Wyndham’s diversity efforts

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According to this article from The Dallas Morning News, Wyndham International, the hotel chain that landed at the bottom of the NAACP’s annual lodging report four years ago, came in second (behind Marriott International) in the latest NAACP rankings. In fact, the turnaround in Wyndham’s diversity-friendliness has even landed the chain’s chairman, Fred Kleisner, the job of chair of the NAACP’s corporate giving program and chairman for the American Hotel and Lodging's new Multicultural & Diversity Advisory Council.

After getting a "D" grade four years ago, the company got moving to make its hotels diversity-friendly: It nominated women and minorities to its board, contracted with more women- and minority-owned companies, and "established an external diversity board to help guide how the company pursues minority customers--a strategy similar to the one it launched in 1997 to court women business travelers," the article says. The chain also launched an ad campaign to get a piece of the lucrative gay and lesbian market earlier this year.

And all the effort is paying off. The chain has quadrupled its revenues from minority customers (from $1 million to $4 million), and landed a three-year contract for the 3,500-attendee Black Enterprise magazine's Entrepreneur conference. The Wyndham Palace Resort & Spa also snagged next month's "Gay and Lesbian Day at Walt Disney World" in Orlando, Fla.

"’Some associations and groups started doing business with us because of our diversity initiatives,’ said Donna Deberry, Wyndham's executive vice president of global diversity and corporate affairs, in the article. ‘They wanted to do business with hotels that shared their values.’"

All I can say is: What a great turnaround story! And what a great example for others who may not be quite as accommodating to all as they should be.

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