Representation makes a difference
Representation makes a difference
11 JUNE 2020 7:40 AM

The hotel industry is in a position to reinvent itself in many ways and come out stronger. Diversity will be key.

The Black Lives Matter movement has dominated news cycles for the last week, and I’ve done a lot of thinking and observing about what it means for me professionally as a journalist covering the global hotel industry.

Ethically, true and unbiased journalists can’t be outwardly political—despite what you may see on TV. This point of ethics is very important to me, and Black Lives Matter has become a politically charged issue, whether we like it or not.

I’ve tried to take the politics out and think about black representation in our industry as a whole, and in the stories we write.

Representation matters. I’ve said this many times from my perspective as a woman, and I’m reminded of it this week hearing perspectives from the black community.

I’ve found myself rereading a column Greg Smith wrote for us at Hotel News Now back in mid-April. Smith is SVP of HR for Preferred Hotels & Resorts, and his column, “Diversity and transparency in a crisis,” sheds light on the concept of diversity of thought in the workplace, and why it’s more critical than ever during periods that require quick thinking, like the pandemic we’re in now.

He talks about why it’s important for organizations and business leaders “to recognize the critical role that both demographic diversity and diversity of thought play in the face of a crisis.”

“Diversity is key in seeing what others may miss,” he writes, and with different people in key roles come different voices and different perspectives that factor into making the business better.

I really like that phrase, “diversity is key in seeing what others may miss.”

It’s often tough to hear those underrepresented voices (that too often are synonymous with the word “diversity”) though, because while they are there, they don’t have the strength in numbers that other groups enjoy.

As a result, we don’t hear those voices as loudly in boardrooms or on stages. Our industry then doesn’t benefit from diversity of thought like it could otherwise.

It’s time for all of us to get much better at finding and amplifying those voices, particularly black ones.

Back to my learnings this week as a journalist: As service journalists, our mission at Hotel News Now is to cover the trends affecting your businesses. Our global hotel industry has a lot of different voices in it, and we’re renewing our commitment to incorporate better representation of those voices in our stories.

As our industry writes its own reopening story, I hope I see leaders create space for more voices there too.

Comment below, email me at or share some hotel pen pics on Twitter @HNN_Steph.

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