Now, more than ever, consumers of all ages (especially Millennials and Gen Z) care about equality and expect companies to operate under a strict set of morals. As a result, they are particular about where they spend their money and are more likely to support brands that share similar values. These consumers look for obvious indicators that companies not only preach but practice diversity as part of their brand purpose. Diversity is not a trend but rather an ongoing commitment to inclusion and equality. An inclusive culture is defined by the values, beliefs, and attitudes that drive a company’s priorities. It is not about politics, it is about conveying to guests that they are welcome in your establishment regardless of race, religion, gender, physical ability, culture, etc.
Embracing Diversity in the Hospitality Industry
Fostering diversity in the hospitality industry means valuing and celebrating the differences among potential guests and understanding how these factors might impact their experience. While diversity often focuses on race, there are other aspects that are equally as important. Ensuring you’re inclusive of various cultures, genders, sexual orientations, people with disabilities, etc. is not only imperative from a moral standpoint, but it also has a positive impact on brand loyalty and your bottom line. The first step is looking within and determining a set of brand values. What do you stand for? What is your primary mission (short of making revenue)? Once you’ve established your brand values and ensure the company is living up to these promises, it’s time to reflect them throughout your digital presence.
Creating an Inclusive Online Presence
Showcasing your support of diversity can seem daunting but it’s actually easier than you may think. Simple changes such as highlighting different races and genders in your images go a long way. Here are a few areas to consider:
Weddings pages – highlight different types of celebrations such as traditional Indian ceremonies, gay weddings, etc. The Phoenix Park Hotel is an excellent example
Things to Do/Local Area pages – include activities appealing to different demographics (i.e. pride parades and heritage museums). If an attraction or event is of particular interest in your area, consider creating a separate page like Great Smokies Inn
Accommodations and amenities pages – make it easy for people with disabilities to find the information they’re looking for
ADA-compliant rooms should be clearly indicated on the website with a list of applicable features (i.e. chair rails or roll-in showers)
If there are special amenities to assist these guests throughout the hotel, such as wheelchair ramps or swimming pool lifts, this information should be displayed along with the other hotel amenities or on a dedicated ADA page
Partnerships – reach out to niche sites to be added to their preferred vendor list (i.e. LGBTQ+ friendly hotels, ADA compliant hotels, etc.)
Taking the First Step
The topics of diversity and inclusion are sure to make some people uncomfortable, but it is crucial to have these difficult discussions and ensure your brand is committed to fostering equality within your staff and guests. While you may be apprehensive about saying or doing the “wrong” thing, understand that guests only expect to see you demonstrate that you genuinely care about diversity and are taking steps to ensure equality. So, while you may just be getting started, a concerted effort towards the following will set you on the right path:
Highlight diversity in your lifestyle photography
Provide clear, inclusive language within your copy and content
Share your mission statement and brand values on your website
Welcome feedback from guests through several channels, including reviews and social media
The simple fact remains—if you improve your customer service to be inclusive of all types of people, you will increase brand loyalty and sales will improve. For more ideas about how to improve your digital marketing strategy, contact Vizergy Digital Marketing.
About Vizergy® Digital Marketing
For more than 20 years, Vizergy has served the hospitality industry with leading marketing technologies, knowledgeable talent and exceptional service for clients worldwide. The company deploys complete travel life-cycle marketing solutions from conversion-optimized website design to award-winning digital marketing programs, reservation solutions, media planning and execution. Vizergy’s platform is touted as the #1 digital marketing system – easy to use, turnkey and SMART, and continually enhanced with tools to help hotels compete and maximize revenue.
At Vizergy, hospitality marketing is not only our mission, it’s our sole focus. For more information, please visit Vizergy.com.
Contact: Ryan Ridge | Vizergy | +1.904.389.1130 | Ryan.R@vizergy.com