Embrace Diversity and Inclusion at Your Next Event

Erika Alexander, Chief Global Officer, Global Operations Marriott International leads a panel with Denise Naguib, Ashley Crenshaw, Kristen Conry and Dana Pellicano (August 2021 in Orlando, FL, USA)

Everyone deserves to be recognized for who we are regardless of race, gender, nationality, or any other point of human differences. Embrace diversity and inclusivity in your next event so that everyone, no matter their background, is given a chance to thrive, grow, and feel included. Marriott’s core value of putting people first encompasses our commitment to diversity and inclusion. We believe that embracing differences is what makes Marriott a great place to work, gather, and stay. Here are just a few examples of how Marriott is working towards this goal and what you can do to incorporate diversity and inclusion in your next event.

1. Build a Diverse Workfore 

Having a diverse team allows us to gain a better understanding of the global market and come up with innovative ways to serve and delight guests. Building a healthy and genuine culture of diversity and inclusion transforms employee motivation and happiness in amazing ways. All who interact with members within the team feel extra welcomed and encouraged.

In Marriott, we continue to foster an inclusive environment by empowering our associates to champion the initiatives and developing resources that build awareness about cultural differences. We extended the initiative beyond our workforce and created diverse supplier programs such as “EXCHANGES” to partner with minority, women, LGBT, disabled, and veteran-owned businesses around the world. As a result, we have been named one of the World’s Best Multinational Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and ranked as one of the top companies for diversity. We believe the diversity of our team can help us better take care of you and your guests.

2. Promote Cultural Understanding

As part of the worldwide Culture Day at Marriott, participants learned business practices in the Korean culture, including the exchange of business cards in Dubai.

Creating inclusive events that respects and welcomes all begin with cultural understanding. Don’t make assumptions and be aware of any bias that you may have from the beginning. By simply opening your eyes and ears to your surroundings, you can already present yourself in a positive way that encourages others. You can also work with a culturally diverse events team where thoughts and concerns are comfortably shared. Having an open and safe platform allows for the diverse voices and perspectives to be heard and appreciated.

Different cultures have different event needs and meeting etiquette. Through partnerships, training, and education, we ensure that our hotels are a place of inclusion and comfort for all. One of the ways we do so is by incorporating “Culture Days” for our staff. Immersive training is designed to build cultural competence and confidence by giving property teams a unique opportunity to experience and understand appropriate cultural terms, business and social protocols, traditions, trends, cuisine, and clothing. 

Event guests can also take advantage of Marriott Bonvoy Tours and Activities as a way to experience and gain a better understanding of the different cultures for themselves. With over 200,000 local experiences in over 1,000 destinations worldwide, we try to elevate travel as a catalyst for peace and cultural understanding.

3. Celebrate Women

Although it is recognized that gender diversity in events is a good thing, progress has been relatively slow. For your next event and conference, try to have a more diverse and representative panel to showcase your company’s dedication to gender diversity and gender equality. 

As an event partner, Marriott is a strong advocate for honoring women and gender balance in the hospitality industry. As we celebrate the 15th anniversary of our Women’s Leadership Development Initiative, we want to continue to encourage, acknowledge and empower our female leaders by organizing more events like W Hotel’s “What She Said” conference that brings together powerful and progressive women.

4. Embrace Gender Diversity and Sexual Orientation

Marriott’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is about creating a warm space where everyone belongs. It means that we are dedicated to taking care of all guests from the gender diversity spectrum and fostering a positive sense of wellbeing. At your next event and meeting, offer various pronoun choices and honorifics for your registration forms or platforms, badges, and signages. If possible, you can also provide gender-neutral bathrooms for attendees to use. 

We are always consciously finding ways to create an accepting community. Initiatives and events such as W hotel’s social guide for LGBTQ travelers, W London’s participation at the London Pride Parade, and W Hong Kong’s Drag Me to Late Brunch are just a few little ways that we provide an accepting and friendly environment for events and meetings. 

Diversity means little without inclusivity. Embrace diversity and inclusivity for your next event. Little things like adding pronouns and having a more representative community can go a long way. By making sure that all people of different backgrounds are heard and celebrated, we can slowly bring positive change within the greater community. We look forward to hosting you and your guests from all walks of life at your next meeting.