Meet Andy Ingraham, the founder of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners

Stephen Nartey May 10, 2023
Andy Ingraham is the Founder, President and CEO of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators, and Developers (NABHOOD). Photo credit: NABHOOD

Andy Ingraham always wanted to work in the hospitality industry, however, his mother had issues with where he wanted to begin his dream. He wanted to work in the Bahamas, but his mother disagreed because many of the blacks employed in the hospitality industry in those days were into menial jobs.

If being a laborer was what he was looking out for, his mother preferred a different career path. However, she was willing to consent to his ambitions in the tourism industry if only Andy would practice at the top level of the industry. When he found himself in the hotel business, he couldn’t comprehend how the African American community spent over $30 billion on travel to tourist destinations, but was not acknowledged by the market for all these contributions.

Following this discovery, he began a campaign to redirect the traffic of African American tourists to the Caribbean islands. The idea blossomed after he participated in a workshop he attended in New Orleans on how people of color could benefit from the tourism industry in 1990. However, it took nine years for his idea to take shape and find its own course.

In 1999, when he worked as a consultant for the Government of St. Martin tourist office, he was offered an opportunity by Daymond John’s brand, FUBU, to organize an event on one of the Caribbean islands. The challenges he faced in getting hotel rooms for guests spurred his vision to revolutionize the hospitality industry. He was of the view that if black entrepreneurs had a role to play in the sector, he wouldn’t have had a challenge getting hotels for the event, according to the hotel business.

It was at this period that he formed the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators, and Developers (NABHOOD) after meeting industry players, global brands, and successful business executives. His responsibility was to convince people how they can become hotel owners. Andy talked to athletes, car dealership owners, and restaurant owners who have managed businesses before and were willing to put their monies into the hotel business.

Over the last two decades, Andy committed himself to helping black entrepreneurs to own the hospitality industry and helping black vendors to control the supply chain in the tourism sector too. Notwithstanding, he believes African American businesses are still at the bottom of the value chain.

Andy believes he owes his success largely to his mother, who taught him that whatever he could see and feel was possible to achieve. His legacy is to inspire young entrepreneurs with the mindset that they can become like Don Peebles; Don Barden – who bought the Fitzgerald in Las Vegas, Bill Pickard – who was the managing director of the MGM Grand Detroit Casino, as well as Tom Baltimore – who is the chairman and CEO of Park Hotels & Resorts.

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: May 10, 2023


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