223 | Grading Curves: NAACP diversity report card reveals weaknesses in hotel companies


“Equal opportunity for people of color in the United States remains an unrealized goal.”

That is the opening statement in a recently released study by NAACP.

The same opening statement appears in the organization’s 2012 report on diversity in the U.S. hotel industry.

The 2019 study titled “Opportunity & Diversity Report Card: The Hotel & Lodging Industry,” not only shows stagnation in racial equality in hospitality workplaces, it reveals African Americans have lost ground over the past decade in their climb to the top in U.S. hotel companies.

The report card examines the efforts of four major hotel corporations to diversify their workforces, from rank-and-file all the way up to the C-suites.

None of the companies – Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels Corp. and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts – fared well in the study, which was based on research performed in 2017. Grades ranged from Bs to Fs in various categories such as hiring, promotion and supplier diversity.

The research was limited. NAACP surveyed the highest-earning companies and their corporate-owned and managed hotels. Franchised properties were not included. But the NAACP and other minority leaders hope to change that dynamic by pushing for information on the diversity of franchisees, as well as who is working in their branded hotels.

In this episode, we take a closer look at the latest report. We hear from Marvin Owens, senior director of economic development at the NAACP; Andy Ingraham, president and CEO of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers; and Dyshaun Hines and Skye Curry, graduate students in hospitality administration. We also feature remarks by Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta, who Ingraham interviewed at last week’s NABHOOD summit in Miami, Florida.

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