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Marriott International launches ‘Bridging The Gap’ hotel development program 

Marriott International will offer financial and other incentives to qualified historically underrepresented owners and franchisees that will have a controlling equity interest in select branded projects. (The Daily Record/File photo)

Bethesda-based hospitality giant Marriott International announced at the 44th annual NYU International Hospitality Investment Conference the launch of “Marriott’s Bridging The Gap,” a multi-year, $50 million development program that aims to address the barriers to entry that historically underrepresented groups face in owning and developing hotels in the United States and Canada.

Recognizing that access to capital constitutes a critical barrier to market entry, Marriott will offer financial and other incentives to qualified historically underrepresented owners and franchisees that will have a controlling equity interest in select branded projects. The incentives will apply to new franchise applications submitted after June 1. Over three years, qualifying development projects built or converted under Marriott’s Bridging The Gap are expected to reach $1 billion in total asset value for historically underrepresented ownership groups.

In developing the program, Marriott tapped into the company’s development and franchising teams as well as current and potential hotel owners and franchisees. In addition to providing access to valuable capital, Marriott plans to utilize its extensive relationships with seasoned hotel developers, operators and lenders to assist and support eligible owners’ hotel projects.

The announcement of Marriott’s Bridging The Gap program is a significant step in Marriott’s longstanding effort to increase the ranks of diverse owners and franchisees. The company is a founding sponsor of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers (NABHOOD), She Has a Deal (SHaD) and the Latino Hotel Association.

Through its engagement with these organizations as well as the National Black MBA Association, Marriott has conducted outreach and educational seminars on the path to hotel ownership. In addition, Marriott regularly hosts a Diverse Owner Summit at its headquarters to identify and recruit investors with interest in hotel ownership.

Marriott International encompasses a portfolio of more than 8,000 properties under 30 brands spanning 139 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world.