Phoenix, September 27, 2011—A taste of what promises to be the most fun fund raising event in hotel industry history was unveiled at an unscripted “smack down” at this year’s Lodging Conference. The full event, the “Battle of the Brands” boxing match featuring eight top hoteliers, will be held at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino during the first annual Latino Hotel Association Conference in Las Vegas November 16-18, 2011.
Representatives from eight hospitality companies, who will face off in a real battle in the ring on November 17, threw verbal punches at one another as their matchups were announced. The hoteliers are volunteering their time, bodies and possibly dignity to compete for the title of “Brand Champions.” The event will raise money for scholarships and increase awareness of the growing number of Latinos entering the hospitality industry.
The fighters, including representatives from La Quinta Inns & Suites, Best Western International, Hilton Worldwide, Inc., Driftwood Hospitality Management, LLC, Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) and Pan-American Life Insurance Group ( a leading hotel industry insurer), were announced at a “Fighters Weigh-In.”
“We wanted to create an event that would stand apart in order to raise the most money for this charitable cause and we’ve found a winner,” said Bill Fortier, senior vice president development Americas, Hilton Worldwide and chairman of LHA. “It is heartening to see the top brand groups weighing in with their support this event.”
“This will be a fun event, but we are taking all the necessary steps to make sure that our boxers are well prepared,” said Angela Gonzales-Rowe, LHA president and founder. “Former two-time World Champion ‘Jesse’ James Leija has signed on to help supervise the training of our fighters and offer expert guidance based on his 16-year professional boxing career.” Leija was on hand at the event to make sure the boxers didn’t decide to start their matches early.
Battle of the Brands pits eight of the hospitality industry’s top executive leaders in three one-minute rounds of live sparring matches based on height and weight. The black tie event will take place during LHA’s 2011 International Conference & Expo with proceeds going to educate and train Latino hoteliers in industry practices, including operations, finance and fostering brand relationships. Attendees can enjoy fine dining, live entertainment, music and an auction also. For more information please view details at LHA’s website: http://www.latinohotelassociation.com/
At the impromptu event, replete with “ring girls,” the charity fight card was announced, including:
- Rajiv “The Raging” Trivedi—He is executive vice president of franchise & chief development officer for La Quinta Inn & Suites. “Any brand that doesn’t have the guts to step into the ring should turn off the light on their signage and go cower behind their desk,” challenged Trivedi, who will take on Mark Williams.
- Mark “The Muscle” Williams—Williams is vice president of North American development for Best Western International. “Pansies need not apply,” he cautioned. “I plan on doing some serious clock cleaning on Triveldi in the ring.”
- Tom "Lights Out" Lorenzo—As vice president & managing director of franchise development for the Northeast U.S. and Canada for Hilton Worldwide, Inc., Lorenzo manages a team of four hotel real estate professionals. “The bigger they are, the harder they fall,” he noted. “And my opponent, Pratik Patel, is going to fall hard.”
- Pratik "El Hindu" Patel—A second-generation hotelier, Patel is president of Escape Hospitality and national secretary for AAHOA. “I pity the fool, Lorenzo, who steps in the ring with me,” he said. “We didn’t become number one by being a sissy.”
- Enrique "El Seguro" Monzon—Bringing policy applications and a notary with him, Monzon is second vice president of domestic markets for Pan-American Life Insurance Group and overseas expansion of products and services within the US market. “My opponent, Wilner, is going to be thankful he had great health insurance when I am done with him,” he said.
- David "El Diablo" Wilner—As senior vice president of franchise development for La Quinta Inn & Suites, Wilner is responsible for La Quinta’s national and internal franchise development. “You can run, but you can’t hide,” he said. “Monzon had better be prepared to take it like a man.”
- Brian “The Bull” Quinn—He is the executive vice president of development for Driftwood Hospitality Management, LLC. “It’s not bragging if you can back it up,” he exclaimed. “I’ll do my backing up with a right cross to my opponent Wehling.”
- Matt “Big Daddy” Wehling—Wehling is vice president and managing director of development for the northwest region of Hilton Worldwide, Inc., and manages a team of hotel real estate professionals in the Northwest U.S. “If you don’t want drama, go run to your momma,” he commented. “I intend to show Quinn who his daddy is.”
Headquartered in suburban Houston, LHA is a worldwide, non-profit association dedicated to increasing Latino participation in the hospitality industry, to include ownership, leadership, and commerce. The organization provides education, international and regional conferences, and networking opportunities with the world’s leading hotel companies. Additional information is available at the association’s website, www.latinohotelassociation.com.