NABHOOD: Success in Minority Franchising

By Gerald Fernandez, Sr. President & Founder, Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance | October 28, 2008

A TEN-YEAR PERSPECTIVE

First, let me say that I am not a hotel operator by training. I did not grow up in the family motel business and I did not attend college to become a future star of the lodging industry. I have, however, come to love the hotel business. I believe that if someone had introduced me to the business as a young man, my goal in life would have been to become a general manager of a major hotel property. But that is a story for another time.

For ten years, MFHA has been promoting the concept of diversity and inclusion as a key management strategy in the hospitality and foodservice industry. During this time, we have seen significant progress made in the areas of minority worker recruitment, diverse and under-leveraged community marketing and minority franchising.

According to NABHOOD (National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers) there are more than 200 African-American owned hotels. Consider that it was less than a dozen just ten years ago. Why has Black hotel ownership increased so dramatically? I believe that there are seven reasons for this success.

1. CHANGING ATTITIUDES & TIMES

Changing times in America have opened up dialog around creating wealth in under-leveraged communities. Simply put, the hardcore "racial red-liners" of an older generation are retiring, being pushed out and literally are dying off. Their children and grandchildren do not harbor the hatred and bigotry that once fueled discrimination against non-whites in business. Also, more and more leaders today have had multicultural experiences and therefore are not afraid to talk about and work on race issues.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.