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Wyndham’s ‘Women Own the Room’ Program: More Than 30 Hotels Signed in First Year

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Back in February, I posted a press release from Castell Project, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the careers of women professionals in the hospitality industry. See the article here. The release focused on the results of the nonprofit’s 2022 Women in Hospitality Industry Leadership report. One key finding from the report: women now hold one leadership spot for every 10.3 men, an improvement from one to 11.2 in 2019. While progress, it is not exactly industry-shaking progress.

That is why I find it important today to highlight this latest news from Wyndham Hotels & Resorts: It just announced the continued momentum of its groundbreaking “Women Own the Room” program, which in its inaugural year, has signed more than 30 hotels across the U.S. and Canada, 10 of which are now open. Wyndham is not talking about improving women’s leadership progress here; they are talking about women owning hotels.

The first-ever program by a major hotel company specifically targeting women’s advancement in hotel ownership, Women Own the Room is designed to advance and empower women entrepreneurs to break through the predominantly male-dominated hotel industry.

“Representation matters. Opening doors for traditionally underrepresented owners unlocks potential and possibility, and paves the way for others to follow,” said Lisa Checchio, Chief Marketing Officer, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. “Women play a critical role in the hotel industry, and Women Own the Room is breaking down barriers to actively change the face of hotel ownership.”

Women Own the Room delivers comprehensive financial solutions for new construction and conversion projects with enhanced capital support and reduced initial franchise fees. The program also offers members personalized operational support and establishes an inclusive community for networking and continuing education for women in hospitality.

A New Generation of Owners

Nearly 50 percent of the hotels affiliated with Women Own the Room are new construction projects. Among them is the upcoming Microtel by Wyndham in New Castle, Colo. Nestled in a picturesque area between the bustling ski towns of Vail and Aspen, the hotel is owned by Wyndham franchisee Elizabeth Avery and is on track to break ground later this year.

Growing up as a child of Polish immigrants, Avery witnessed her parents pursue their dream of hospitality when they opened their first hotel in New Castle. The experience created childhood aspirations that one day she could do the same. Following a successful career in the gas and oil industry, she’s now getting that chance. Avery was drawn to Wyndham due to its long-standing reputation and expertise in the space and has since been able to leverage the company’s scale and resources to navigate the hurdles that come with new construction.

“I know the hospitality industry because I grew up in it, but this is my first time spearheading the construction of a new hotel. New construction is not straightforward, and costs, timelines and securing financing are not black and white,” said Avery. “I know Wyndham is dedicated to my success because of the resources they continue to provide, along with the one-on-one, collaborative approach they take as I work through my custom build. Wyndham has helped make what is a complicated process more seamless—and that support goes a long way.”

Avery added this opportunity is a natural step for her, and she doesn’t see her journey in hospitality ending here. With Wyndham’s unique Women Own the Room program, she sees the value in elevating the skillsets women bring to the table and looks forward to being part of a robust community of entrepreneurs.

Breaking Barriers, Opening Doors

Above: Owner Preeti Singh in the renovated lobby of her recently opened Travelodge by Wyndham in Macon, Ga.

Since launching in January 2022, Women Own the Room has led to the opening of 10 hotels across the U.S., including new locations for brands like Days Inn by Wyndham, Baymont by Wyndham and AmericInn by Wyndham. Among them is the Travelodge by Wyndham in Macon, Ga., owned by Women Own the Room member Preeti Singh.

Singh came to the U.S. in 2007 on a student visa, and while earning her Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Findlay, she volunteered and learned from a local family in their Travelodge by Wyndham hotel in Freemont, Ohio. It was there that she fell in love with the hotel industry, and following her graduation, she began to pursue her dream of ownership. Singh worked every job she could to get experience in hotels and was hired as a General Manager at a Microtel by Wyndham in Tifton, Ga. in 2009. She worked tirelessly over the next six years to bring success to the hotel and doubled the hotel’s revenue while in her role.

In 2016, Singh bought her first hotel, and based on her history with Wyndham, and in response to the launch of Women Own the Room, she converted it to a Travelodge by Wyndham in 2022—coming full circle from where she started her journey. The 45-room hotel underwent a full renovation prior to opening and features hardwood floors throughout, updated bathrooms and new bedding, among other improvements. The hotel also boasts a contemporary design and Singh prides herself on the hotel’s welcoming feel and positive energy.

“I was a young immigrant when I started my journey, and Wyndham has been a reliable and consistent partner for me from the beginning with a commitment to elevating me and other women like me,” Singh said. “I hope that by sharing my story, and sharing my experience with Women Own the Room, I can inspire other women to join the industry and follow their dreams of entrepreneurship.”

To stay up to date on Wyndham’s Women Own the Room program, visit www.womenowntheroombywyndham.com. Developers interested in collaborating with Wyndham can visit www.Wyndhamdevelopment.com or contact the Wyndham Franchise Development team by e-mail at development@wyndham.com.

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