Hyatt High On Equality Index

by Steve Weinstein
Contributor
Thursday Jul 11, 2013
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Hyatt Hotels gets a solid 100 from the Human Right Campaign’s Workplace Index for good reason. Not only does the Chicago-based hotel chain provide protections for sexual orientation, but gender identity is also protected in the workplace.

All employees are required to attend diversity training that includes not only sexual orientation but also gender identity. Which is why not only is Hyatt high on Equality Index HRC, but Diversity Inc. also named Hyatt as one of the top 50 companies for diversity in general and LGBT employees specifically.

Even more, all health benefits are the same for same-sex partners in every state where it does business -- including its home, even though Illinois’ legislature failed to pass a marriage-equality bill in the last session. Surgical procedures are covered for transgender employees.

HyPride, the networking group for LGBT employees, was one of two that pioneered identity employee groups within the company (the other was a woman’s group). HyPride encourages local LGBT employee chapters in cities where Hyatt has hotels. HyPride also encourages participation in LGBT issues at the local level.

A longtime supporter of GLAAD, Hyatt has sponsored several GLAAD awards banquets throughout the country. Chances are, if you see a banquet for a group like GLSEN or HRC, the underwriting hotel is a Hyatt.

The company goes further in its support for LGBT employees. It stuck its corporate neck out when it not only went on record supporting the too-long delayed federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, but submitted testimony to a U.S. Senate committee to underline its support.


Knowing The Market

When it comes to consumer marketing, Hyatt has also been in the forefront of hotel chains. Back in 2006, Hyatt Resorts developed a 2006 campaign for gay readers that depicted two men embracing under a Maui waterfall.

"It was one of the most intimate portrayals of this segment ever done in LGBT marketing" up to that time, according to one marketing observer. That campaign was followed up with a 2008 ad that showed two casually dressed good-looking men holding hands and playing kneesies in a lounge.

The campaigns show that the company understands that gay consumers are good for business. "LGBT consumers are very consistent in what they say, which is they want to see communication that reflects who they are and how they live," says Howard Buford, one of the leaders in LGBT-directed marketing campaigns. "That’s regardless of geography and gender and across ethnic and racial identity."

In other words, we are loyal to those advertisers who take the time -- and money -- to market to us through our own media and with campaigns that feature same-sex couples.

Hyatt has now begun taking its equality campaign on the road, as it were: Last year’s "International Expo & Business LGBT" was held at a Hyatt in Cancun, Mexico, which rolled out the red carpet for the leading LGBT business marketing and networking event in Latin America.


Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early ’80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007).

This article is part of our "Equality Begins at Home" series. Want to read more? Here's the full list»

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