Industry NewsIHG LIFT Program Created to Support Growth for Diverse Hotel Owners

IHG LIFT Program Created to Support Growth for Diverse Hotel Owners


ATLANTA—IHG Hotels & Resorts introduced IHG LIFT, an owner growth program focused on creating more hotel development support for historically underrepresented groups within the hospitality industry and diversifying IHG’s hotel owner community. The company’s new program will help with common barriers to hotel ownership among these groups and garner success for diverse owner-entrepreneurs.

IHG will commit more than $30 million over the next five years to support the program, which includes support, access to capital, and help along the hotel lifecycle for owners who qualify in the United States and Canada. The IHG LIFT program name signifies Leadership, Inclusivity, Facilitation, and Transformation to represent the change needed and continued evolution across the industry.

Julienne Smith, chief development officer, Americas, IHG Hotels & Resorts, said, “As our industry grows, we need to keep our focus on enabling more success for our diverse ownership base. Barriers such as a lack of access to capital and the right networks put such owners at a disadvantage. The IHG LIFT program is specifically designed to help ease the path to ownership and ultimately support owners. Diversifying ownership is not only better for IHG, it also lifts up our entire industry.”

Jyoti Sarolia, CEO, Ellis Hospitality, and owner of IHG hotels in California, said, “A program such as IHG LIFT is important to our hotel industry. These efforts help grow our community of owners which should be as diverse as the guests we serve every day. IHG’s commitment and focus to make a difference certainly resonates with me as an owner.”

IHG LIFT is a continuation of the company’s commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), which extends a focus along the hotel lifecycle. This includes increasing the number of diverse suppliers through its EPIC Supplier Diversity Program and working with architectural, design, and construction firms with DEI commitments within their business.

IHG LIFT aims to attract diverse owners who are less represented within the hospitality industry and within IHG’s owner community. IHG has worked with the Asian-American hotel franchise community for decades. In addition to the diverse owners in its current portfolio, IHG’s support for underrepresented groups has included sponsoring conferences, speaking engagements, and lending expertise for organizations such as the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers (NABHOOD), and the Latino Hotel Association, among others. To help expand opportunities for women seeking hotel ownership and investment, IHG also supports programs such as She Has a Deal and AHLA’s ForWard. IHG is also engaged in partnerships with two historically Black colleges and universities—Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College.

IHG LIFT is aligned with IHG’s True Hospitality for Good and its Journey to Tomorrow 2030 responsible business plan to drive change for people, communities, and the planet, including cultivating an inclusive culture for our colleagues, owners, and suppliers.

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