American Hotel & Lodging Association
AH&LA wanted to attract diverse employees and promote the wide-range of career opportunities within the U.S. hotel industry. The goal was to create a more diverse workforce by focusing on promoting, recruiting, and retaining qualified managers and owners who represented a broad spectrum of minorities.
AH&LA engaged TTG+PARTNERS Founder and CEO Tia T. Gordon to develop and execute an ambitious, nationwide diversity campaign to support its vision. While overseeing this historic initiative, Gordon needed to also make sure AH&LA understood that the lodging industry was entering into a new era of inclusiveness requiring a long-term commitment to diversity. Additionally, she had to ensure all efforts received significant media coverage.
Gordon’s first idea was to form an advisory council consisting of leaders from major hotel companies, civil rights organizations, and community groups. Under her leadership, these individuals agreed to volunteer their skills and expertise to help develop initiatives that would ensure equal hiring practices and ownership opportunities of ethnic/racial minorities.
The advisory council collectively took a proactive approach to address deficiencies as well as expand upon opportunities for increased inclusion at all levels within the U.S. lodging community.
Gordon launched and leveraged a public awareness campaign to help cultivate relationships with national, local, and trade media to average nearly 200 monthly interviews that garnered prominent mentions in more than 2,000 news articles annually. Highlights include:
- A feature article in LODGING magazine, the lodging industry’s leading trade publication reaching nearly 40,000 hotel executives
- Significant coverage in major newspapers including the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post
Additionally, Gordon created a diversity section on AH&LA’s Web site to feature helpful resources and information. She also recommended that the organization develop a quarterly e-newsletter and add a diversity category to its annual award competition.
Today, other initiatives resulting from AH&LA’s focus on diversity include:
- The Women In Lodging CONNECT AH&LA Membership, which empowers women to accelerate their career path
- The Under 30 Gateway AH&LA Membership, which provides young professionals with the tools needed to propel their professional and personal development