Industry NewsBrandsChoice Hosts Inaugural HERtels by Choice Development Seminar

Choice Hosts Inaugural HERtels by Choice Development Seminar

ROCKVILLE, Maryland—Building on its efforts to increase diversity across the hospitality industry, Choice Hotels International, Inc. kicked off its inaugural HERtels by Choice Development Seminar with nearly 40 franchise owners, general managers, and hotel associates in attendance as part of a series of events to commemorate Woman’s History Month on Monday, March 20.

“While industry-wide parity is improving, with more female investors, directors, and leaders in hospitality than ever before, women entrepreneurs still face significant economic and societal barriers when it comes to hotel ownership and development. As an industry, we owe it to the next generation of hoteliers to change this statistic, which is why Choice is proud to be at the forefront of rebalancing the scales of opportunity through HERtels by Choice,” said John Lancaster, vice president, emerging markets, franchise development, and owner relationships, Choice Hotels. “This initiative and the invaluable resources it provides is a natural extension of our industry-leading emerging markets program and our enduring commitment to helping growth-minded entrepreneurs further their unique ownership journey.”

The event addressed the discrepancy in hotel ownership rates for women by giving female owners a day of training, education sessions, and networking opportunities. In addition to encouraging women owners to build confidence and leverage best practices in the lending, construction, and hotel operations processes, the seminar also aimed to advance the opportunity of hotel ownership to underrepresented entrepreneurs by connecting prospective hoteliers with industry veterans and Choice executives.

“It is truly remarkable to be here today, on the eve of HUNTER, one of the largest lodging conferences. I remember the time when we’d have strategic networking sessions at events—in the ladies’ room. I will never take for granted having a room full of powerful, incredible, and intelligent women talking about equity moving forward to hotel ownership,” said keynote speaker Dia Simms, CEO, Lobos 1707 Tequila & Mezcal.

For two decades, Choice’s markets development program has made small business ownership a reality for underrepresented populations, including women entrepreneurs.

“One of the most significant barriers to hotel ownership is a lack of industry connections, and as a program built for women, by women, HERtels serves as an important link in closing this gap,” said third-generation hotelier Jyoti Sarolia, president & CEO, Ellis Hospitality. “Choice Hotels was the first brand that I owned which taught me how to build and grow my portfolio. Choice teaches you operations, revenue management, competitive sales and marketing, HR tips, and more on Choice University. There’s so much support allowing you to own any brand you desire and grow as big as you want with brands that are above or alongside your segment.”

Since launching the HERtels program in 2021, Choice Hotels has awarded more than 50 contracts to women entrepreneurs. In addition to HERtels by Choice, Choice Hotels continues to foster female hotel ownership through sponsorships and support at women-focused conferences on hotel ownership.