HOTEL BUSINESS REVIEW

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Balancing Diversity in the Hospitality Industry

Creating Harmony Among Owners, Guests, and Team Members

By Danny Williams Managing Director, Trump International Beach Resort Miami | June 2024

In the bustling world of hospitality, hotels serve as microcosms of society, welcoming guests from diverse backgrounds, while also employing teams of individuals with varied experiences and perspectives. At the heart of this dynamic ecosystem lies a delicate balance between owners, guests, and team members, each bringing their unique essence to the table.

Achieving harmony among these stakeholders requires a thoughtful approach to diversity and inclusion, ensuring that all voices are heard, valued, and respected.

Owners: Nurturing a Vision of Inclusivity

Owners are the architects of a hotel’s identity and ethos. They set the tone for the establishment’s culture and values, shaping the experience for both guests and team members. In today’s world, forward-thinking owners understand the importance of embracing diversity in all its forms. This includes diversity in ownership itself, as well as fostering an environment where diverse perspectives are welcomed and celebrated.

To cultivate inclusivity among owners, it’s essential to prioritize diversity in ownership structures. This may involve actively seeking out investors from underrepresented communities or supporting initiatives that promote minority ownership in the hospitality industry. Additionally, owners can champion diversity by incorporating inclusive practices into their business strategies, such as partnering with diverse suppliers and vendors or implementing diversity training programs for staff.

By embracing diversity at the ownership level, hotels can send a powerful message of inclusivity that resonates throughout the organization, ultimately enriching the guest experience and fostering a more engaged and motivated team.

Guests: Creating a Welcoming Haven for All

Hotels are a home away from home for guests, providing a sanctuary where individuals from all walks of life can come together to relax, explore, and connect. As such, it’s imperative that hotels prioritize inclusivity and accessibility to ensure that every guest feels welcome and valued.

Creating a welcoming environment begins with understanding the diverse needs and preferences of guests. This may involve offering a range of accommodations to suit different budgets and lifestyles, as well as providing amenities and services that cater to diverse cultural backgrounds and dietary requirements. Hotels can also foster inclusivity by embracing diversity in their marketing and branding efforts, showcasing a range of perspectives and experiences that reflect the rich tapestry of humanity.

Furthermore, hotels can take proactive steps to address systemic barriers to access, such as ensuring facilities are wheelchair accessible and implementing policies that prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other protected characteristic. By prioritizing inclusivity in every aspect of the guest experience, hotels can create a haven where all individuals feel respected, valued, and at home.

Team Members: Fostering a Culture of Belonging

Team members are the lifeblood of any hotel, serving as ambassadors for the brand and guardians of the guest experience. Fostering a culture of belonging among team members is essential for creating a positive work environment where everyone feels empowered to contribute their unique talents and perspectives.

To nurture diversity among team members, hotels can implement inclusive hiring practices that prioritize diversity and equity. This may involve establishing recruitment strategies that reach out to underrepresented communities, offering training and development programs that support career advancement for diverse candidates, and fostering a workplace culture that celebrates differences and promotes inclusivity.

Moreover, hotels can empower team members to become advocates for diversity and inclusion within the organization by providing opportunities for open dialogue, feedback, and collaboration. By fostering a sense of belonging among team members, hotels can create a supportive and inclusive work environment where everyone can thrive and contribute to the collective success of the organization.

As Managing Director, my personal approach is to ensure equality among owners, guests, and staff members - what I call my Management Trilogy - and each side is considered equally important.

A real-life example of a specific situation and decision that balanced the interest of all stakeholders was that over the past few years, staffing the resort with highly qualified and motivated team members has been a focus. We identified an International Workforce as beneficial for owners and guests, providing seasonal relief for our "year-round" team members to enjoy their vacations and time with family.

In order to ensure open communication and collaboration between owners, guests, and staff members, we conduct monthly meetings with ownership representatives to review financial results and operational updates. Additionally, we have daily, weekly, and monthly meetings for open communication. We also organize surprises to celebrate various topics, fostering camaraderie and a sense of belonging among team members.

Should conflicts arise between the stakeholders, our executive team quickly discusses and addresses conflicting scenarios to find resolutions collaboratively and satisfactory to all.

It is also imperative that the interests and goals of owners, guests, and team members align with the overall mission and vision of the hotel. As our ultimate goal is guest satisfaction, we listen to all suggestions aimed at enhancing guest experiences, encouraging return visits, and positive word-of-mouth recommendations.

To measure the satisfaction and engagement levels of owners, guests, and staff members, we collect guest feedback daily and utilize an external agency to gather and analyze responses. Additionally, we monitor social media feedback and engage on social platforms daily.

I also would like to highlight the importance of diversity training and development in creating a positive work environment and guest experience. Our HR team regularly conducts diversity training to ensure our staff remains updated on diversity matters, fostering a positive workplace environment and enhancing guest experiences.

At our resort, we recognize the significance of continuous learning and development to keep pace with the evolving landscape of Miami’s diverse workforce and community. To this end, we have recently completed an all-employee Forbes service training tailored for all resort employees across various departments. This comprehensive training program emphasizes the importance of exceptional service, guest satisfaction, and aligning our practices with the highest industry standards.

In addition to the Forbes service training, we are committed to ongoing diversity training initiatives at the resort. Our diversity training encompasses a broad spectrum, including awareness and sensitivity training for different sexual orientations, religious beliefs, international cultures, and dietary preferences like Kosher. These training sessions are designed to cultivate a more inclusive and understanding environment, reflecting the rich diversity of our team and guests.

The diversity of Miami and South Florida in particular plays a role, both in terms of the team composition and guest satisfaction. Our resort team naturally reflects the diverse community of Miami and South Florida, contributing to a culturally rich experience for our guests who visit from all corners of the world.

Fostering a culture of accountability and empowerment among staff members can sometimes be challenging, but we express daily appreciation for team members’ efforts, creating a sense of value and motivation while holding them accountable to the high standards and expectations our guests have come accustomed to.

Addressing concerns or feedback from owners, guests, or staff members promptly and effectively is equally important as training and motivation. We prioritize concerns and establish action plans to address them promptly, ensuring the satisfaction of all stakeholders.

Through attending local events and industry conferences, I stay abreast of trends and changes while meeting the needs of all stakeholders, to guarantee our hotel remains competitive and innovative for years to come.

Expanding on the Impact of Diversity Initiatives and Strategies

Diversity initiatives and strategies in the hospitality industry go beyond mere compliance with regulations; they are fundamental to success in a globalized and interconnected world. By fostering an environment that embraces diversity and inclusion, hotels can reap numerous benefits that extend beyond the bottom line.

One of the most significant impacts of diversity initiatives is their effect on guest satisfaction. In today’s increasingly diverse world, guests are seeking experiences that resonate with their individual backgrounds and preferences. Hotels that prioritize inclusivity and cater to

the needs of diverse guest demographics are more likely to attract and retain loyal customers. Moreover, guests are more likely to recommend a hotel to others if they feel valued and respected during their stay, leading to positive word-of-mouth marketing and enhanced reputation.

Furthermore, diversity initiatives can have a profound effect on employee retention and morale. When team members feel that their voices are heard and their contributions are valued, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work. This, in turn, leads to higher levels of productivity and job satisfaction, ultimately reducing turnover rates and associated costs for recruitment and training.

Moreover, diverse teams are often more innovative and creative, bringing a broader range of perspectives and ideas to the table. This can lead to the development of new products, services, and experiences that appeal to a wider audience and differentiate the hotel from its competitors. In today’s competitive hospitality market, innovation is key to staying ahead of the curve and attracting discerning guests who are seeking unique and memorable experiences.

Additionally, diversity initiatives can help hotels tap into new markets and expand their customer base. By catering to the needs and preferences of diverse guest demographics, hotels can attract travelers from different cultural backgrounds, ethnicities, and lifestyles. This not only increases revenue and profitability but also enhances the hotel’s reputation as a welcoming and inclusive destination for all.

Furthermore, diversity initiatives can help hotels build stronger relationships with the local community and foster goodwill among stakeholders. By actively engaging with community organizations, supporting local initiatives, and hiring from the surrounding area, hotels can demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion while also benefiting from a positive reputation and increased brand loyalty.

In summary, diversity initiatives and strategies play a crucial role in the success of hotels in today’s competitive hospitality industry. By embracing diversity and inclusion at all levels of the organization, hotels can enhance guest satisfaction, improve employee retention, foster innovation, tap into new markets, and strengthen relationships with the local community. Ultimately, prioritizing diversity is not just the right thing to do-it’s also a smart business strategy that drives long-term success.

Mr. Williams

Danny Williams, Managing Director at Trump International Beach Resort Miami, is a distinguished figure in the hospitality industry with over 30 years of experience. Widely recognized for his exceptional contributions, Mr. Williams has held key leadership roles, including as a consultant for Island Hospitality Advisors and as Regional Vice President of Resort Operations at Bluegreen Vacations. His strategic acumen significantly contributed to the success of these organizations. As the former General Manager at Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive, Mr. Williams showcased his ability to navigate challenges and drive success in a competitive market. Acknowledged by MogulRecruiter, his recognition as a top-tier general manager underscores his influence and impact on the industry. Extended Biography & Contact Information

HotelExecutive retains the copyright to the articles published in the Hotel Business Review. Articles cannot be republished without prior written consent by HotelExecutive.

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13. PRIVACY POLICY

The following is the Privacy Policy for HotelExecutive

We can be reached via telephone, email, or online at our contact page. When you visit our site we do not log any information regarding your domain or email address. Information Sharing: We do not share user information with any third parties other than via press release distribution as described below.

Hotel Newswire is a newswire service that distributes press releases on behalf of our users. If you decide to submit a press release for distribution through our system we will transmit your entire press release including any personal information therein contained to our media contacts and online distribution points including search engines. This is the only redistribution of your information that we engage in. Your submission of press releases through our system indicates consent with this policy. The information we collect during your registration process is used to notify users about updates to our service and inform users of any special events hosted by Hotel Newswire. This information is not shared with other organizations for commercial or non-commercial purposes.

Cookies: Our system requires the use of cookies to enable the user to log back into our website to access information from the newswire, without having to log in each time using the required username and password.

If you do not want to receive email from us in the future, please let us know by following instructions included in our communication with you. Users who supply us with telephone numbers online may receive telephone contact from us regarding their account, or informing them of new products and services available on the HotelExecutive website. If you do not wish to receive such telephone calls, please edit your account and remove your phone number from your account profile. This can be done from your user account menu.

Ad Servers: We do not partner with or have any relationship with any ad server companies. From time to time, we may use customer information for new uses not previously disclosed in our privacy notice. If our information practices change at any time, we will post the policy changes to our website to notify you of these changes and provide you with the ability to opt out of these new uses. If you are concerned about how your information is used, you should check back at our website periodically.

Upon request we provide site visitors with access to all information (including proprietary information) that we maintain about them. Users can access this information by logging in to their account.

Security: We always use industry-standard encryption technologies while transferring and receiving user data exchanged with our site. We have appropriate security measures in place in our physical facilities to protect against the loss, misuse, or alteration of information that we have collected from you on our site. We do not store credit card information in our systems.

If you feel that this site is not following its stated information policy, you may contact us.

David Salcfas
Robert O'Halloran
Eric White
Holly Stiel
Sandy  Murray Hanson
Isabel Chua
Merilee Kern, MBA
Robert O'Halloran
Andrea Stokes
Andrew Rubinacci
Gaurav Varma
Robert O'Halloran
Rowie Villacencio
Coming up in March 1970...