BETHESDA, Md. — Marriott International has launched Marriott’s Bridging the Gap, a multi-year, $50-million development program that aims to address the barriers to entry historically faced by under-represented groups in terms of owning and developing hotels in Canada and the U.S.

Marriott will offer financial incentives to qualified under-represented owners and franchisees that will have a controlling equity interest in select branded properties. The incentives will apply to new franchise applications submitted after June 1. Over three years, qualifying development projects built or converted under Marriott’s Bridging the Gap are expected to reach $1 billion in total asset value for under-represented ownership groups.

This program is a step in Marriott’s effort to increase the ranks of diverse owners and franchisees. The company 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. Through its engagement with these organizations, as well as the National Black MBA Association, Marriott has conducted outreach and educational seminars on the path to hotel ownership. Additionally, Marriott regularly hosts a Diverse Owners Summit at its headquarters to recruit interested investors.

“At the heart of what we do every day is welcome all,” says Anthony Capuano, CEO, Marriott International. “Whether that’s people who stay with us, work in our hotels, meet our supply needs or develop hotels that fly one of our brand flags – all are welcome. With the establishment of Marriott’s Bridging the Gap, we are creating an on-ramp to help propel historically under-represented groups in the journey to hotel ownership more frequently and more successfully.” 

“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 in creating Marriott’s Bridging the Gap, which I hope others will emulate,” says Tracy Prigmore, founder, She Has A Deal. “Providing access to capital is a big step in knocking down the highest barrier to entry under-represented groups face when attempting to build or acquire a hotel.”

“A hotel is an economic engine for a community,” says Stephanie Linnartz, president, Marriott International. “We believe our guests, our associates, our hotels and the communities we serve will benefit from the full participation of under-represented groups in this extraordinary industry. Marriott’s Bridging the Gap program directly addresses some of the most critical barriers to entry, with a comprehensive approach designed to enable historically under-represented groups to enter our ownership ranks or to expand their current holdings.”


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