Most people the world over think of the United States as a multicultural melting pot. We are still quintessentially American, but from north to south and east to west, our cities and outlying communities are dotted with districts defined by residents’ ethnicity and culture.
Today, the more developed and culturally defined areas are attracting visitors in search of new experiences and information.
Cities with Chinatowns, Latino barrios, Indian American corridors and African American neighborhoods are seeing a surge in national and international travelers eager to either connect with their roots or satisfy their curiosity.
Many ethnically diverse communities, as well as business and social organizations, are rising up to abet the travel trend, which many experts say is only going to grow stronger as more and more travelers seek unique and memorable experiences.
Multicultural or heritage tourism is good for the hospitality industry and it is also beneficial to a city’s economic growth. One study we’ll talk about says the more diverse a city, the stronger its economy.
In today’s episode, Lodging Leaders examines how hotels and other hospitality businesses can capture a generous piece of this tourism trend.
We talk to Connie Kinnard, vice president of multicultural tourism development for the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau; Greg DeShields, executive director of PHL Diversity in Philadelphia; and Michael Fullerton, senior director of public policy and public affairs for Brand USA.
Resources and Links
Bijal Patel, 31, is CEO of Coast Redwood Hospitality and the youngest chair of the California Hotel & Lodging Association. He’s made even more history at CHLA by agreeing to serve an unprecedented second term as the lodging industry emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. Patel is a third-generation hotelier. Being so steeped in hospitality at such a young age is not new for members of the Indian American hotelier community, but Patel fears the pandemic has drained the industry of emerging talent. Lodging Leaders spotlights Patel, who represents a leadership demographic that is fighting for the life of the hospitality industry as they watch their peers veer toward other career paths.
Many hotels these days have made room for guests with disabilities. Hotel managers and staff should also know what the Americans with Disabilities Act says about accommodating guests with pets. During the pandemic lockdowns, a lot of people added a pet to their household and now they’re bringing Fido along on vacation. Hotel employees need to know how to cater to both consumers who are pet owners as well as guests who travel with a trained service animal. Episode 329 of Lodging Leaders podcast reports on how the ADA defines a service animal and how a hotel is legally obligated to serve a guest who comes with a dog or any other animal.