This fall, the Latino Hotel Association (LHA) hosted its first "Hotel Franchising" forum held outside the United States in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico, Nov. 30 to Dec. 3. Of the 86 attendees, 90 percent were looking at new hotel development within Mexico, and 10 percent were looking toward developing hotels in the United States.
During the forum, attendees in hotel investors, owners and developers learned the fundamentals of hotel development, acquisition, repositioning and financing. Participants also heard strategies for executing successful hotel investment offerings and maximizing strong relationships with brands' management and franchise companies.
Following the success of its event, the association has started to look into the possibility of holding similar sessions in Central and South America. Many of those in attendance were hoteliers, representing 42 hotels with 76 to 150 rooms on average. Eighty percent expressed an interest in hotel franchising. Angela Gonzalez-Row, president and founder of LHA, said, "The positive interest and feedback exceeded our expectations. As a result of the success of the event, we intend to hold at least one additional forum next year, in conjunction with the Mexican Hotel Association."
Mexican attendees arrived from Saltillo, Monterrey, Guadalajara and Mexico City, as well as Monclova, Parras de la Fuenta, Zapopan and Piedras Negas. From the United States, Latino attendees arrived from Florida, Texas, Tennessee, New Mexico and California. Sponsors of the forum include Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts and Accor, as well as HVS International, JMBM, Carl Ross Design Group, LLW Architects, Smith Travel Research and Hotel and Motel Management Magazine.
Dedicated to increasing Latino participation in the hopsitality industry, to include ownership, leadership and commerce, the LHA began in 2010. Founded by a small group of Latino hotel owners and operators, its members collectively own and operate 95 hotels, representing more than 20,000 rooms, employing over 15,000 individuals and whose assets are valued at more than $2 billion.