- Hilton’s new program for aspiring hotel owners, Unlocking Doors, will provide education, networking opportunities and access to capital for entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry.
- Hilton created the program in partnership with Bridge, a digital platform by commercial lending company Foro Holdings, which connects small- and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. with more than 75 lenders.
- Access to affordable capital is one of the biggest barriers to entry for would-be entrepreneurs in the hotel industry. Unlocking Doors is the latest program by a major hotel company intended to help aspiring hotel owners overcome lending hurdles.
Through Unlocking Doors, Hilton Supply Management will also offer access to the Bridge platform to all of its U.S. suppliers, meaning new and existing hotel owners will have access to more financing options.
“The hospitality industry is a powerful engine of opportunity for entrepreneurs who dream of owning and growing their own businesses, as well as creating jobs in their communities,” said Kevin Jacobs, Hilton’s CFO, in a statement. The new program, he said, is “a long-needed solution in making that opportunity attainable for all through education, access to capital and networking, and continues to support our efforts to build a portfolio of hotels around the world that meet guests’ needs anywhere they want to travel.”
Rohit Mathur, CEO of Bridge, said the platform would allow entrepreneurs to “not only access capital in a new and efficient way, but also compare options and connect with the best capital source to meet their needs.”
Several other hotel players also have programs designed to pave the way for would-be hotel owners.
In 2022, Marriott launched its Bridging the Gap program, which aims to diversify its owner and franchisee community by offering Black, Hispanic/Latino, indigenous and women owners access to capital. In July of last year, Red Roof launched a diversity and inclusion program that offers capital access and networking opportunities to underrepresented communities.
And Wyndham’s BOLD (Black Owners and Lodging Developers) assists Black entrepreneurs on their path to hotel ownership specifically. Wyndham also has a similar program geared toward women owners, Women Own the Room.