PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Wyndham Hotels & Resorts announced its first signed agreement as part of its “Women Own the Room” program, which the company launched in August 2021. Trusha Patel, founder and CEO, Platinum Holdings, is the program’s first member with two new-construction La Quinta and Hawthorn Suites dual-branded hotels. The program is designed to advance and empower women entrepreneurs to break through the predominantly male-dominated hotel industry.
Hospitality industry data shows that women are significantly underrepresented in hotel ownership, real estate, and investment funding roles. Research conducted by Castell Project in 2021 found that while the hospitality industry is one of the most diverse, it lags when it comes to diversity in senior positions and ownership. While women make up 70 percent of the tourism and hospitality workforce, they only make up 10 percent of hotel development roles.
“Hospitality is one of the most diverse industries in the world and we should be fostering that diversity at the highest levels including ownership,” said Lisa Checchio, chief marketing officer, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. “While the workforce in the tourism and hospitality industry is comprised of 70 percent women, only one woman enters hotel development for every 9.6 men. ‘Women Own the Room’ is specifically designed to help overcome the common barriers women face in hotel development and help them open and run their hotels.”
Women Own the Room is built upon the pillars of:
- Delivering comprehensive financial solutions through enhanced capital support, a reduced initial franchise fee, and being available for new construction and conversion projects;
- Offering personalized and complimentary operational guidance & support, including personalized opening support, best-in-class training, and complimentary services designed to help maximize revenue.
- Establishing an inclusive community for networking and education via electing sites and performing feasibility assessments, events focusing on topics like tips on securing financing, and sharing success stories from women in hotel development.
Wyndham’s new program aims to help address the women in business who lack advisors to guide them through entrepreneurship by connecting those interested in the hotel business with established women hotel developers who successfully broke the mold. Additionally, the company offers a development incentive program that provides meaningful Wyndham financing, discounts on initial fees, and complimentary first-year operating services to support the success of hotels developed by women.
“I grew up in the hospitality industry and have been involved in every facet of hotel ownership, from development to dispositions. When embarking on owning a hotel of my own, it was helpful to have access to the resources that Wyndham provides,” said Trusha Patel, founder and CEO, Platinum Holdings. “With the support of Wyndham, I have the backing of the world’s largest hotel company behind me. This is an incredible opportunity to realize my personal hospitality objectives, and also an opportunity to inspire other women to fulfill their entrepreneurship goals.”
Patel will open two La Quinta and Hawthorn Suites dual-branded hotels in the rapidly growing Texas cities of Austin and Georgetown. Each hotel will offer a combined 125 guestrooms—75 will feature the recently refreshed room design from La Quinta’s Del Sol prototype and 50 will feature the updated Hawthorn room design including modern, well-equipped kitchens for extended-stay guests. This pairing of select-service and long-term lodging targets different types of travelers, bringing them together under one roof and allows Wyndham to provide options for travelers looking for extended stays, especially in the growing midscale space.
“Members of ‘Women Own the Room’ will have access to the tools and support designed to help them achieve success every step of the way, from signing and breaking ground to welcoming their first guests. The program is designed to clear the path for women who are eager to make their mark in the hospitality industry,” said Chip Ohlsson, chief development officer, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.