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Wyndham, Choice Step Up Efforts to Empower Women to Own & Develop Hotels

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Glenn Hasek

Two of the industry’s largest franchisors recently announced stepped up efforts to give women the opportunity to own and develop hotels—Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and Choice Hotels International, Inc.

The help is definitely needed. According to the 2022 Castell Project Women in Hospitality Industry Leadership Report, for every nine men, there is only one woman who enters into hotel investment and development across the hospitality industry. According to Wyndham, while the tourism and hospitality industry workforce is comprised of 70 percent women, only 10 percent of development roles are held by them.

In Wyndham’s case, its program is called “Women Own the Room.” It aids with financial solutions, personalized operational support, and networking and educational opportunities. Wyndham says two new women hoteliers just recently signed agreements that will result in hotels opening in Dover, Del. and Warrenton, Va.

“Women want to own and develop hotels—the momentum we’re seeing proves it—they’ve just lacked trusted partners and advocates who will help guide them in their pursuits,” said Lisa Checchio, Chief Marketing Officer, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. “The mentorship opportunities and resources Women Own the Room provides are invaluable and will better inspire and prepare future generations of women hoteliers.”

“Women Own the Room” helps to clear the path for women eager to make their mark on the hospitality industry and aims to amend the lack of female representation in hotel ownership, real estate, and investment funding roles. In addition to extensive mentorship and networking opportunities, the program offers a development incentive program that provides meaningful Wyndham financing, discounts on initial fees and complimentary first-year operating services to support the success of hotels developed by women.

HERtels by Choice

Choice Hotels just launched HERtels by Choice. While Choice has had a development program dedicated to underrepresented populations, including women entrepreneurs, for many years, HERtels by Choice will provide dedicated training, education, mentorship, and financial assistance to advance and empower women entrepreneurs and ensure they thrive as Choice Hotels franchisees.

“For any entrepreneur, starting a new business can be a daunting, capital-intensive endeavor, but the fact remains that compared to their male counterparts, women face drastically different lending terms and conditions,” said Patrick Pacious, President and CEO, Choice Hotels. “We know there are many women entrepreneurs who are eager to break into the rewarding hotel industry, yet lack the financing, connections, or knowledge to do so, which is why we are proud to build on our industry-leading emerging markets development program with this initiative.”

The HERtels by Choice program leverages a multi-faceted approach and turnkey solutions to advance and empower women hotel ownership, including:

In-house financing support—In addition to enhanced financing incentives, the program provides prospective hoteliers access to designated Choice Hotels associates who work individually with entrepreneurs to help them strengthen their application package, facilitate the lending process and educate them on equitable financing terms.
Dedicated training and education—Upon joining the Choice Hotels system, HERtels by Choice franchisees automatically gain access to the company’s award-winning Choice University learning platform, as well as program-specific trainings designed to optimize their onboarding and operating journey.
Personalized mentoring and networking—Acknowledging a common obstacle to first-time hotel ownership is a lack of industry connections, HERtels by Choice provides prospective owners with access to executive coaching from industry veterans and connects the next-generation of hoteliers with current Choice owners to leverage best practices and build confidence.

Since last March, as part of a focused effort to increase female ownership—and subsequently lay the groundwork for the HERtels by Choice program—the company has awarded 25 contracts specifically to women entrepreneurs.

In addition to HERtels by Choice, Choice Hotels continues to foster female hotel ownership through sponsorships and support at women-focused conferences on hotel ownership, including She Has a Deal, an education and investment platform for aspiring women hotel investors and developers; Fortuna’s Table, an online community for diverse potential hotel owners to learn, inspire, network, plan and collaborate on the path to hotel investment and ownership; and the Black Girls In Real Estate Conference.

Does your hotel company have a similar program? I would love to learn about it. I can be reached at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.

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