Hyatt Hotels Corporation President and CEO Mark Hoplamazian recently announced that Hyatt will no longer allow hate groups to host meetings or events at its properties.
The announcement came in the form of a memo to company employees, which Hyatt did not release.
“It’s clear that consumers today—and especially employees—have even higher expectations of companies to live their values,” said a Hyatt spokesperson, adding that Hyatt is a company that is clear in its values and what it stands for, and its purpose is to care for people so they can be their best.
“We’ve been taking new strides every day to live our purpose, and that has included a fresh look at many things,” the Hyatt spokesperson continued.
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On the heels of some guest and colleague feedback about groups doing business with Hyatt, the company decided it was the right time to take a fresh look at its practices around hate groups.
“This is a complex and emotional issue, but what we’ve concluded is that we need to commit to a higher level of vetting, such that groups using hate speech, primarily seeking to disparage or demean a particular group, are not welcome in our hotels,” the Hyatt spokesperson said.
A Hotel Dilemma: To Host or Not to Host?
The announcement came a few weeks after the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City, Virginia, hosted the national conference of ACT for America, which has been called a white supremacist-aligned, anti-Muslim hate group by civil rights organizations such as Muslim Advocates and several others.
Prior to the conference, Muslim Advocates, MoveOn, CREDO and Shoulder to Shoulder orchestrated a massive effort to urge Hyatt not to host the conference, getting petitions signed, spurring media coverage, contacting Hyatt and ultimately persuading roughly 100,000 consumers to speak out.
While Hyatt still hosted the conference, Muslim Advocates called the Hyatt’s recent announcement to ban hate groups a victory and encouraged other hotel chains to follow suit.
“Hyatt is walking the talk of its corporate values in ways that other major chains are not,” said Scott Simpson, public advocacy director for Muslim Advocates. “We're not aware of other chains that have made such a statement, although many have denied specific events after public complaints were made.”
In particular, Simpson pointed to two such incidents recently.
Other Major Hotel Chains Face Similar Challenges
The Hilton El Conquistador in Tucson, Arizona, and Cheyenne Mountain Colorado Springs, A Dolce Resort (Wyndham), canceled plans last year to host conferences by white nationalist group VDare.
Meanwhile, despite repeated attempts by Muslim Advocates and others to encourage Marriott to call off an ACT of America conference in October 2017 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia, the event went on as scheduled amid protests.
According to Muslim Advocates, Hyatt and Airbnb are now the leaders in the hospitality field for ensuring safe and inclusive spaces for guests and staff through policies and actions that clearly reflect the belief that hate does not belong in its companies.
“Now it’s up to the other major chains,” Simpson said.
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