“Sophisticated investors don’t just think about today; they think about tomorrow.” – Davonne Reaves
Several Black women investors have come together as a team, a collective, and accomplished what many may have thought was impossible. They bought a Hilton hotel and made history at the same time as being among the youngest millennials to do so. What this shows, unarguably, is a display of women’s empowerment in its purest form.
“It’s so important to get around like-minded individuals because that’s controlling your environment. That’s being in an environment that you can draw from to succeed and get to those places,” explains Jessica Myers, co-owner of Home2 Suites in El Reno, Oklahoma.
Why Extended Stay
This amazing feat came about because of Myers and Davonne Reaves, the duo who created the Atlanta real estate investment firm Epiq Collective. Along with a culturally diverse team of savvy investors including, Acquania Escarne, these Black women now own the Home2 Suites by Hilton in El Reno. The $8.3 million deal took place during the heart of the pandemic, which is why this extended-stay brand property, which sits off the major interstate of I-40 near construction and oil sites, is such a sagacious expenditure.
Reaves tells, “An extended stay brand is a hotel where guests stay over five nights. It has a kitchen in it. Extended stay hotels are probably one of the most profitable in the hotel industry. Also, the brand, Hilton, is the #2 largest hotel brand in the world. So, you have all those different recipes for success. Then, you have Commonwealth, who is the operator for the hotel who came in and basically turned the hotel around.”
Escarne expounds, “We invested during COVID when no one was traveling, so we knew the risk and we also knew the potential gains. When people are traveling again, this could be the greatest position ever.”
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“Home2 Suites, when the deal came across the desk, it met the criteria… At the end of the day, everything is about numbers. You are born with a number, and you die with a number, so everything is about numbers, and this deal was basically a numbers deal. So that’s why we chose it,” says Reaves.
The Journey to Hotel Ownership
“We started back in 2018, 2019, and we just went looking for deals, networking and connecting. That’s when we started hosting events to get other players in the room and that’s where ultimately, we connected with Acquania through one of the platforms that we created to get on her podcast, but it ultimately started just from two friends with a vision. That’s why we say start with a goal because at least with a goal you can align with people that’s on that same path, that vision,” says Myers.
Escarne explains, “If I had known about this opportunity earlier, we would have done it earlier, but I didn’t know you could own a hotel. I didn’t know that groups of investors would collect their money and make million-dollar deals. They split the profit. They empower each other’s businesses.”
“We also have a common goal to create awareness for that African American woman; she can do this too. And we uplift each other,” adds Reaves.
Each investor in this deal has their own career and different lifestyle, yet they were able to build a bridge with that common goal. Myers elucidates, “Your network is your net worth. It's just making sure you’re having those conversations. When I started out in media, I was going to every networking event that I could. Then when I got into real estate, I was going to four networking events a week.
“It’s about getting in the room with people who are smarter than you and that think greater than you because that’s what helps with the vision of how I know what’s possible because I’m around people that do it every day… So, I definitely think that’s a huge component in where to get started is making sure you are in the right environment after setting your goal of what you want to do. Make sure you’re in the right environment that’s conducive to bringing it into fruition.”
It is Possible – The Future of Black Women Investors
Be clear, owning a hotel is something that does not take place overnight, however, it is possible once you become financially literate. Jessica Myers, Acquania Escarne, and Davonne Reaves all have platforms that can place you on the road to investing and financial independence.