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.
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Bijal Patel, 31, is CEO of Coast Redwood Hospitality and the youngest chair of the California Hotel & Lodging Association. He’s made even more history at CHLA by agreeing to serve an unprecedented second term as the lodging industry emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. Patel is a third-generation hotelier. Being so steeped in hospitality at such a young age is not new for members of the Indian American hotelier community, but Patel fears the pandemic has drained the industry of emerging talent. Lodging Leaders spotlights Patel, who represents a leadership demographic that is fighting for the life of the hospitality industry as they watch their peers veer toward other career paths.
Many hotels these days have made room for guests with disabilities. Hotel managers and staff should also know what the Americans with Disabilities Act says about accommodating guests with pets. During the pandemic lockdowns, a lot of people added a pet to their household and now they’re bringing Fido along on vacation. Hotel employees need to know how to cater to both consumers who are pet owners as well as guests who travel with a trained service animal. Episode 329 of Lodging Leaders podcast reports on how the ADA defines a service animal and how a hotel is legally obligated to serve a guest who comes with a dog or any other animal.