AF Canta Founder
Aileen Canta, founder of A F Canta Inc started in 2005, is a hospitality development firm having offices in Newport Beach California and Denver Colorado. Aileen brings nearly 20 years of experience in the Hospitality Industry, Mixed Use and Commercial Building. She has been immersed in the Development & Construction of various hotel projects from boutique, select service, full service and resorts. Ms. Canta began with the Kor Group and having the opportunity to work for a smaller firm gave her the chance to flourish and become educated in learning to develop hotels from A to Z. Aileen became versed in “Complete” Project Development. This led to her becoming a developer of Hospitality. She has worked in the US, Caribbean, Europe, South America and Canada.
She has advised many owners on how to build and adaptive reuse their properties. She has an affinity for Historic and Green projects. She has relationships with all the major US brands and has been instrumental in getting difficult projects completed. She also has experience in leading forensic teams in analyzing projects for ownership groups. Aileen has been and still is a presenter at many of the industry events and conferences. She has spoken on such diverse topics as green design and building practices to marijuana’s impact on the industry. She continues to be asked to comment on the “cutting edge” issues of Hospitality. She has been awarded “Best of Hospitality Development & Construction” for the years 2015, 2016 & 2017 by the City of Newport Beach , California.
Life is a journey and I give my whole heart and soul in everything that I do. Whether it’s cooking, working out, especially being present and always listening before I speak. Think twice before responding will always have a better result. A F Canta specializes in Hotel Development from inception through completion, a true turn key. This includes brand committee approval, construction management and negotiating a management company match. A F Canta routinely delivers ahead of time and within or less than budget expectations.
I became involved in the hospitality industry when I was a portfolio / project manager . My responsibility for overseeing the management on Multi family, commercial and historic buildings eventually led me into the hotel industry, when hospitality was added to the portfolio. It was then that I was introduced to Hotel development and management and realized this is where my career was best suited.
Three emerging trends I see in the industry are defining lifestyle, the Wellness concern and the Cannabis influence. The younger guest is more lifestyle driven in selecting a hospitality site. The Select Service product is not appetizing to this traveler. They are looking for enjoyable spaces that lend to socializing in group settings. Wellness has become a phrase that is expressed in the choices provided for the guest. From facilities for active lifestyles, to food and beverage choices, even to the linens used. Wellness is providing the guest with the best in healthy choices allowing them to have the best experience that fits with their lifestyle choices. Lastly the Cannabis Influence is growing and having an effect on travel choices and experiences. As this continues to grow and be defined nationally, the hospitality industry will feel the pressure to provide access and experiences for the guest without alienating those that do not wish to participate. New and exciting experiences will also be developed in the future to meet the demand and will have an impact on what will be provided and what will be considered acceptable offerings.
Delegate, delegate and delegate more. Having the right team will help your business grow and excel. A single proprietor shop is just too difficult. Having talented CFO and Operations Manager is a huge benefit. This helps maintain the business running properly and fulfilling the work flow schedules so that work is consistent and balanced.
The most difficult experiences usually are the client relationship issues. Primarily clients that you trust and then they do not value that trust when it is not convenient. All providers have issues with the 10% of PITA clients. This usually rears its ugly head when contracts are in place for work done and then the client does not honor that contract. The following collections and legal procedure are an annoyance and a total loss of time. In the past 20 years I have noticed how this activity has become ,for quite a few, business as usual. The ability to not honor their commitments has become an acceptable behavior when it fits their wishes.
I motivate others by encouraging them to be involved in creating ideas and synergies. To lead by defining a vision and then let your associates take that future statement and let them add their thoughts and best ways to achieve that end goal. Allowing them to use their creativity and talents for a better product. Empowering them to find the best answer to the problem.
First is be an active listener, it is the key to any successful relationship. My persistence, dedication, passion and generally hard work has led me to being successful in achieving my goals.
When I lost my father at a young age and had to bury him on my 20th birthday to accommodate all the attendees.
Respect is a two way street. It is the old adage that do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.
In business was my first boss Brad Korzen. Who believed in me and gave me the tools to just go for it. In my personal life, it was my father Tony Canta. He inspired me to always be my best, follow my gut, heart and passion to reach your goals.
The British Virgin Islands is one I love to visit. My experiences with some of my favorite people sailing the Islands has to be up there. Another is exploring Eastern Europe’s non tourist destinations via train and car. Truly immersing myself in the history and lifestyle of the region by visiting churches, castles, hiking, enjoying the food, drinking and classical music.
I can’t live without my foam roller I use it everyday
Doing intermittent fasting & daily meditation as a life changer. Since the New Year I have been doing this to clear my mind, body and soul.
A DAY IN MY LIFE:
What do I love most about Newport Beach CA?
Being by the ocean and having the salt air to breathe and the calmness is brings to soothe my soul, mind and body
Favorite restaurant-I have a ton of favorites depending on what food but one of them is Gulfstream.
6 to 7am-I listen to my bible app while waking up, then followed by meditation then read my daily devotional while getting my coffee brewing
7-9 am-Check emails then set my day, then workout is next on my agenda after my first cup of coffee-whether it’s a run or cardio etc. using my peloton bike or the app for other workouts
Lunch is a late one as I prefer it that way as intermittent fasting is part of my lifestyle
Work throughout or meetings the rest of the day
6 pm prep for dinner and do a yoga workout
Dinner at home is what I prefer, but I do go out here and there
Have my peppermint or nighttime tea after dinner to calm my stomach and nerves down
Meditate again before bedtime
What drink do I need to get through the day?
Coffee in the morning and green tea at lunch and tons of water with lemon throughout the day. Peppermint or night time tea after dinner.
What should everyone try at least once?
Run a full marathon which I have done recently -Chicago Marathon 2018.
Where do I enjoy getting lost?
At Tsujiki fish market in Tokyo where you can eat 5 different levels of Toro (fatty/belly part of the fish) in a matter of minutes.
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