As part of Avendra’s recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, 2023, and its theme of Driving Prosperity, Power, and Progress in America, we are pleased to highlight the Latino Hotel Association and its efforts to promote Latino hotel ownership.
Lynette Montoya, President and CEO of the Latino Hotel Association sold her first hotel in San Antonio, Texas. It was then she realized the fantastic opportunities for Latino ownership in the accommodations industry.
“I went to my first hotel investment conference and struggled to find someone who looked like me to connect with. There were a few women there, but no Latinos. I knew from that moment, I needed to help make a change,” Lynette said.
In 2016, she was approached by the Latino Hotel Association to take the lead in their organization. She made the move from real estate to the Latino Hotel Association presidency and has spent the last six years trying to educate Latinos about the benefits of hotel ownership.
“Ownership is where true wealth is and while we definitely play a role in supporting Latino management, we’d like to encourage those in management to consider moving into ownership or investment.”
Recently the Latino Hotel Association published its inaugural Latino Hotel and Entrepreneurship Investment Report (LHEI Annual Report 2023) among the highlights of the report are:
• Hispanics, through sole or share ownership, make up 9.1% of the total ownership of accommodations firms in the U.S.
• From 2017-2019, Hispanic-run companies in the accommodations industry have grown their payroll more than six times faster than the overall industry average.
• Since 2003, Hispanics have overtaken other races/ethnicities in entrepreneurship.
Lynette explained that a lack of understanding of the hotel industry and ownership structures is the biggest hurdle to overcome for Latino ownership. “There’s a lack of Latino ownership, but many Latinos don’t think they could own a hotel. They don’t necessarily understand franchising structures and financing opportunities. Culturally, Latinos prefer to pay in full rather than finance, but we can show them how successful financing in this industry can help increase their wealth.”
Other barriers to Latino ownership are feeling that the risk is too great and that they don’t know enough about hotel management and operations. The truth is, that franchising and working with management groups mitigates much of this risk through mentoring and guidance.
“Networking with other Latino hotel owners is critical to building trust and educating others. We host a conference to provide networking and education opportunities for Latinos interested in learning more about hotel ownership. This year it will be October 11-12 in Dallas at the Hilton Southwood, owned by Carlos Rodriguez. Reports like the LHEI Report we published this year, along with conferences, provide more education and invitation into ownership,” Lynette said.
As an example of the success Latino hotel owners can experience, the original owners of that first hotel Lynette sold in San Antonio now own a chain of boutique hotels, primarily in New Mexico, and have expanded and added venues and wedding chapels to their hotels. The owners run their own management company and other businesses. And it all started with a single hotel.
Avendra associates have attended several conferences hosted by the Latino Hotel Association and will continue to share our expertise with this burgeoning ownership group.