She Has a Deal makes way for new pitches that could change the hotel industry
by SUSAN BARRY
Tracy Prigmore spent 20 years as a health care executive. When a financial advisor suggested she read “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” the message of the book clicked. Tracy decided her financial future could not rest on her health care salary alone, so she embarked on a journey into real estate investing that ultimately led to founding TLTsolutions, a real estate acquisition and development firm that invests in hotels.
THE SOBERING TRUTH
As Prigmore worked to make hotel ownership more attainable for underserved investors, she quickly learned access to information and mentorship was held closely within the male-dominated field. “It was challenging to create the connections and access the networks, which is one of the key barriers preventing women from advancing in the field,” Prigmore said. “Furthermore, as I meet aspiring hotel owners, they express the same eagerness to gain the knowledge and experience needed.”
At first, Prigmore focused on increasing the number of women and black hotel owners through her own company by sharing her knowledge with partner investors. But when she read Fidelity Investments’ 2018 “Women and Investing Study,” she was compelled to do more.
“I knew the number of women real estate investors was low based on my own experience and observation within the industry,” Prigmore said. “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 as important to educate ourselves about investing.”
She Has a Deal was born. Conceived as a hotel investment pitch competition for women in the early stages of their careers, She Has a Deal is so much more.
“I want to create new pathways to hotel ownership and development for women, and while this mission is organized around our pitch competition, we are providing educational sessions, exposure to the business, inspirational examples, and a powerful network for our participants,” Prigmore said. “They are meeting the mentors and collaborators that will support their efforts long after the competition is over.”
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Early careerists – defined as students or recent graduates – applied to participate in the pitch competition in fall of 2019. A total of 17 teams were accepted, made up of between one and three participants each, and there are a total of 35 women from 12 schools. From December through February, the participants attended a series of Master Classes that walk them through the process of sourcing, evaluating, financing, and pitching a hotel investment deal.
She Has a Deal provides a financial model to assist the competitors in their search for the best hotel deal. And it’s not just a deal on paper: The pitch teams are finding, evaluating, and proposing real hotel deals, with the chance to win $50,000 in deal equity.
This month, pitchers will present their deals via web conference to a panel of industry experts. The judging panel is intended to mirror the variety of potential investors in a hotel deal with fund managers, real estate investors, hotel brands, and individual investors all represented.
After hearing all 17 pitches, the panel of judges will select four finalists to move on to the final, live pitching round. Those four teams will come together next month at Hilton’s Innovation Gallery in McLean, VA, to pitch their deals before a live judging panel and audience. “It’s like ‘Shark Tank,’ without the sharks,” Prigmore said.
The support of the industry has been impressive. Both Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide are founding sponsors, and firms like legal advisors Greenberg Traurig and ZDS Architectural Design also are on board.
Next month, She Has a Deal will host a three-day event (April 23-25) that includes a Hotel Investor Master Class open to men and women, presentations from inspirational women in business, and an awards luncheon at which the winning pitch team will be announced. All of the pitch teams will attend in order to network with industry leaders and each other and to be recognized for their completion of the She Has a Deal program.
“We will inspire and connect women by facilitating education and experiences that will help them achieve their ambitions,” Prigmore said. “My objectives are to expose women to hotel ownership and development early in their careers, educate them on how to analyze and structure a deal, and create a forum for cultivating professional relationships that lead to mentorship and future collaborations.”
If you are interested in attending either the Hotel Investor Master Class or the She Has a Deal awards luncheon, tickets are available at www.shehasadeal.com/tickets.
TOP OF THE CLASS
Master Classes are taught by hospitality industry luminaries: experts in the field with real-world experience and advice. Some of the topics covered in the She Has a Deal Master Classes are:
- How to work with a broker
- How to analyze supply and demand in a market
- How to use industry reports such as STR and Kalibri Labs’ Trendline Report
- How to read a hotel financial statement