Caribbean Hotel & Resort Investment Summit (CHRIS) and Hotel Opportunities Latin America (HOLA) welcomed record crowds at the 2015 conferences. The events were held back-to-back at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Miami in Miami, Florida, USA, on April 27-30. This strong showing is a good indication for hotel investment opportunities in the Caribbean and Latin America. Burba Hotel Network (BHN) is the host of the CHRIS and HOLA conferences.
“It was awesome to see such large crowds at both events, and even better to hear the positive views being expressed by delegates about the future of our industry throughout the region,” said Jim Burba, president of BHN. “This was particularly noticeable in the Caribbean, which seems to have finally shaken off the negative investment impacts brought about by the Great Recession. The story is more complex in Latin America with some countries like Brazil struggling a bit today, but the long term belief is that the future remains very bright for travel, tourism and the hotel industry in all of Latin America,” Burba added.
Delegates were looking to connect and do business at this year’s events, making the Caribbean Capital Roundtables at CHRIS and the Casas de Capital sessions at HOLA popular features. These interactive sessions featured active investors and lenders in the Caribbean and Latin American regions. Companies participating in the CHRIS Caribbean Capital Roundtable sessions included: Aries Capital, LLC, Bluegrass Equity Partners, Bricapital, CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, Cisneros Real Estate, CM&D, Destination Hotels, Fortress Investment Group, Geolo Capital, IFC – World Bank Group, Inter-American Development Bank, Playa Hotels & Resorts, and Terranum Hotels. Participants in the HOLA Casas de Capital sessions included: 2.0 Hotéis S/A, Banco Monex, BroadSpan Capital LLC, Canyon Equity LLC, Equity International, Geolo Capital, Host Hotels & Resorts, Hoteles City Express, IFC – World Bank Group, Inter-American Development Bank, and Playa Hotels & Resorts.
A number of awards were presented at CHRIS:
• Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall & Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica, was named Development of the Year 2014. With 621 keys, the redevelopment and expansion of the former Ritz Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Rose Hall, Jamaica came at a cost of roughly $90 million. The property is owned and operated by Playa Hotels & Resorts. Finalists in the Development of the Year 2014 category also included the JW Marriott Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, and The Residences by Grace Bay Resorts in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos.
• The One & Only Ocean Club, Paradise Island, in the Bahamas, was named Single Asset Transaction of the Year 2014. With 105 keys, the property was sold to Access Industries by Brookfield Asset Management for US$137 million ($1.3 million per key). The transaction was brokered by Solid Rock Advisors. The additional finalists in the Single Asset Transaction of the Year 2014 were the British Colonial Properties (British Colonial Hilton), in New Providence Island, The Bahamas, and the Hilton Rose Hall Hotel & Spa, in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
• Christal Stubbs, human resources director of the British Colonial Hilton Nassau, was recognized with the Rising Star Award Caribbean. The Rising Star Award was created by the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC), in collaboration with BHN, to celebrate the excellence of young emerging leaders in the hospitality industry and to reward an outstanding individual each year.
The CHRIS conference concluded with a unique plenary session, In the News – A Focus on Cuba. The session, due to its timely nature, was open to both CHRIS and HOLA delegates. The panel was comprised of Jorge Duany, director of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University, Pedro A. Freyre, partner at Akerman LLP, and Alejandro Zozaya, chief executive officer of Apple Leisure Group, and moderated by Letvia M. Arza-Goderich, partner at Preston Arza LLP. The lively session speculated on what would come to be with the rapidly evolving situation in Cuba.
Delegates also participated in numerous networking opportunities throughout the conferences, including a special joint reception that concluded the CHRIS conference and officially opened the HOLA conference. This joint cocktail reception brought the CHRIS and HOLA delegates together for what proved to be a fantastic networking event. The CHRIS networking reception was held at the brand new 1 Hotel South Beach, and Commune Hotels and Resorts hosted the HOLA reception at the Thompson Miami Beach.In addition to all the ‘action’ in the hallways and meeting rooms, as part of its principle of shared success, BHN and HOLA renewed its support of the International Tourism Partnership’s Youth Career Initiative (YCI) in Latin America via an annual donation. The money will help provide more opportunities for young people in Brazil, Mexico and Costa Rica, with a view to expanding the program into other countries.
The back-to-back nature of CHRIS and HOLA is an efficient way for the hotel investment community that is interested in both the Caribbean and Latin America regions to conduct their business while in Miami. Planning for the 2016 conference is already underway; CHRIS will take place May 10-11, and HOLA will immediately follow on May 11-13 at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Miami in Miami, Florida. For more information about the CHRIS or HOLA conferences visit, www.CHRISconference.com or www.HOLAconference.com.
About the Host
BHN is the worldwide leader in developing and organizing conferences for the hotel and tourism investment community. With almost three decades of experience, over 120 events completed to-date, and more than 85,000 international delegates, BHN conferences have become “must attend” events for industry leaders who come together to network, conduct business and to learn about the latest trends.
BHN events include: the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) in Los Angeles; ALIS Law in Los Angeles; ALIS Summer Update; Alternative Ownership Conference Asia Pacific (AOCAP) in Singapore; Caribbean Hotel & Resort Investment Summit (CHRIS) in Miami; Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) in Hong Kong; HICAP UPDATE in Singapore; Hotel Investment Forum India (HIFI) in Gurgaon Delhi N.C.R.; Hotel Opportunities Latin America (HOLA) conference in Miami; and Hotel Investment Conference Europe (Hot.E)in London.
The BHN website at www.Burba.com is the gateway for information about the conferences BHN produces, as well as a direct link to important players in the hospitality investment world.