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Marriott International launches new diversity programme

The $50 million ‘Marriott’s Bridging The Gap’ scheme aims to increase development and ownership of Marriott properties amongst historically underrepresented groups in Canada and the US.

Unveiled at the 44th Annual NYU International Hospitality Investment Conference, the programme will target groups including Black, Hispanic/Latino, Native American/First Nation and Women. It adheres to the affirmative action principle that is widespread in the USA and will act as a way to attract new parties during a difficult period in terms of recruitment for the wider hospitality sector.

Accessing capital constitutes a critical barrier to market entry, as such Marriott will offer financial incentives to these groups. These incentives will apply to new franchise applications submitted after 1st June 2022. Over the next three years, projects supported by the programme are expected to reach $1 billion in total asset value.

Beyond providing capital, the company will also provide eligible owners access to its network of hotel owners, franchisees, developers, operators, and lenders in order to assist and support their hotel projects.

‘Marriott’s Bridging The Gap’ is the latest initiative of the company seeking to increase diversity. It is a founding sponsor of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers (NABHOOD), She Has a Deal (SHaD) and the Latino Hotel Association. A Diverse Owner Summit is also regularly held at its HQ that seeks to identify and recruit investors.

‘Marriott’s Bridging The Gap’ program directly addresses some of the most critical barriers to entry, with a comprehensive approach designed to enable historically underrepresented groups to enter our ownership ranks or to expand their current holdings.

Stephanie Linnartz, President of Marriott International

With the establishment of ‘Marriott’s Bridging The Gap’, we are creating an on-ramp to help propel historically underrepresented groups in the journey to hotel ownership more frequently and more successfully. We are excited to launch [the programme] and to continue building a more diverse owner and franchisee community.

Anthony Capuano, CEO of Marriott International

As an investor in hotel projects and long-time advocate for creating more diversity, equity and inclusion within the hotel ownership community, I appreciated the advice Marriott sought from me and other industry experts. […] Providing access to capital is a big step in knocking down the highest barrier to entry underrepresented groups face when attempting to build or acquire a hotel.

Tracy Prigmore, Founder of She Has a Deal

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