Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has stepped on the pedal to expand its BOLD by Wyndham program, signing deals for 18 hotels in just over six months across the U.S.
BOLD by Wyndham, which stands for Black Owners and Lodging Developers, was created to advance and engage black hoteliers by addressing the challenges black entrepreneurs face through Wyndham’s scale, relationships and resources.
Launched in July 2022, the program has two fundamental pillars:
- Promoting hotel ownership for potential wealth creation — Opening avenues to hospitality through education and outreach. Entrepreneurs can participate in Wyndham-sponsored networking and educational events and receive resources to explore if hotel ownership is correct for them.
- BOLD will help accelerate the path to ownership for black entrepreneurs who recognize that owning a hotel is the best option, as well as provide members with enhanced capital, operational, and financing opportunities (including lender introductions and discounts with preferred suppliers). Qualified members will be able to attend BOLD Incubator events, which will link them with brokers and lenders, allowing them to explore partner/joint venture opportunities and package deals accompanied by additional financial support.
According to data released by the National Association of Black Owners, Operators and Developers, black employment in the hotel sector represents only 20% of all team members in the hotel industry. Less than 2% of hotel owners are black.
Stating there was an “immense gap” in the representation of black hotel owners, Galen Barrett, vice president of Strategic Development Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, said companies like Wyndham needed to encourage new opportunities to drive diversity. “With agreements for nearly 20 hotels in our pipeline, BOLD by Wyndham is proving there is opportunity in our industry for black entrepreneurs and that our industry will be all the better for it.”
Among the hotels already in the BOLD by Wyndham pipeline, 10 are affiliated with the newly created ECHO Suites Extended Stay by Wyndham brand. The brand was developed to help hotel developers benefit from the rapidly growing extended stay sector.
Co-managing Partners of New York-based VANA Partners and twin brothers Dubi and Chuchu Ajukwu were the developers behind the deal. While the brothers briefly worked as waiters to support their parents’ small independent hotel in Nigeria, they never planned to invest in hospitality. However, the opportunities offered by BOLD changed their perspective.
Working towards a long-term goal of establishing their presence across Florida and beyond, the Ajukwu brothers’ first hotel in Daytona Beach, Fla., will break ground later this year.
“Chuchu and I are well-versed in the worlds of residential and commercial real estate and for years, our vision was to build a company leveraging our institutional experience in those sectors,” said Dubi Ajukwu. “That vision still holds true but has since evolved to have extended stay and hospitality at its center. Participating in BOLD by Wyndham has not only enabled us to break into competitive markets with immense growth potential but also allowed us to leverage the scale and resources of the world’s largest hotel franchising company.”
Vaughn Irons, principal of Stonecrest Resorts, was BOLD’s first member and was awarded a new construction 110-room TRYP by the Wyndham franchise in Stonecrest, Ga. The hotel is a renovation of Stonecrest Resorts’ $17 million adaptive reuse project, Privi.
With a portfolio of 9,100 hotels in more than 95 countries across six continents, Wyndham operates 24 brands and has a network of 843,000 rooms.