Wyndham Hotels and Resorts’ ground-breaking ‘Women Own the Room’ initiative is proving to be a massive hit in North America, with the chain revealing at the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference (Mar 20) in Atlanta the program has reached 16 hotel openings and more than 50 signings in just over 24 months.

The first-of-its-kind offering – which has seen its network of current and prospective women hotel owners climb to more than 550 – leverages Wyndham’s scale and influence to break down the unique barriers women face on the path to hotel ownership according to Wyndham Hotels and Resorts’ VP of Strategic Franchise Initiatives, Galen Barrett.

“For decades, the hotel industry has been complacent in allowing women to remain on the sidelines of hotel ownership and in turn, has missed out on the opportunity to strengthen itself through greater diversity,” Barrett said.

“Women Own the Room and the subsequent programs it has inspired throughout the industry are finally changing the narrative and Wyndham is proud to lead the way.”

According to data from U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Castell Project, while women make up nearly 60% of the work force in hospitality, they hold only one leadership spot for every 10 men.

Barrett said from offering comprehensive financial solutions, personalized operational support and a community that promotes networking and education, Women Own the Room was specifically curated and continues to evolve to meet the needs of women in the industry and “the strategy is working”.

Inspired by her mother, who grew her own business of owning rental properties, film and television producer Christina Lambert – one of the program’s founding members – joined the hotel industry in 2020 after a successful career in the arts. Lambert, along with her mother, decided to purchase two hotels in Loveland, Colorado, one of which required a sizeable loan to complete the transaction. After being rejected by multiple lenders, one finally said yes.

Shortly thereafter, Lambert joined forces with Wyndham and she said it was a decision driven by Wyndham’s ability to offer one-on-one renovation support (including key money), combined with its commitment to championing diverse ownership through Women Own the Room.

Now, her hotels – a 50-room Travelodge by Wyndham and 49-room Baymont by Wyndham – are flourishing and outperforming their competitive sets, according to Lambert.

She said revenues for the Travelodge are up more than 29% over the last two years, while the Baymont, which she converted from a competitor brand in 2021, is up more than 26% year-over-year.

“Wyndham has played a pivotal role in my success as a first-time hotelier, which I credit not just to the accessibility and responsiveness of leadership, but their willingness to work with me on an individual basis to help my hotels thrive,” she said.

“Through Women Own the Room, Wyndham is actively investing in women and in doing so, they’re changing the face of the hotel industry.”

Barrett said in addition to the unique benefits offered by Women Own the Room, Wyndham franchisees benefit from the Wyndham Advantage, “a combination of world-class marketing, distribution and other resources designed to put owners on the path to success”.

“Inclusive of more than US$275 million in innovative technology investments over the past five years, owners have access to best-in-class technology from industry-leading providers, including next-gen property and revenue management systems, as well as a growing member base of more than 106 million enrolled Wyndham Rewards members globally,” Barrett said.

Since first launching in early 2022, Women Own the Room has led to the signing of more than 50 hotels, representing over 4,000 rooms, across the United States and Canada.

Barrett said today, 16 hotels are open spanning brands like Days Inn, Baymont, Wyndham and Trademark across Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, Georgia, Virginia and more, with approximately 5 to 10 additional hotels anticipated to open over the next 12 months.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management