From a young age, Kendra Plummer, whose family is from Jamaica and Barbados, dreamed of owning a boutique hotel on the islands, recognizing the economic impact and wealth-building opportunities the tourism industry brings to the Caribbean. But when the Atlanta-based Plummer, who holds both a degree in tourism and hospitality management and an MBA, began working for management and private equity groups, she realized “there was a gap in seeing people with similar backgrounds to me. Black people and women in ownership are very scarce. That prompted me to expand my vision from owning a hotel on my own to becoming more inclusive and creating an ownership platform.”
That’s Elise Capital (named for both Plummer and her grandmother’s middle names), which she launched in 2019. A hotel-focused, real-estate investment firm, it also operates as a consultancy, offering education and other opportunities to current and potential investors. “We help people on all levels,” she explains. “Of course, there’s more than just getting in the door—we have to be able to elevate people while they’re in the building.” Elise Capital’s resources, therefore, include an online education community, financial evaluation services, an investment evaluation toolkit for potential owners, and mentorship opportunities—all in addition to its own hotel investment partnership opportunities.
Part of Plummer’s mission is to highlight the benefits of hotel ownership. “Most people aren’t interested in hotels, not because they don’t find it a smart investment, but they don’t even know it is possible. That’s part of our education—it might not be as daunting of an investment; it’s actually reachable. Breaking down what ownership structures look like makes it more of a reality.”
Helping to diversify the industry from an ownership perspective is also front and center. “The hotel industry is inherently a service industry,” Plummer continues. “We’re here to make people feel welcome, even when they’re not at home. That means [making] everyone feel welcome. When you have diverse representation in your ownership structure, it allows for more inclusion and understanding of what different types of people might need. The ownership space is something that I’m passionate about because of how it can diversify our industry, but also help people as a whole.”
This article originally appeared in HD’s June/July 2021 issue.