For the past 15 years, Choice Hotels has devoted itself to its long-standing commitment to make small business ownership a reality for minority entrepreneurs.

Now, the hotel group has announced the creation of a first-of-its-kind collective exclusively for Black hoteliers called the Choice Hotels Owners African American Alliance (CHOAAA) — the hotel industry’s only franchisee-focused group dedicated to Black hotel owners, a press release shares.

As stated in the announcement, CHOAAA was designed to provide ongoing representation, support and advocacy for these underrepresented entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry.

“The racial and social inequality challenges facing our nation and industry have moved us as a company to do more, building on the work we’ve been committed to for decades,” said Patrick Pacious, President/CEO Choice Hotels, in a statement. “As part of our pledge to cultivate a culture of diversity, equity and belonging, we have taken steps to decisively move us forward — including creating a franchise owner’s council supporting Black and African American hoteliers.”

CHOAAA’s mission for the council is to provide a space for Black hotel owners of Choice-brand hotels to engage directly with the company’s leadership and emerging markets team, and also have them contribute to the development and execution of key initiatives under the Choice Hotels umbrella.

“It is our goal to provide a platform for owners to express their voices and unique experiences directly with us, and we look forward to working together with this dynamic group of leaders to advance diversity across the hospitality industry,” Pacious concluded in his statement.

The over-arching goal is to ultimately enhance the diversity of Choice Hotels’ ownership base by expanding the representation of Black entrepreneurs.

According to a press release, key objectives for the CHOAAA include:

      • Ensuring that Black and African American owners are fully engaged in all the benefits associated with owning Choice-brand hotels.
      • Incorporating Black and African American owners, hotel employees and vendors fully into the Choice Hotels system.
      • Collaborating and recognizing the importance of Blacks and African Americans in the overall success of the company.
      • Advising Choice leadership on areas such as communication, innovation, ideation, creativity and decision making.

In addition to this newly-formed group, Choice Hotels also has plans to introduce a hospitality internship program for students attending HBCUs, which is set to debut in 2021.

Choice’s dedication to diversity in the hotel space has made them a leader in bridging the racial gaps that exist, and this focused collective will only open more doors to make the hospitality industry more inclusive.

“As the only lodging company with a team dedicated exclusively to growing a diverse franchisee base, we take great pride in our history of inclusion. However, we recognize there is always room to do more. The creation of CHOAAA is a vital step towards achieving our vision,” said John Lancaster –regional vice president, emerging markets, franchise development and owner relationships — in a statement. “CHOAAA will help us grow an even more diverse owner base so we can further extend the well-deserving opportunity of hotel ownership to those who have historically been less represented in the hospitality industry.”

For more information about Choice Hotels’ diversity initiatives, click here.