Everyone has a story. And, as we know from being in this business, even hotels have stories. The term “storytelling” has become such a part of the hospitality lexicon that a designer I was recently chatting with thinks it has become overused. Similar to authentic. Experiential. And, maybe these actual words have lost a bit of impact in the design narrative, but the meanings behind them are as alive as ever. Because people do want, well, an authentic experience that tells a story.
Storytelling is universal to the human experience. And, while we focus our attention to the creative scripts behind the inanimate objects we design and occupy in this hotel industry, we don’t always tell the stories of the people who make up what is also—and perhaps, first and foremost—this people industry. In InspireDesign, a sister media brand to Hotel Business, we have a column called “Storytellers,” and it is written by a designer, telling the story of his or her own journey in his or her own words. In Hotel Business, we have “Industry Insider,” written in a Q+A format by a staff editor, but the basic idea is the same: getting to know more about the professionals in the hotel business community.
I love to tell stories. Maybe that is the writer in me. But even more, I love to listen to stories. And, when I find good ones, to share them. When I first met Andy Ingraham quite a few years ago in New York City during an event at the NYU International Hospitality Investment Conference called Hospitality Rocks, I could barely hear myself or him, as the music from the live band in a somewhat intimate space was loud. But, his light and his laughter superseded the acoustic challenge and filled the room. He truly was larger than life—and warm, gracious, funny and fascinating. I learned a little about him that night and, over the years, have had the opportunity to find out more. Not just by talking to him, but through others who have great respect for his leadership and, as you’ll read in our cover story, his mission: to increase the number of people of color developing, operating and owning hotels.
As Managing Editor Adam Perkowsky writes, it’s a tale “that includes many of the hospitality’s most notable figures and some famous people outside of the industry. But, essentially, it’s a tale of how a Caribbean native came to the U.S. to help one minority group join an industry he truly loves.” We’re pleased to bring you the firsthand account of the NABHOOD founder/president/CEO, as Andy brings his story to Hotel Business in epic storytelling fashion, as he really knows how to spin them with the best of them. Here’s the tease—though it might sound like the setup for a bad “walk into a bar” joke: Daymond John, Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro all play a part in his journey. No more spoiler alerts. Read the story—it begins on page 14.
As always, we want to hear your story. Share it with us—and who knows, maybe we’ll just turn around and share it with others. Email me at [email protected].