When Davonne Reaves and Jessica Myers made history as the youngest Black women to co-own a property in a major hotel chain, it started a domino effect with people inquiring about where they could find a Black-owned hotel across the country.

That interest from people is what prompted her to launch the #StayBlackExperience campaign through her company, The Vonne Group, at a time when people are getting ready to travel again.  She hopes the campaign will inspire more people, especially Black travelers, to commit to supporting Black-owned accommodations starting summer 2021 and beyond.

“People can expect to create their own experiences because a lot of hotels on this list are accommodations that you probably would’ve never thought was a Black-owned hotel,” said Reaves. “We hope people that Black travelers are visiting places they would’ve never thought to visit because of these Black-owned hotels, and bed-and-breakfasts. We hope this will trickle down to the local Black economies as well as people explore the cities.”

But it wasn’t just the interest from potential travelers that inspired her, but also Black-owned business owners in the hospitality industry hit hard by the pandemic.

“As someone who worked at the front desk of hotels, in all my years, I’ve never seen it this bad before,” said Reaves. “A lot of the hospitality workers are getting laid off and a lot of hotels are closing, and I thought, ‘what can be done to help our community?’”

With the #StayBlackExperience campaign, Reaves has created a directory of more than 200 hotels, resorts, and bed-and-breakfasts with Black ownership or management. Some of the participating accommodations will also provide a special rate code to help Reaves and her team analyze data on how much money is spent within Black-owned businesses.

“There are a lot of reports about how Black people spend their dollars, but there’s not a report about how much money is circulating within the Black community when it comes to travel and tourism.”

Reaves is encouraging people to use the #StayBlackExperience hashtag on social media to create a movement of supporting the Black-owned hospitality industry.

You can find more information about the mission and a list of Black-owned accommodations on the campaign website.