraham, citing the composition of the three organizations.
“We have a lot of work to do, but in the future, Latinos are going to be the ones who are going to be the primary population in this United States,” said Lynette Montoya, president/CEO of LHA.
“We do this not because we have to, but because we want to,” Ingraham added, hinting the trio of organizations may join forces on events in the future.
“With these three organizations…the power that we have, not only in this room but as members—we have 16,000 members, NABHOOD has over 800 members, [LHA] has over 100 members—just the voice that we have as a unified industry; we make a great presence,” said AAHOA Chairman Bhavesh Patel. “We can’t do it just as AAHOA itself; we can’t do it as NABHOOD itself; can’t do it as LHA itself. We need to do it as a joint group.”
“My colleagues and my friends all understand we’ve got to grow together,” said Ingraham.
(Look for more NABHOOD Summit coverage in the Aug. 21 issue of Hotel Business.)