Lynette Montoya, president and CEO of the Latino Hotel Association, said the organization is focused on attracting more Latinos to hotel ownership.
REPORT FROM THE U.S.—Lynette Montoya fell into the hotel industry by accident from the hotel brokerage space and noticed an immediate need for change.
Montoya, president and CEO of the Latino Hotel Association, said she transacted some significant properties during her time as a broker, and if she had not done those deals, she “wouldn’t have understood the true value of this industry.”
Walking into her first investment conference, Montoya said “it was a sea of white men in great suits.”
“It was very unnerving and very uncomfortable,” she said. “I am a short person and I’m Hispanic … and walking in there and just seeing what was one-sided made me realize that this needs to shift.”
The Latino Hotel Association is working toward that shift by providing knowledge and information to the Latino hotelier community, she said.
The organization engages and educates members through its annual conference and partnerships with other industry groups such as the Asian American Hotel Owners Association and the American Hotel and Lodging Association, she said.
The Latino Hotel Association is in the process of forming an alliance with AHLA, which will kick off in January. AHLA, with its far-reaching effort, can give the Latino Hotel Association a stage to promote its goals, Montoya said.
The result of the U.S. presidential election could open discussions “we may not have had before” about the advancement of Latinos in the hotel industry, Montoya said.
“Maybe we had the opportunity to have (discussions) before but we didn’t know we could, so I think we could really start that synergy,” she said. “With AHLA being in (Washington, D.C.,) I think there could be roads paved to really provide opportunities and have those conversations.”
The Latino Hotel Association is also helping its owners navigate the COVID-19 pandemic by connecting them with insurance experts who can help with solutions on mortgages, and by “providing as much information as we can,” Montoya said.
Latinos in the U.S. are on the edge of great success, Montoya said.
“If they can see the side of (hotel) ownership and where it can take them … those are the goals of really providing the information and helping put groups together to start looking at the possibilities,” she said.
There’s a lack of knowledge about hotel ownership that the Latino Hotel Association is trying to fill in for its members, she said.
The goal is to “make a strong case (for hotel ownership) and be really informative” and to help those considering ownership look at ownership trends, she said.