HB ON THE SCENE: Leaders Weigh in on The Environment & The Bottom Line

February 11, 2019 by Corris Little


FORT LAUDERDALE, FL—Sustainability is a complex concept. While there are many environmental benefits, it can also be considered costly and a logistical challenge. Can a focus on sustainability and maximizing profitability coexist?

Hosted and sponsored by Valley Forge Fabrics Inc., the Hotel Business Executive Roundtable, “Balancing the Green: The Environment & The Bottom Line” brought hospitality experts together this month to explore pricing, products and practices—as well as the decision-making processes that go into selecting (or not) sustainable products for hotel projects.

“We wanted to pull all of you together because we really wanted your feedback so we can continue to invest in the right areas within our products,” said Diana Dobin, president, Valley Forge Fabrics Inc. “From what I’m hearing, the designers at the table have said, ‘Yes, please keep investing in your sustainable products.’ So things like roller shades and draperies and upholstery, we will continue to do all that.”

A leader in hospitality upholstery fabrics, Valley Forge Fabric’s sprawling 73,000-sq.-ft. headquarters houses a significantly sized performance textile archive, a fabric-testing laboratory and high-tech textile production areas. Designed by Stantec, the facility is also certified LEED Silver and making it a fitting location to discuss how sustainability can be more widespread in the hospitality industry.

While the hospitality industry as a whole has made great strides in terms of implementing sustainability, everyone agreed there’s much more work to be done.

“We are building upon what we started by leveraging what matters to guests and making it palatable to developers,” said Amy Hulbert, VP of boutique & upscale brands, Best Western Hotels & Resorts. “We must educate people and make sure everyone understands what the options are.”

It’s about building a narrative and properly communicating all of the benefits to key stakeholders at the very start of the project.

“We need to be more proactive in asking questions at the beginning, and ask about sustainability instead of being the passive actor in the project. We should bring it up front and try to get them to think differently,” said Linda Hein, SVP of training & development, The Parker Company.

Walter Barela, principal of Peak Hospitality, added, “Passion is infectious. If you believe, I will believe. Give me an option to choose. Tell the story correctly and people will bite.”

“It’s about education. We all have a part of it,” said Liliane Moura, VP of business development at Benjamin West. “You do have to tie in the economic benefits. We have a lot of power. We touch so many people. We’re not doing enough, and it’s so needed.”

The participants wholeheartedly agreed that it’s simply not an option to overlook nor neglect matters of sustainability as the risk is too great.

“In presentations I give on sustainability, I like to use this quote from The Lorax by Dr. Seuss: ‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not,’ said Chris Kearney, LEED AP and VP of EXP. “We have to show we care. It’s not about payback but doing the right thing.”

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LHA Featured on No Vacancy with Glenn Haussman

January 2019

Meet Our Newest Board Member

August 29, 2018

gisela levy.jpg

We would like to introduce our newest Board Member of the Latino Hotel Association, Gisela Levy, Vice President of Acquisitions & Real Estate Operations at AD1 Global (right). 

As Vice President of Acquisitions, Levy is responsible for the company’s daily operations, acquisitions, property negotiations and coordinates project renovations for acquired properties. She is an expert at inspecting, analyzing acquisitions, and managing construction projects for viability and efficiency. Gisela joined the company in 2011 and has become an instrumental part of the AD1 Global team. Gisela received her Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering from Andres Bello Catholic University in Venezuela. Since then she has been involved in construction projects and management operations for developers and commercial properties. 

Gisela brings valuable experience to the board and we are looking forward to a great year!

ABQ Hotel Changes Brand, Plans $2M Renovation

August 21, 2018 from the Albuquerque Business Journal


Soon an Albuquerque hotel that dates to the 1960s will look different inside and out. MCM Elegante, 2020 Menaul Blvd. NE, has changed its name to Ramada by Wyndham Albuquerque Midtown and will soon go through a $2 million renovation.

ABQ Hotel Projects LLC recently acquired the 350-room hotel from Odessa, Texas-based MCM Hotel Family for an undisclosed price, according to Peak Hospitality. Peak Hospitality, an Albuquerque-based hotel management company, will be in charge of renovating the hotel, said Principal Walter Barela. Barela said the hotel will continue to fill the need of a full-service convention hotel in the near Downtown area.Barela said the group decided to re-flag the hotel under the Ramada banner because of its location and age. "It's a great property; great bones," Barela said. "It's positioned right

for the market."

The hotel's renovation is already underway with the exterior being painted. Next up: renovation of the hotel's entrance, lobby and bar. Once the public areas are completed, renovation will begin on all of the hotel's guest rooms. Barela also the new owners eventually want to add 9,000 square feet of convention space.

"There's not enough meeting space," Barela said. "We plan down the road to expand that space."Peak Hospitality will subcontract the renovation work. Before MCM Elegante, the hotel was a corporate-owned Holiday Inn until it was sold in the late 2000s. "It's pretty rare for a hotel — for commercial property in general — to only change hands three times in

nearly 60 years," Barela said.

The hotel has served as the host of the Duke City Medical Cannabis Convention and was the host hotel of the Senior Olympics State Summer Games this summer. Peak Hospitality manages $50 million in assets, according to the company. Albuquerque's hotel scene is busy, with a new 89-room Fairfield Inn & Suites hotel and a proposed 85- room Tru by Hilton hotel. Hotel occupancy rates for Albuquerque increased from 57 percent to 60 percent from 2012 to 2016, according to Visit Albuquerque.