New York, October 2, 2014 – From its inaugural Women’s Ownership Works or WOW Summit at the Courtyard/Residence Inn Manhattan Central Park, Marriott International (NASDAQ: MAR) will announce plans to have 1,000 or 25 percent of its existing global hotel portfolio owned by diverse owners, including women, by 2020. The WOW Summit brings together a small group of current women hotel owners with women exploring hotel development as part of their investment approach.
"We have always had a culture of inclusiveness and want everyone to be aware of the opportunity to own hotels as an investment strategy that also has community benefit,” said Julius W. Robinson, Marriott International's Vice President for Autograph Collection & Diversity Ownership Champion.
Today, Marriott’s portfolio includes 660 diverse- and women-owned hotels. There are another 433 in the development pipeline, with 130 of those scheduled to open by year-end 2015.
“It is important that we do business with other companies that share similar values,” said Alejandra Martinez, owner of the Courtyard Toluca Airport in Toluca, Mexico. “Marriott walked with us every step of the way to ensure that we understood the ownership process and continues to help us to be prosperous.”
Marriott launched its Diverse Ownership Initiative in 2005 to increase the number of diverse- and women-owned hotels. The initiative provides access, education and guidance throughout the hotel development process, beginning with selecting the right brand to opening a hotel. Marriott invites potential owners to participate in an intense two-day summit for networking and education.
The company is also actively hosting Diversity Ownership 101 Workshops with partner organizations such as the National Black MBA Association and Odyssey Network for Women. Marriott is also an active partner with the Asian American Hotel Owners Association and the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers.
“We have a solid portfolio of diverse owners who are extraordinary business partners. We want more women around the ownership table," said Roz Winegrad, Marriott International's Vice President of Owner Franchise Services. "We have a strong commitment to the economic empowerment of women around the world.”
The company's select service and extended stay brands - Courtyard, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites and TownePlace Suites - are fueling its diverse owner segment. "These brands are perfect for new owners because there is a lower threshold for entry as financing and hotel operations tend to be easier," said Eric Jacobs, Marriott International’s Chief Development Officer for Select Service and Extended Stay. "We intend for our owner relationships to be successful and profitable so that they continue to partner with us to build hotels throughout our portfolio of brands."
"When I decided to develop hotels, I knew I wanted Marriott hotels in my investment portfolio," said Norman Jenkins, Founder and President of Capstone Development, one of the owners and developers of the Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C.