NATIONAL REPORT—She Has a Deal, an investment pitch competition targeting female hotel owners, is set to host its inaugural Hotel Investment Master Class, furthering its mission to increase opportunities for leaders.
She Has a Deal was created to open pathways to ownership for women through education, mentorship and collaboration, and the new Master Class plans to hit all three points.
“When I began to explore hotels as a real estate investment class, I tried to learn everything I could about hotel investment,” recalled Tracy Prigmore, founder of She Has a Deal. “Although I attended conferences, called potential advisors and read everything I could find, it was surprising how challenging it was to find a mentor or someone who was willing to share the inside information in the way that I needed to learn.”
The barriers to entry are more than just financial, the founder explained, and most of the information about hotel investment is learned through a hands-on approach and gained from experiences, mentors and access to resources by sponsors.
“I can’t tell you the number of times I was brushed off or ignored because I didn’t already own a portfolio of hotels,” Prigmore said. “I knew that I was not alone as I consistently met women who were interested in becoming hotel owners but expressed the desire for deeper learning before taking on the risks. This type of interactive education that women are seeking is not available at existing hotel investment conferences. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands.”
Prigmore spent more than 20 years as a healthcare executive, but she soon realized that her financial future should not rest on her healthcare salary alone, so she began her journey into real estate investing.
“I started with residential real estate, and, at first, investing in real estate was a money-making hobby for me, but then it became so much more as it lifted my financial security, and friends, family and colleagues reached out to me for advice. My desire to empower others to build wealth through real estate investing ultimately led to founding TLTsolutions, a real estate acquisition and development firm that invests in hotels,” she said.
After meeting with leaders at Marriott and Hilton, Prigmore’s vision became clear, with both companies expressing a desire to increase the number of female franchisees. Her first conversation was with Hilton President & CEO Chris Nassetta back in June 2017, leading to subsequent meetings with Hilton. Then, after meeting with Eric Jacobs, Marriott’s chief development officer for its select-service and extended-stay brands in North America, Prigmore felt confident that she could make a difference.
In 2018, TLTsolutions made it its mission to increase the number of black hotel owners and to make hotel ownership more attainable. In 2019, the She Has a Deal Hotel Pitch Competition launched, and now, a class is extending its reach even further.
“At first, I focused on increasing the number of women and black hotel owners through my own company by sharing my knowledge with my current equity investors and aspiring hotel investors, but when I read Fidelity Investments’ 2018 ‘Women and Investing Study,’ I was compelled to do more,” she said. “I knew that the number of female real estate investors was low, based on my own experience and observation within the industry. In the Fidelity Investments study, I learned that less than a quarter of women are comfortable with their knowledge of investing. If you consider that women typically outlive male partners, this is an alarming statistic. Just as it’s important for us to push for wage parity, it’s equally important to educate ourselves about investing and close the wealth gap.”
Although the Master Class was scheduled to take place in person on April 23-24 at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner in McLean, VA, the class is transferring to an online platform due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the company is currently in the process of determining dates for the final.
“To meet and encourage social distancing guidelines, She Has A Deal is postponing in-person events and pivoting to online options where possible. Instructional courses will be moved online for participants to review at their own speed,” Prigmore said.
The Master Class series will begin live on April 24 via Zoom with an introduction to the nine-stage hotel investment process, a road map built by TLTsolutions.
The class is designed for individuals who want to become hotel owners/investors and for those who already are owners/investors and want to become savvier as they build a portfolio, Prigmore said, and especially valuable to aspiring sponsors/syndicators who want to promote investments.
She explained that the class is not an introductory course but intended for those who have attended hotel investment conferences and already know the basics of hotel ownership.
“Created by passionate hotel owners, our Master Class uses a case study approach to share everything we wish we knew—lessons and behind-the-scenes details that will simplify the ownership journey,” Prigmore said. “Whether one wants to become a sponsor or invest as a limited partner, this class will better prepare someone for the journey and boost his or her investing confidence.”
Although the structure may have changed, the class will provide additional content added biweekly to its online platform for participants to complete at their own pace.
There will also be bonus live online sessions with guest speakers ranging from Crowdfunding lawyer Jillian Sidoti, to other industry leaders. Prigmore said that other speakers will be added to the queue once they confirm their availability.
“This information is not taught in school,” Prigmore said. “As we’ve gone through the process of delivering this education, so many people have asked if they could pay to join the classes. I have been approached by both prospective and existing hotel investors for access to our education, so I decided to create a version that would be open to the public—both women and men—who don’t qualify for the pitch competition.”
In the class, participants can learn how to analyze a deal from evaluating historic market performance to projecting future demand; work with a proven financial model to project return on investment; obtain tools and templates with leading practices to facilitate closing the deal; explore a variety of deal structures to determine the best fit, and create an offering to appeal to prospective equity investors and lenders; learn how to become a sponsor of hotel investments, raising capital through Reg D 506b, Crowdfunding, 506c or Regulation A+; and understand how to tap into the $9.7 trillion in individual retirement accounts (IRAs), a growing equity funds pool.
Prigmore said that the company will eventually host an in-person event, but it’s still working on those dates.
“More women are needed as diversity is the key to designing services that really work for everyone,” she said. “As I learned from our friends at the Castell Project, companies with above-average representation of women on their boards generated total returns 163 basis points higher than companies with below-average representation and were able to do so with 48% less risk. For profitable firms, a move from no female leaders to 30% representation is associated with a 15% increase in the net revenue margin.”
The company is already planning for She Has a Deal 2021 and is working on more educational opportunities over the next year.
“Our best chance at achieving equality of representation for women is to lift each other,” Prigmore said. “Early career women should seek out mentors and sponsors who will do that, and She Has a Deal is one great way to do that, especially if one is interested in entrepreneurship with the ownership and development aspect of the industry.” HB