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MIAMI—Hotel owners, operators and developers, along with those hoping to enter the industry, were treated to a pep rally of sorts during the opening general session of the International African American Hotel Ownership & Multicultural Tourism Summit this week at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa by Marriott.
Andy Ingraham, president and CEO of National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers, was his usual up-front self with the audience. Things might be challenging right now, but the goal of the conference and NABHOOD are the same: “To change the paradigm of the industry and bring wealth to African Americans.” Everyone was in the room for the same reason, he said.
“Our friends are here in the room,” he said. “These are the folks that will stay with you through the course to make it happen.”
Michael Roberts, CEO and president of Roberts Companies and chairman of NABHOOD, suggested African Americans looking for reparations have it in the form of stimulus money.
“There’s a trillion dollars coming out of an African American White House,” he said. “It’s up to you to find out how to get it.”
Roberts also announced Roberts Companies would be managing hotels and Curtis Dean, retired from Marriott, is now VP for Roberts Hotel Group. He closed by suggesting anything is possible.
“It doesn’t matter who I am, what matters is who we are—we’re using good business principles always,” Roberts said. “You’re in this room because you can afford to be here. You don’t let the bank dictate who you are.”
The last speaker of the general session was Deno Yiankes, president and CEO—investments and development of White Lodging Services Corporation, which manages more than 140 hotels comprising more than 19,000 guestrooms. Yiankes offered forward-looking thoughts about the hotel industry and said there will be a huge buying opportunity.
“It’s not here yet, but it’s coming,” he said.
There’s no reason to sell, however.
“I agree with Steve Rushmore that anything in the next 18 months is liquidation values, not market values,” Yiankes said. “Hold on until value comes back.”
New builds generally win, Yiankes said.
“It’s probably one of best times to think about building if you can secure the financing,” he said.