When Tracy Prigmore wanted to make a career move from investing in residential real estate to investing in commercial real estate, she was unsure about which asset class would be the right fit. She conducted extensive market research, but didn’t realize the value of hotel ownership until she took a personal trip to a Hampton Inn.
That experience opened her eyes, and she determined that hotels were where she wanted to steer her career. However, time and time again, Prigmore came up against barriers to entry. Her lack of mentorship and accessible information hindered her journey, but through persistence, her dream eventually became a reality. Now Prigmore, managing director for TLTsolutions, is using learnings from her past to mentor and guide women in the hotel industry.
In an effort to encourage women to enter the industry, Prigmore developed the She Has a Deal Pitch Competition, which provides young women with access to a hotel deal. Prigmore says, “You should be the change you want to see. That’s what I’m attempting to do. It’s not just about the competition; it’s about the education that we’re going to provide during the process. That is going to be the game-changer.”
She Has a Deal is looking for pitches from teams of one to three women. First, the teams must find a feasible hotel deal, which can encompass any independent hotel or brand from development to acquisition. Once the teams find deals, starting on December 15 of this year, Prigmore and her team of judges and sponsors will educate the women virtually, using modules on investment, marketing, finance, and raising capital. Then, after analyzing the deal’s data using analytics tools, the teams will put together a pitch.
Each team will virtually pitch to Prigmore, the judges, and sponsors. Four teams will advance to the final competition in Washington, D.C., on April 25, 2020. Those teams will pitch their deals live to the panel of judges and sponsors, receive feedback, and attend a luncheon, where the winners will be announced.
The winning team will be chosen on their ability to convince the judges and sponsors of the deal’s feasibility, as well as their pitch itself. The winners will receive $50,000 towards equity in the deal they pitched. If that deal cannot come to fruition, the winners will be involved in another deal. “As winners, they’ll automatically be owners in a deal as soon as we can acquire it,” says Prigmore.
Education is an important element of She Has a Deal, and it serves as a learning experience for what Prigmore calls “early careerists.” Each participant and team will be part of the learning portion of the competition, even if they don’t win, a valuable experience even for participants that don’t advance to the final portion. Prigmore adds, “There will only be one official winner, but everybody’s a winner.”
Prigmore also created the competition to help women network and find—as she calls it—their “squad,” saying, “Those are the people you can go to for information, ideas, and challenges. People who are supportive and want to see you win. We’re focusing on building a community where they can get to know each other. The other part of that community are the luminaries that will be resources for this group of women, as well as judges and sponsors.”
Prigmore says the information provided during She Has a Deal will be “refined during this process” both for women who want a career change and those who already have a career in hospitality. She adds that more competitions like She Has a Deal will follow and be inclusive of any person—male or female— that needs more information on entrepreneurship and development. And although She Has a Deal is for young women entering the field, Prigmore hopes the information gleaned throughout the competition can be available to women already in the industry who want more knowledge on finding deals that make sense.
Looking forward, Prigmore hopes to be a mentor for women coming up through the ranks. She notes, “I have finally arrived where I was trying to go, and I have learned a lot along the way. I have a lot to share and I want to share it, and I know other people need a forum to share with women who are helping each other.”