Hotels Seek Diverse Development Teams for a Fresh Perspective

diverse employees

One way to inject a fresh perspective into the hotel industry is to seek out diverse development teams. This is a strategy that Choice Hotels has been using for more than a decade. “We launched our emerging markets division in 2004,” Brian Parker, vice president emerging markets and new business development at Choice Hotels, says. “This department specifically focuses on recruiting under-represented minorities and untraditional hoteliers.”

The emerging markets division has had a tremendous impact on Choice’s growth, introducing the company to qualified candidates outside of the traditional hotel industry to build and acquire Choice-flagged properties. Parker says the division regularly recruits developers from the restaurant, auto, and gas and convenience industries. “We’re pursuing industries that have high minority representation and successful multi-unit owners. Someone who has one successful restaurant might not be a fit for hotel ownership, but someone with many successful restaurants? That’s someone we’d want to talk to.”

This approach has led to significant unit growth for Choice. “It’s all about market share,” Parker explains. “If we cast a wider net and recruit different pools of individuals to invest and build our brands, we can grow faster and more organically.” And of course, it also helps ensure that Choice has a diverse team to serve a diverse set of customers. “Diversity is key to what we do,” Parker says. “We want to have an owner base that reflects our customer base. This is one way that Choice is bridging that gap.”