Women Own the Room: Wyndham announces effort to increase female hotel ownership

Parsippany-based Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, the world’s largest hotel franchising company, with approximately 9,000 hotels across nearly 95 countries, announced plans Wednesday to increase hotel ownership among women.

Wyndham introduced a new program — “Women Own the Room” — that it said is intended to be a resource to help overcome common barriers women face in hotel development and to help them effectively open and run their hotels.

The program is built on three pillars:

  • Delivering comprehensive financial solutions;
  • Offering personalized operational guidance and support;
  • Establishing an inclusive community for networking and education.

Chip Ohlsson, the chief development officer at Wyndham, said the program comes during an important time in the sector.

“As the hotel industry resets and recovers from one of the most difficult periods in its history, we all have a unique opportunity to help advance and champion diversity in hospitality to help our industry prosper,” he said. “At Wyndham — where diversity, equity and inclusion are key cornerstones of our culture — we recognize the chance to do our part by helping to open more doors for women in our industry.”

Wyndham will launch a series of events this fall, with topics to include:

  • Why the time is right for women to get into hotel development;
  • How to select sites and perform feasibility assessments;
  • Guidance and tips on securing financing for your hotel;
  • Personal stories of female hotel developers that successfully broke the mold.

“Wyndham is also committed to helping female owners secure financing through our network of debt and equity partners, and will continue to explore and implement new and creative ways to support female hoteliers through the use of our balance sheet,” Chief Financial Officer Michele Allen said.

Together with these educational and networking events, and commitment to use its balance sheet to support women hotel owners, Wyndham also is launching a development incentive program that will provide meaningful Wyndham financing, plus complimentary or expanded first-year operating services to support the success of hotels developed by women.

Rosanna Maietta, the CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Foundation, welcomed the initiative.

“Introducing more women entrepreneurs to hotel ownership is great for women, and great for our industry,” she said. “Our industry is stronger with a variety of people that bring varying backgrounds and points of view. Programs like this move the industry forward.”