AHLA Commits to Increasing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Hotel Industry
Now, more than ever, industries are recognizing the importance of diversity and inclusion in their work, and that includes the hospitality sector. The American Hotel & Lodging Foundation (AHLA Foundation) recently announced its $5 million, multi-year commitment and action plan to increase diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in the hotel and lodging industry.
But this is not the foundation’s first steps in this process. Its board of trustees voted unanimously back in October to elevate DE&I as a cornerstone platform under the direction of its new DE&I Task Force, which has worked on a five-year plan for uniting the industry around a commitment to foster DE&I by introducing programs to remove the structural and behavioral walls.
“The AHLA Foundation Board of Trustees recognized that we can do more to build on our legacy of opening doors of opportunity to all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity or gender, and we believe that this bold, new five-year plan takes us one step closer to reaching that goal,” said Rosanna Maietta, president and CEO of the AHLA Foundation. “This is a monumental example of an industry coming together to advance diversity, equity and inclusion, even at a time when COVID-19 has wiped out 10 years of job growth in the industry.”
The Task Force has identified multiple guiding principles, including diversifying representation at all levels to better serve guests, associates and communities, as well as elevating inclusive leadership across corporate entities, properties, franchisees and supplier networks. Other principles include driving accountability and transparency to achieve measurable DE&I results, and fostering innovative approaches to scale DE&I within the industry.
“The hotel and lodging industry is rooted in a spirit of hospitality and welcomes guests and employees of all backgrounds,” commented Greg Juceam, president and COO of G6 Hospitality and AHLA Foundation chair of the Board. “Our vision is to build an industry as diverse as the guests we serve, and this new initiative will build on the industry’s long-standing commitment to promote diversity, equity and inclusion across all levels in our workforce.”
In the next five years, the AHLA Foundation says it will focus on driving DE&I at the leadership level and across all talent levels, and developing a DE&I industry blueprint. In addition, it plans to start a new leadership academy that focuses on increasing representation at the executive level, industry resources with sample policies and procedures to boost representation, a mentorship program, and an ad campaign to attract a wide range of talent.