When Tracy Prigmore decided to shift her career to hotel ownership, it didn’t take long for her to notice the lack of women owners at industry events and conferences. And after she rose to success as a Hilton and Marriott franchise owner, she found she wasn’t the only one wondering how to get started in the world of real estate investment.
“Once I actually broke through and became an owner, many women were approaching me and saying…’I’ve always wanted to own hotels, I’m very interested in owning hotels. However, I’ve been to this conference, I’ve been to that conference, I listened to this panel and I’m still not clear or sure where to start or how it works,'” Prigmore told Technical.ly.
After attempting to work with multiple hotel chains on improving the number of women in the industry, Prigmore took matters into her own hands and founded She Has a Deal.
“I knew that, number one, women needed to be exposed and inspired because if you don’t see yourself or see other women doing it, you don’t think necessarily that it’s woman-suited or a woman’s business,” Prigmore said. “So I wanted to first expose and inspire them, and then most importantly educate on, how do you get started?”
The company’s education platform features a multitude of master classes on hotel ownership, networking opportunities and investment how-to. To help women bring what they’ve learned full circle, the four-person, Tysons, Virginia-based company hosts an annual pitch competition to help women get the equity and investments they need to kickstart their hotel ownership plans. It also created a fund to invest in deals.
The company, founded in 2019, was recently announced as one of the winners of the Women For Tomorrow initiative from WeWork, receiving free workspace from the coworking company and mentorship.
Prigmore said that the first pitch competition in 2020 featured 27 women, and 20 participated in its second annual event on June 5. One of the most important aspects of She Has a Deal, she said, is teaching women how to legally raise equity through vehicles like crowdfunding platforms and Regulation D to help them find the capital they need.
She Has a Deal seeks to inspire and educate women on opportunities in hotel ownership.
According to Prigmore, some of the discrepancies faced by women in the industry can be attributed to the general lower amounts of wealth and income women accumulate.
“Some research that we found shows that women invest less, or are less comfortable taking on risk and investing,” Prigmore said. “And investing is what helps also to generate wealth…As a whole, women have a lower net worth, lower liquidity than males, so the ability to be able to invest your own money as well as to get a loan or qualified for a loan, it can be a challenge.”
It’s also especially important to ensure women are prepared and knowledgeable about investments, Prigmore said, because many funds have men at the forefront.
“There are men who actually control the dollars, who make those decisions,” Prigmore said. “So when they see a woman or get an application from a woman, they haven’t seen a lot of women in this space and there are some gender biases about, how can they be successful?”
The annual She Has a Deal pitch competition was started for early-career women looking to break into the hotel business. For the third event in 2022, Prigmore said it will be opening up applications for an additional track for more seasoned professionals, as well. Applications for both tracks open June 24.
Going forward, Prigmore said She Has a Deal hopes to bring on an executive director in the earlier part of 2022. This month, it also launched its first funding round seeking $20 million in seed funding, which will primarily go back into women-owned hotel investments. She’s also been approached about launching a She Has a Deal Canada competition, and eventually hopes to continue expanding internationally.