Marriott International, today
held an “Education Summit” for aspiring minority hotel owners. The
initiative is one of many that the company has implemented to double its
270 minority owners and franchisees in five years, and one of the reasons
DiversityInc recently ranked Marriott 12th in its annual ranking of the
Top 50 Companies for Diversity. More than 30 prospective minority owners and franchisees attended the
workshop at the company’s corporate headquarters. It included information
about how prospective sites are evaluated and how hotels are built,
financed and operated. The workshops were led by Marriott executives,
owners and franchisees, as well as experts from the lending community.
“Educating prospective owners and franchisees is key to the company’s
diversity ownership initiative because many candidates have substantial
business experience, but they do not have a background in the lodging
industry,” said Norman K. Jenkins, senior vice president of North American
Lodging Development for Marriott. During the event, Jenkins presented a
$30,000 check to Andy Ingram, president of the National Association of
Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers, to help the organization
reach its goal of increasing the number of African-Americans who manage,
operate and own hotels.
Marriott’s aggressive diversity ownership initiatives work to assist
minorities who have significant business experience; are interested in
developing hotels or acquiring or rebranding hotels; or those interested
in taking equity positions in hotels under development by Marriott or its
development partners. The lodging leader’s outreach includes providing
minorities with additional operations support where appropriate, as well
as flexible transaction terms that can include application and royalty fee
support, key money, and various forms of credit enhancement.
“The company demonstrates its commitment to increasing minority hotel
ownership by guiding prospective owners through the process,” said Deanne
Ayers-Howard, who in 1998 became the owner of the TownePlace Suites by
Marriott in Sterling/Cascades, Va.