IHG launches IHG LIFT diversity program

IHG Hotels & Resorts has introduced IHG LIFT, an owner growth program focused on creating more hotel development support for historically under-represented groups within the hospitality industry, and further diversifying IHG’s hotel owner community. The new program will help unlock common barriers to hotel ownership among these groups and empower diverse owner-entrepreneurs for success, the company reports.

IHG will commit more than $30 million over the next five years to support the program, which includes support, access to capital and help along the hotel lifecycle, for owners who qualify in the U.S. and Canada. The IHG LIFT program name signifies Leadership, Inclusivity, Facilitation and Transformation to represent the change needed and continued evolution across the industry.

“As our industry grows, we need to keep our focus on enabling more success for our diverse ownership base,” said Julienne Smith, chief development officer, Americas, IHG Hotels & Resorts. “Barriers such as a lack of access to capital and the right networks put such owners at a disadvantage. The IHG LIFT program 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, added, “A program 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.”

The program is a continuation of the company’s ongoing and firm commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), which extends a focus along the hotel lifecycle. This includes increasing the number of diverse suppliers through its EPIC Supplier Diversity Program, and working with architectural, design and construction firms that have DEI commitments within their business.

IHG LIFT aims to attract diverse owners that are less represented within the hospitality industry and within IHG’s owner community, the company reports.