Marriott sets aside $50 million to boost hotel ownership by minorities

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From left, Marriott International CEO Tony Capuano, president Stephanie Linnartz, global development officer for the U.S. and Canada Noah Silverman and chief sales and marketing officer for the U.S. and Canada Julius Robinson at the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference.
From left, Marriott International CEO Tony Capuano, president Stephanie Linnartz, global development officer for the U.S. and Canada Noah Silverman and chief sales and marketing officer for the U.S. and Canada Julius Robinson at the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference. Photo Credit: Marriott International

NEW YORK -- Marriott International has earmarked $50 million to create hotel development and ownership opportunities for minorities in the U.S. and Canada with the launch of its Marriott's Bridging The Gap initiative.

At a Monday press conference held during the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, Marriott International CEO Tony Capuano unveiled the program, calling the effort "the first comprehensive initiative we've launched to make capital, training and access to some of our more experienced partners available to groups [that don't have the] representation in the ownership community that we'd like to see."

The multiyear Bridging The Gap program is specifically focused on boosting hotel development and ownership among Black, Hispanic/Latino and Native American/First Nation demographics, as well as women.

As part of the initiative, Marriott plans to provide financial and other incentives to qualified, historically underrepresented owners and franchisees, including reduced application fees, reduced royalty fees, highly discounted or free training programs, and support throughout the lending process. 

"What we expect to do is leverage relationships that we have across lots of different fronts," explained Noah Silverman, Marriott International's global development officer for the U.S. and Canada. "So, whether it's working with more experienced developers or operating for investors who are interested in owning hotels but don't have interest in operating the hotels, [or working with] lenders, we expect to bring the full panoply of our relationships to help facilitate these projects getting done."

According to Capuano, Marriott has set an initial goal of establishing 3,000 diverse-owned hotels by the end of 2025. 

The program is expected to build $1 billion in total asset value for historically underrepresented ownership groups.

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