Congrats for making a statement

Congratulations to the hotel industry’s giants for flexing their collective muscles to help influence Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s decision to veto a bill that would have discriminated against gays and lesbians

Marriott International, IHG and Starwood all came out making statements asking the governor to the veto the bill allowing business owners to refuse service based on religious beliefs. Was it self-serving? Yes. It would have hurt business, no doubt. But I want to believe and I think industry leaders decided to make a statement and stand up first and foremost for what the likely majority believe is just and fair in today’s world.

IHG stated, “IHG is a global hospitality company that prides itself on the diversity of its guests, employees and business partners in nearly 100 countries. Celebrating differences is one of IHG’s core values and an integral part of IHG’s culture. IHG has regularly voiced support for equal treatment of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.” Well done, IHG.

Too often I read about hotel companies making political statements that don’t place them in the best socio-political light; for example, so publicly stating their opposition to minimum-wage increases. While I understand their position on the wage issue, making such a public expression is not the most flattering reflection of the industry. I know this might not be the most popular statement, and I am not taking sides on the minimum-wage issue, but wouldn’t the hotel industry in any country look better spending more of its time working the back channels on issues like this?

Today, with three of the world’s biggest companies making a positive statement about inclusion and diversity, it makes me proud to be covering the world’s oldest and greatest business.