Building Equity in the Hospitality Industry

Building Equity in the Hospitality Industry

The hospitality industry is booming. Despite the challenges barring new regulations, stimulus programs, and protocols established when the pandemic hit, the global revenue for travel and tourism is an estimated $447.4 billion [Hotel Tech Report, 2022]. Compare that to the $29.6 billion that African Americans spend annually on travel, and you'll find those numbers tell a different story of the equity gap in underserved communities and populations. 

Founded in 1998, NABHOOD (National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators, and Developers) is a professional association whose mission is to increase the number of African Americans developing, managing, operating, and owning hotels. They fulfill their mission by promoting vendor opportunities and creating more executive-level jobs, which in turn help to build wealth within the African American community

Kicking off their 26th Annual International African American Hotel Ownership & Investment Summit & Trade Show beginning July 13th thru the 15th, at the Hilton Miami Airport Blue Lagoon, conference-goers will be offered workshops on the hospitality industry, hotel ownership/investment prospects, industry supplier diversity updates and opportunities, the latest minority travel trends, and one-of-a-kind networking opportunities. It's also a chance for the sector to have frank conversations on ensuring diverse, inclusive, and accessible tourism experiences are at the top of the priority list.

NABHOOD reports that African Americans own less than 2% of the nation's hotels. Choosing to patronize Black-owned properties helps these businesses grow and sheds light on how customers can help support closing the equity gap. 

Owner + Los Angeles Property Spotlight

Warren Fields, President, Chief Executive Officer, and Co-Founder of Pyramid Hotel Group, and Robert L. Johnson, Founder, and Chairman of The RLJ Companies, LLC, represent the 2% Black ownership in the Los Angeles area. Both understand the benefit of supporting the development of diverse tourism products, addressing their businesses' financial and workplace needs, and delivering the world-class experiences and customer services that set them apart.

Fields has grown the Boston-based management firm from three hotels in 1999 to over 120 hotels in the United States, Caribbean, and Western Europe. Before assuming the responsibilities of President and CEO, Fields was Chief Investment Officer and responsible for all aspects of business development (acquisitions, management & asset management contracts, fundraising, ground-up development, and investments, including M&A deals). Fields is a Cornell University School of Hotel Administration graduate and a member of its advisory board. Pyramid Hotel Group is a franchisee of all major hotel brand companies and operates independent four and five-star hotels and resorts.

Johnson has led an innovative business network and owns or holds interests in businesses operating in hotel real estate, private equity, 401k fintech services, automobile dealerships, content streaming, gaming, and sports betting. Before forming The RLJ Companies, Johnson was the founder and chairman of Black Entertainment Television (BET), the nation's first Black-owned cable television network. He has been named by USA Today as one of the 25 Most Influential Business Leaders of the Past 25 Years. He holds his place at number two on Black Enterprise's list of "Titans: The 40 Most Powerful African Americans in Business" 40th Anniversary Issue and is a frequent CNBC Contributor. Johnson holds a master's degree in International Affairs from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Studies from the University of Illinois.

Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles — Pyramid Hotel Group

Located less than one mile from LAX Airport and SoFi Stadium, the 4-star hotel offers free, 24-hour shuttle services to and from the terminals, a modern hotel fitness center, and an outdoor, resort-style pool, complete with private cabanas. You can choose from a selection of restaurants and bars specializing in California cuisine and craft cocktails. A great space to plan your next event in Los Angeles, book your poolside wedding reception or consider using their updated meeting venues or full-service, all-inclusive conference center for up to 1,000 guests. And at the end of the day, find comfort in the stylish suites with marble accents, high-speed WiFi, large TVs, and their Sheraton Signature Sleep Experience. 6101 West Century Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90045

Sheraton Gateway San Gabriel — Pyramid Hotel Group

Stylish décor reminiscent of the '40s accentuates the high ceilings in the Sheraton Los Angeles San Gabriel lobby. Located near the Huntington Library, the Sheraton Gateway San Gabriel is ideal for exploring the museum's extensive collection of art and rare manuscripts. Their in-house hotel restaurant, OPAL Chinese Cuisine, serves up a variety of unique Cantonese flavors. You can relax in their hotel spa and access a wide range of revitalizing treatments before heading to the outdoor pool or state-of-the-art fitness center for your workout. The full-service business center gives you a home base away from your office so you won't miss a beat. Spacious guest rooms add to your CA adventure with robot butlers providing wake-up calls and on-demand housekeeping service. Enjoy the stunning views offered by the San Gabriel Mountains or the Los Angeles skyline from the comfort of your room and unwind with a rain shower in their marble bathrooms and let the sanctuary feel of the property exceed your expectations. 303 East Valley Boulevard, San Gabriel, CA 91776

Wyndham Santa Monica At The   Pier — RLJ Lodging Trust

The Wyndham Santa Monica Beach At The Pier Hotel is a charming ocean-side property in Los Angeles. Within proximity to iconic attractions like the Santa Monica Pier and Santa Monica Beach, finding an adventure is easily accessible and just steps away from the property. Designed with guests' comfort and well-being in mind, the state-of-the-art fitness center is open 24/7, and the outdoor heated pool is an ideal spot to get energized and take in the Cali sunshine. All 132 guest rooms provide a serene ambiance and offer free WiFi, ergonomic workstations, a 32-inch flat-panel TV, and plush pillow-top beds. You can also choose rooms with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. 120 Colorado Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Hyatt House San Diego + Sorrento Mesa — RLJ Lodging Trust

Located in the Sorrento Valley near La Jolla, Del Mar, and Torrey Pines State Park, the Hyatt House San Diego / Sorrento Mesa is a family-friendly hotel that offers a serene and clean environment that welcomes pets. Enjoy the residential-inspired rooms and suites and catch a relaxing siesta on their signature plush Hyatt Grand Beds™. Amenities boast a fully equipped kitchen, sleeper sofa, and a 42" flat-screen TV. The dedicated workstation and extra connections will keep you productive and on-task if you are traveling for business. Take a bike and explore various local attractions from beautiful beaches, natural areas, museums, and parks. Visit the San Diego Zoo, Birch Aquarium, or SeaWorld San Diego and pop into the hip boutiques of La Jolla before immersing yourself in a lively dining and nightlife scene. Depending on your dining needs, the complimentary breakfast buffet is the perfect way to start your day of sightseeing. The H Market offers a 24-hour grab-and-go for your grocery and snack needs, while H Bar provides an elevated dining experience with premium alcoholic beverages and delicious American fare. 10044 Pacific Mesa Blvd., San Diego, CA 92121

Tourism helps to drive the economy, and with the continued advocacy of NABHOOD, the number of Black owners, operators, and developers grows annually. The industry has a lot of work to do, but representation makes all the difference.

To register for the NABHOOD 26th Annual International African American Hotel Ownership & Investment Summit & Trade Show, visit

To learn more about Pyramid Hotel Group and RLJ Companies LLC, visit: and