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Mixing It Up In Miami: A Toast to Women in Hospitality

We heard Miami is a city of opportunity for women in hospitality and wanted to find out why!  So, in an early celebration of International Women’s Day, hertelier gathered together a group of herteliers (and male allies) for cocktails, conversation and connections. Thanks to our powerhouse partners: Cornell Hotel Society of South Florida, The Hotels Network, Expedia Group, and Women in Travel Thrive, our event was a sell-out sensation!


hertelier event in Miami on March 5, 2024
Group photo from the hertelier event in Miami on March 5, 2024

Attendees spanned a spectrum of roles — from asset management and marketing to operations and travel tech. The verdict? Miami's reputation as a land of opportunity for women in hospitality isn't just talk; it's the real deal.


Mery Lewis, Director of Web and Digital Marketing, Altantis Bahamas captured the vibe perfectly: “Thank you, hertelier, for hosting an amazing event to celebrate International Women's Day! It was an honor to be surrounded by so many inspiring women. As we continue to strive for gender equality, let's remember the importance of events like these. When women check in, sexism checks out! 🌺🙌🏾”


Women at the Helm


Faheemah Garzon from the Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association shared a striking stat — over 50 hotels in Greater Miami are run or owned by women, a figure possibly unmatched by any other US city.  “Women in hospitality in Miami infuse the city's vibrant scene with a unique blend of warmth, professionalism, and grace, creating an unparalleled experience for visitors. Their dedication and passion set the stage for an environment where every guest feels not just welcomed, but truly embraced,” Faheemah emailed us after the event.  


Shruti Mehta, Melissa Banheim, Carolina Di Paoli and Mery Lewis
Shruti Mehta, Melissa Banheim, Carolina Di Paoli and Mery Lewis

Echoing this sentiment, Mery Lewis highlighted Miami's allure for women, “Apart from being a major tourist destination, I believe that its status as a cultural melting pot makes it the perfect environment for fostering inclusivity, where women from different backgrounds can bring their unique perspectives and skills to the hospitality industry.”


Expedia Group showed up in force!
Expedia Group showed up in force!

Growth Story: Miami is Flourishing


In 2022, Miami welcomed 19.2 million overnight visitors, who injected $20.8 billion into the local economy through hotel stays, dining, shopping, and more—an 8% increase from the previous year (source: GMCVB). Beyond tourism, the last decade has seen the media, technology, and finance sectors significantly bolster the local economy. The pandemic further accelerated this trend, with businesses relocating to Florida, highlighted by one of the world’s largest hedge funds, Citadel's headline-grabbing move to Miami in 2022. And as Fortune noted, there is a migration of ultraweathly "taxbirds" fleeing to Florida for the state's low tax rates, including the recent move of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. This shift has not only cemented Miami's status as a financial hub, but also as a vibrant ground for hospitality and real estate development.


A Transformative Gathering


The event served as a platform for sharing success stories and insights. Wendy Chan of Marriott International and Carolina De Paoli of Mast Capital discussed how Miami's strategic location for the Caribbean and Latin America and Florida’s booming hotel scene make it an ideal base for development and investment.


Cornell Hotel Society South Florida Chapter
Cornell Hotel Society South Florida Chapter

“Gathering with inspiring women in hospitality at the hertelier Miami event was a transformative experience. From heartfelt conversations to shared dreams, we forged connections that will resonate long after the event lights dimmed. Here’s to lifting each other higher and creating a vibrant industry!”, Ana Esquijarosa, Director of Global Sales, Nuvola at Sabre


Miriam Niembro, Marketing Manager for the MDM Group, overseeing the marketing of the JW Marriott Marquis Miami, JW Marriott Miami, Hotel Beaux Arts Miami, Miami Marriott Dadeland, and Courtyard Miami Dadeland emailed me after the event, “Immersed in the unique energy of the Hertelier event, I found myself truly captivated by the remarkable women steering Miami's hospitality ship. Miami's diverse and dynamic backdrop provides the perfect canvas for women to paint their success stories.”


Miriam Niembro and Shruti Mehta
Miriam Niembro

Further reflecting on the event, she noted,” my mind naturally gravitated towards the exceptional female executives I have the opportunity to work with at MDM Hotel Group—special kudos to the outstanding General Managers, Florencia Rotemberg, Mildred Riscigno, and Luciana Tabeni, alongside our Chief Operating Officer, Florencia Tabeni.  Their inspiring leadership not only shapes our daily narratives but propels us towards a future where unstoppable women continue to redefine and elevate Miami's hospitality scene.”


Ana Esquijarosa, Global Director of Sales, agreed about the city, "Miami: Where women thrive in hospitality! Diverse roles, cultural fusion, and beachfront luxury make it an empowering city. Attending the Hertelier Miami Event 2024 felt like stepping into a kaleidoscope of experiences from likeminded women. Reminded me why I love the Hospitality industry, especially how every woman is just as passionate as I am about adding value to the industry and showing why we make this city so magical.”


Looking Ahead: More to Come


Our herteliers really appreciated the opportunity to meet informally, and this inspiring, high-energy gathering is just the beginning. Plans are already underway for our next Miami event this fall, promising more opportunities for celebration, networking, and empowerment. If your company wants to participate, we invite you to reach out and join us in championing women in hospitality!



Big thanks also to Jesse Pohl, Nashara Frazier, Stephanie Leger, Melissa Benhaim, Stacy Silver, Amrita Bhalla and Mercedes Blanco for all your help and support on the ground in Miami to pull the event together!

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