283 | Seizing the Moment: Black hotel owners and investors see opportunity to prosper


In a recent Zoom conference hosted by the African American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, hospitality entrepreneur Kristin Kitchen talked about her lodging company that showcases Black heritage and supports minority-owned companies.

Kitchen is part of a trend toward building hospitality ventures related to Black history and culture, a sub-sector of the $200 billion global Heritage Tourism movement, which also ranks as the fastest-growing travel trend in America.

As with most hospitality ventures, Kitchen and her company, Sojourn Heritage Accommodations, are struggling to do business amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the effort to increase the number of Black-owned hotels continues, albeit at a reduced pace.

During the business lull, two entrepreneurs new to the scene are developing fresh concepts that celebrate Black culture and cater to the next generation of travelers.

In this episode of Lodging Leaders we feature Damon Lawrence, founder of Homage Hospitality Group in Oakland, California, and Robin Staten, founder of Tiny Urban Escapes in Indianapolis, Indiana. They share their visions for independent boutique accommodations and how they’re preparing to capitalize on pent-up demand during and after the coronavirus crisis.

Resources and Links

  • 311 | Shelters From the Norm: Hotels used for hospitals and housing face unexpected problems

    A year ago, Darshan Patel, CEO of Hotel Investment Group in San Diego, California, was one of the first hoteliers in the U.S. to step up and offer properties to overwhelmed hospitals seeking places to care for COVID and non-COVID patients as well as vulnerable populations. As the crisis eases and Hotel Investment Group works to return the hotels to business, Patel is negotiating with local governments to pay for the wear and tear on the properties. Patel is not alone as many hoteliers are unexpectedly dealing with problems that state and local governments’ urgent decisions have created, including property damage, increased costs and eviction bans. This report is the second in a two-part series examining the pros and cons of opening hotels to alternative uses during the pandemic. It is part of Long Live Lodging’s special coverage of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hospitality industry.

  • 310 | Hotels Convert to Housing: Federal COVID-19-relief funds fuel transactions

    Dhruv Patel, president of Ridgemont Hospitality, in October shared a bittersweet moment with his parents, Pravin and Sima Patel, when the family business sold the first motel that Pravin had built from the ground up more than 30 years ago. But they rest assured knowing it was the right decision because the 22-room property is being converted into affordable housing for military veterans at risk of homelessness. The transaction is among hundreds taking place across the U.S. as state and local governments work with non-profit agencies to create affordable housing solutions for vulnerable populations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In Episode 310 Long Live Lodging reports on the financial and legal aspects of what it takes to convert a hotel into long-term housing. This report is part of Long Live Lodging’s special coverage of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hospitality industry.

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