Hotel pitch puts former Whitefish woman’s career on an upward trajectory

Emma Claire Spring, 22, didn’t just dream of owning a hotel; she spent much of her life preparing for it.

As a child growing up in Whitefish, Spring pretended her home was a hotel and that she owned it, preparing the spare bedroom to visit family friends.

“I’ve wanted to own hotels since I was a little girl,” Spring said, noting that she loved staying in hotels and wanted to live there as a child.

“Of course when you’re little you don’t know what’s going on with property,” Spring said, like equity or capital – nebulous concepts for a child. “I used to think, ‘I’m going to build it with my own hands. “”

To get there, Spring knew she had to know how to run a business. In seventh grade, she switched from lemonade stands to what she considers her first business venture, “Pretty Witty Accessories”.

“I would make bags and pencil cases with Capri Suns. I also made bracelets, hair bows and bottle cap necklaces, ”Spring said, and I sold the accessories door-to-door.

In high school, she got her first hospitality job at the Best Western Rocky Mountain Lodge front desk and knew she was on the right track.

Spring continued to hone her business skills by attending a nationwide one-year program called Young Entrepreneurs Academy, where she said she learned the basics of starting and running a business. With $ 1,000 in seed capital and a six-minute pitch, she and two other classmates launched their climactic project – Appleholics, a business where they made and sold gourmet candied apples.

“I always knew I wanted to be a businesswoman,” said Spring, who graduated from Washington State University in May with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality business management with a minor in French.

THE SPRING CAREER her goals quickly began to take shape after graduation, starting with a major career boost in June, when she won a hotel investment pitch competition called “She Has a Deal.” And received the grand prize of $ 50,000 in equity. Spring was also thrilled to have the opportunity to speak to the President of Marriott International.

The competition started in December 2020 with an intense master class. Spring said he needs to learn the intricacies of entering into a hotel investment deal. Financial modeling has been the hardest to learn, Spring said, noting that her college degree focused more on hotel operations from a management perspective.

“The ownership side of things is largely driven by finance,” Spring said, noting that the competition was heavily focused on data analytics. “Lots of data and financial modeling review.

“Now that I’ve actually done it, I could easily do it again,” she said.

Spring, who chose to compete solo, sought out industry professionals to guide her in creating a hotel renovation proposal within the confines of a 15-minute pitch presented to the judges during the round. preliminary in May. Between the prelims and finals, she said her speech changed a lot.

“There were a lot of meetings,” she said, with the management of the construction companies.

Spring said she heard about the competition in her freshman year of college while attending a conference in New York City where she heard from She Has a Deal founder Tracy Prigmore of TLTsolutions, a company acquisition and development, talk about the competition and the goal of creating a path to increase the number of female hotel owners and developers, according to

Spring said the competition was niche, and therefore in line with his aspirations.

“It’s a sign from God that I had to be in this room and hear this,” she said.

NOW, SPRING is working on acquiring a hotel with the aim of making its hotel proposal a reality. Otherwise, the equity will be invested in the next hotel project pursued by TLTsolutions.

His career goals now are to spend the next 10 to 15 years learning as much as possible about the hospitality industry.

“I see myself doing something like Tracy – owning my own hotel investment company,” Spring said.

Currently, Spring is a Junior Market Manager for Inspirato, a Colorado-based luxury vacation subscription service, where she oversees real estate acquisitions for South Florida and the Caribbean.

The contest taught Spring a lot about overcoming all the doubts and questioning that comes with the territory of being a perfectionist.

“I definitely have impostor syndrome. The competition opened my eyes to the fact that I am a lot smarter than I think. I definitely gained a lot of self-confidence. When I won it really solidified everything I worked for.

“I also learned that you don’t have to be 40 to do this. You can be a young woman and really kill her, ”Spring said.

“Don’t be afraid to fail,” she advised. “Don’t be afraid that you are not old enough or knowledgeable enough on this topic. If it’s something you don’t know, you can learn it if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. You can.”

Journalist Hilary Matheson can be reached at 758-4431 or [email protected]

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