IHG launches programme to push diverse hotel ownership

by: Felicity Cousins | August 29, 2023

US AND CANADA: IHG Hotels & Resorts, (IHG) has launched IHG LIFT, focused on enabling “more success” for its diverse ownership base.

IHG LIFT is aimed at hotel owners and will further diversify IHG’s owner community, as well as empower diverse owner-entrepreneurs to succeed. 

The name LIFT stands for Leadership, Inclusivity, Facilitation and Transformation and aims to represent the change needed and continued evolution across the industry.

The hotel group has said it will commit more than USD$30 million over the next five years to run the programme, which includes support, access to capital and help along the hotel lifecycle, for owners who qualify in the US and Canada. 

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 programme 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 programme 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.”

According to IHG, the LIFT programme is a continuation of the company’s ongoing commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). This includes increasing the number of diverse suppliers through its EPIC Supplier Diversity Programme, and working with architectural, design and construction firms that have DE&I commitments within their business.

The hotel group has also worked closely with the Asian-American hotel franchise community for decades and 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 organisations such as the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers (NABHOOD), and the Latino Hotel Association. 

To help expand opportunities for women seeking hotel ownership and investment, IHG also supports programmes such as She Has a Deal (which was founded to create pathways to hotel ownership for women through education, networking, and mentorship) and AHLA’s ForWard, which since 2018 has aimed to “harnesses the power of women to elevate the hospitality industry.”

IHG LIFT is aligned with the group’s 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.

We recently reported how in Thailand, IHG is encouraging diversity by offering meaningful opportunities to people with disabilities.

Image: Supplied