Marriott Announces Plan To Spend Millions To Increase Minority Owners And Franchisees – TravelAwaits

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Marriott is launching a program to help break down barriers that historically underrepresented groups face in owning and developing hotels in the United States and Canada. 
Marriott’s Bridging The Gap is a multi-year, $50 million development program. It aims to increase the development and ownership of Marriott properties among groups including Black, Hispanic/Latino, Native American/First Nation, and women. 
“At the heart of what we do every day is welcome all,” said Anthony Capuano, CEO of Marriott International. “Whether that’s people who stay with us, work in our hotels, meet our supply needs, or develop hotels that fly one of our brand flags — all are welcome. With the establishment of Marriott’s Bridging The Gap, we are creating an on-ramp to help propel historically underrepresented groups in the journey to hotel ownership more frequently and more successfully. We are excited to launch Marriott’s Bridging The Gap and to continue building a more diverse owner and franchisee community.”
Marriott will offer financial and other incentives to qualified historically underrepresented owners and franchisees that will have a controlling equity interest in select branded projects. Qualified projects under Marriott’s Bridging The Gap are expected to reach $1 billion in total asset value for these groups.
Along with providing access to capital, Marriott plans to utilize its extensive relationships with seasoned hotel developers, operators, and lenders to help and support eligible owners’ hotel projects. 
“As an investor in hotel projects and long-time advocate for creating more diversity, equity, and inclusion within the hotel ownership community, I appreciated the advice Marriott sought from me and other industry experts in creating Marriott’s Bridging The Gap, which I hope others will emulate,” said Tracy Prigmore, founder of She Has A Deal (SHaD). “Providing access to capital is a big step in knocking down the highest barrier to entry underrepresented groups face when attempting to build or acquire a hotel.”
The announcement of this program was made at the 44th Annual NYU International Hospitality Investment Conference. It’s a significant step in Marriott’s effort to increase the ranks of diverse owners and franchisees. 
The company is a founding sponsor of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers (NABHOOD), SHaD, and the Latino Hotel Association. Through its engagement with these organizations as well as the National Black MBA Association, Marriott has conducted outreach and educational seminars on the path to hotel ownership. In addition, Marriott regularly hosts a Diverse Owner Summit at its headquarters to identify and recruit investors with interest in hotel ownership.
“A hotel is an economic engine for a community,” noted Stephanie Linnartz, president of Marriott International. “We believe our guests, our associates, our hotels, and the communities we serve will benefit from the full participation of underrepresented groups in this extraordinary industry. Marriott’s Bridging The Gap program directly addresses some of the most critical barriers to entry, with a comprehensive approach designed to enable historically underrepresented groups to enter our ownership ranks or to expand their current holdings.”
This project falls under the #LoveTravels platform established in 2014. LoveTravels celebrates and supports inclusion, equality, peace, and human rights. It incorporates and expresses the company’s efforts to address barriers experienced by diverse communities, and make global communities better places to live, work, and visit. 
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Allison loves learning about new people and places and always jumps at the chance to take a trip. Whether it’s visiting a town in her area or traveling across the country, she’s up to explore!
She has traveled outside the U.S. several times including trips to London, Switzerland, and a cruise through the Western Caribbean. Her favorite travel memory is visiting Sundsvall, Sweden, her great grandfather’s birthplace. Growing up, she spent a lot of time with him, so it was special to see where he was born. It looked very similar to the town where she grew up in New York. Within the U.S., she continues to check states off the list, most recently making a trip to Alaska for her honeymoon.
Allison spent almost 20 years of her career as a TV news anchor. She’s covered everything from political conventions to Super Bowl LV to hurricanes and, most recently, the pandemic. She is a two-time Emmy award-winning journalist. She’s been recognized for her work nationally and regionally by organizations including the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Florida Association of Broadcast Journalists.

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