ASFONA Transitions to an Independent, Non-Brand Affiliated Hotel Owner/Operator Association
ASFONA, a hotel industry association originally formed in 1997 to interface with Starwood Hotels & Resorts on behalf of their constituents doing business with Starwood's brands in North America, has announced the official implementation of its diversification strategy that lays the groundwork for its evolution to an independent, non-brand affiliated hotel owner/operator association.
The announcement was made at the Spring 2018 ASFONA Board of Directors meeting, held at the W Hotel in Washington, D.C. on May 31. At this meeting, ASFONA outlined new mandates for the organization, which have been tailored to meet the evolving business interests of its Owner Board of Directors and its associate members, following the acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts by Marriott International in 2016. In the post-acquisition phase, ASFONA's primary mandate became to interact with Marriott by providing input to Marriott during the "owners board meetings" with a goal to assist with the successful integration of the Starwood "Legacy Brands" into the Marriott organization.
During this two-year period of integration, ASFONA is transitioning and becoming an independent, non-brand affiliated hotel owner/operator association. The ASFONA Board of Directors themselves represent numerous major international hotel company brands and independent hotels, comprising approximately 1,120 hotels that they collectively manage or have in ownership.
ASFONA's mandate will still be to function as a non-profit organization, securing and coordinating input from invested constituents of owners and operators of "Starwood Legacy-branded" hotels and providing integration input to Marriott International.
Going forward, included in the ASFONA mandate will be the extension of invitations by the Owners Board of Directors to other international hotel companies to interact individually and separately with the ASFONA group during selected "Owner Board Meetings" & "General Sessions" of future ASFONA meetings. The goal associated with the mandate will be to establish a communications conduit designed to engage, align and strengthen relationships and joint expertise between the multitude of hotel brands and key representatives of the owner/operator community.
The start of the implementation of ASFONA's "Diversification Strategy" at the spring meeting provided the opportunity for Virgin Hotels to attend the "General Session" of the meeting, where ASFONA Owner Board members and Associate members were treated to a lively presentation of the Virgin brand by CEO, Raul Leal. During the presentation, Leal outlined Virgin Hotels' current property portfolio, growth plans, corporate culture and brand voice, which is defined by its tagline, "Everyone leaves feeling better."
"The name ASFONA has garnered a great deal of respect and brand recognition over many years," said John Shingler, ASFONA's president. "The board has therefore determined that, rather than transitioning from a Starwood acronym and morphing into a hotel industry association acronym, ASFONA will become the association's official name.
"The mandate and goals of ASFONA have changed from time to time over the years," continued Shingler. "We have always adapted and executed successfully, resulting in our outstanding growth and also the hospitality industry's professional respect. The transition we are now announcing is providing ASFONA with amazing opportunities for 'diversification' never before available, and it will undoubtedly result in many more exciting, different, productive and fun times to come."