Rooms Of A Different Hue

Diverse hotelsThis summer before you book that hotel reservation, check into the hotel?s diversity policy. Find out just how diverse the staff is, how many minorities are on the executive level, and if the hotel is committed to using minority suppliers and contractors.??

You can find most of the information on the hotel?s website or ask the reservationist for the Web links. At Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants (, for example, they have various diversity and inclusion programs. “We strive to build a work force that is as diverse and multi-faceted as the guests who choose to stay with us.?We value individuality, and the unique perspective that each team member brings and we encourage employees to bring their authentic selves to work every day.?It is our belief that with more diverse vantage points, we see more creativity and innovation from our employees,” says Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants? COO & President, Niki Leondakis.

She continues, “Our founder, Bill Kimpton believed in a culture of inclusivity, both internally as well as externally. Individuality is one of our seven core values. We respect and celebrate the diversity of thought our employees bring to the table. We believe that employees who feel respected, valued and listened to experience a higher satisfaction level with their jobs.”??

Most of the major hotel chains will have some sort of diversity programs.?Wyndham Worldwide ( focuses on both workforce and supplier diversity. Because of its global presence, Sheraton Hotels ( diversity and inclusion are part of its vision. The chain, according to the website, “pursues training and development to ensure a culture of inclusion where people at every level of the company can feel confident being themselves, taking chances and reaching for their dreams.” Every department at Sheraton is given diversity quotas; they also offer online language classes to associates at every level.??

The?Marriott ( has a Committee for Excellence that aims to fulfill the chains? diversity goals. The Committee was started in 2003, and not the chain?s?10-member Board of Directors includes three minorities, including two women. Marriott also has Regional Diversity and Inclusion Councils to ensure that its diversity strategy is implemented in local markets with strategic partnerships, targeted recruitment campaigns, diversity communications, and other outreach to associates.??

It seems to be working. Diversity Inc. magazine named Marriott International to its 2011 Diversity Inc. Top 50 Companies for diversity list. Marriott was named number one in supplier diversity, the highest-ranked hotel company on the list. Marriott was also named 14th overall, making it the highest-ranking hotel company on the list. Marriott was also included on two other specialty lists ? Top 10 Companies for Recruitment & Retention and Top 10 Companies for Blacks.

According to the Radisson Hotel chain (, it has a diversity and inclusion policy which guides the conduct of employees and managers pertaining to issues of diversity: to increase self awareness; to treat others with courtesy, dignity and respect; to be sensitive to the interpretation and potential impact of communication and actions; and to appreciate, value and celebrate differences.

The chain makes sure to celebrate multicultural events, featuring?educational displays, festive music and authentic cuisine. And it established a multicultural committee whose mission is:?”As open and teachable thought leaders, we will be the catalyst to guide Carlson Hotels in enabling a safe, rich, innovative environment that promotes understanding and the benefits of diversity.?We strive to celebrate and value differences and similarities.”

Radisson?is one of the lodging brands of Carlson Hotels Worldwide?and belongs to the Carlson Family of brands, Carlson Companies, Inc., one of America’s largest privately-owned corporations. It is also a woman- owned business, led by chairwoman and CEO Marilyn Carlson Nelson. The Radisson?has partnered with various organizations to reach its diversity development goals. These organizations include the Asian American Hotel Owners Association; the Minnesota Economic Development Association; the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers; the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc.; the United States Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce; and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

According to Hilton Hotels Corp. (, its diversity initiatives are incorporated into all aspects of their business operations: employment, training and mentoring, purchasing, franchising/hotel ownership, advertising, marketing, community support, and management performance measurements. And it, too, has a diversity committee, whose goal is to maintain a diverse workplace culture.??

Most hotels started their diversity programs within the last 10-15 years. “Although Kimpton established itself as a strong supporter of domestic partnerships nearly 15 years ago when we added domestic partner benefits to our medical plan in 1997, we are happy to say that Kimpton recently became one of a handful of companies to offer equal taxation.?This important distinction relieves employees in domestic partner situations from having to pay more per paycheck to cover their benefits.?It?s just one of many ways we care for our employees and a reason FORTUNE honored us on its ?Best Companies to Work For? list in 2009 and 2011,” says Leondakis.

According to Leondakis, the company is constantly fine-tuning its diversity programs. “We are always on the hunt for new ways to inspire staff to tap into their creativity and have fun together.?For example, in conjunction with National Diversity Month in October 2010, we launched a nationwide video contest challenging employees to tell us what Kimpton?s ?Stay True to You? motto meant to them.?We received an unexpected number and variety of entries, from group raps to clever jingles.?It was inspiring to see the teamwork and collaboration that went into each submission.?In fact, we highlighted many of the videos on Facebook and YouTube for the world to see,” says Leondakis.

“Another initiative we are excited about is the Diversity Board we launched in 2009.?This group of devoted employees focuses on recruiting minority candidates, creating a minority mentor program and developing employee resource groups.?Our policy of inclusion doesn?t stop with employees.?We also work with Regional Advisory Boards (RAB?s) to establish guidelines for supplier diversity.?For us, inclusion applies to everyone we come in contact with, not just guests and employees.”

Its diversity programs have seen several developments over the last few years. In fact, says Leondakis, “We are proud to report that just this year, we created a new Manager of Diversity and Recruitment position at Kimpton.?This new team member serves on the board of directors for The Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance and is active with the Women?s Foodservice Forum, which connects Kimpton to a diverse group of people whose experience and perspective assist us in evolving our diversity and inclusion efforts.?It?s a supportive environment that we are proud to be a part of, not only as we look to fill management positions, but to learn and share best practices in diversity and inclusion.”??

And Kimpton is looking ahead. “Over the years, we introduced many employee resource groups that are dedicated to promoting collaboration and communication among employees.?We are on the verge of launching an African-American Career Employee Engagement Group and a Latino Career Employee Engagement Group, which will offer new staff support and resources,” explains Leondakis. ?Additionally, in 2011 Kimpton became more deeply involved with organizations such as National Society for Minorities in Hospitality for internship and management training program opportunities.?In 2012, we will continue to leverage these avenues to reach new networks of talent that are interested in the hospitality industry.”