Marriott $50M program supports diverse ownership

Without offering specific data on current hotel ownership diversification, Marriott International admits it has to do a better job adding more historically underrepresented groups as owners and developers of hotels in the United States and Canada. To help reach a standing goal of reaching 3,000 more diverse owners, including black, Latino, women and native Americans by 2025, Marriott announced on Monday it is putting its money where its mouth is by launching “Marriott’s Bridging The Gap,” a multi-year, US$50 million development program to address the barriers to entry to ownership in the United States and Canada.

Marriott senior leadership (l. to r.): Tony Capuano, Stephanie Linnartz, Noah Silverman, Julius Robinson

Over three years, qualifying development projects built or converted under Marriott’s Bridging The Gap are expected to reach US$1 billion in total asset value for historically underrepresented ownership groups.

A series of incentives, including reduced application fees, key money, reduced royalty fees, discounts on training are part of the new program to help Marriott reach its stated goal. A few deals based on this new program are “active,” according to Noah Silverman, Marriott’s global development officer, U.S. and Canada, and a few deals are expected to be announced in the next few weeks.

Silverman added most deals from this program are expected in the limited-service segment, but all Marriott brands will participate.

In addition to providing access to valuable capital, Marriott plans to utilize its extensive relationships with seasoned hotel developers, operators and lenders to assist and support eligible owners’ hotel projects

Marriott CEO Tony Capuano said giving potential owners more access to capital is the key to the program’s success and called on the lending community to help more to develop a more diverse hotel ownership network.