Every person should be accommodated with the best services when they travel regardless of who they are, where they are from or their cultural background.
Hilton Hotel’s newly appointed director of multicultural and diversity engagement, Andréa Richardson, guarantees that the proper services are provided for every customer who stays at any Hilton Hotel.
“Travel has the power to transform and change one's perspective....and because the world is a beautiful, colorful, vibrant mosaic, people—and ideally potential Hilton customers—come from any and all walks of life,” Richardson said. They are of every color, every race, faith, belief system, shape and height.”
“And at some point, somewhere, at some time and for whatever reason, every single person on earth needs a place to comfortably lay their head. We want that place they choose to be one of ours,” she added.
Richardson takes much pride in her role. She is responsible for driving enterprise-wide revenue growth for key market segments on behalf of the enterprise. Hilton’s portfolio has 14 brands and 5,000 properties in more than 100 countries around the world.
“It’s a role that I truly relish, as I’ve spent 15-plus years of my career preparing for it,” Richardson said. “Liaising with diverse communities and/or communities of color around the world has long been one of Hilton’s strengths, and this is not just me saying it—the consistent industry awards for our reach speak for themselves.”
“From customer engagement and cultivation, to our global workforce on down to the suppliers we use, we make a conscious effort to embrace diversity in everything that we do to drive growth, and we believe that as a brand and as a company, we’re better for it,” she added.
Richardson believes a genuine commitment to inclusion and building an organization that’s truly representative of those that are being served are critical components if a company wants to be successful today. It is important specifically for Hilton because people expect the brand to be consistent wherever it exists around the globe, according to Richardson.
“Customers expect for a Hilton to be a Hilton, and that’s reasonable,” she said. “They expect to see diverse, attentive staffing, they expect respect for their patronage and loyalty, and quality travel experiences.”
Not only does the director want Hilton to be a place for people to stay, she also wants people from all backgrounds to consider working for Hilton because of the brand’s one-of-a kind quality.
“The culture that we’ve created here has been recognized and repeatedly lauded for years so that distinction—that extra-special Hilton touch—is top of mind and promotes itself,” Richardson said.
“Hilton has been named one of the best places to work for millennials, for women, one of the best companies for diversity several times, for LGBT equality and so much more. We’re exceedingly proud of these acknowledgments, but of a surety we don’t rest on them,” she added.
Learning from her experience, Richardson advises anyone who is looking to pursue a career in marketing or diversity and multicultural engagement to thoroughly know their craft on the marketing side and to truly know their segment on the diversity side.
“It’s changing and evolving constantly as the world is, and as the workplace is,” she said. “Diversity and multicultural engagement is not something that is achieved merely by implementing prescribed practices, hiring the right person of color, making impassioned speeches or mandating employee understanding workshops. It’s a still all too rare embrace of culture that is set at the very top of an organization. It’s not something that one can learn by just looking from the outside-in.”
Richardson loves to travel. Within the past five years, she has traveled to many places across the globe such as Spain, Iceland, Dubai, Australia, Indonesia, Costa Rica and Fiji. Since she began working with Hilton, she has gained a great quality of learning how to ‘travel well.’
“I’ve improved upon my ability to pack fewer bags, to always pack a healthy dose of patience, and I have acquired a heightened respect for people in the hospitality and service professions,” she said. “It’s very difficult and demanding work that they do.”
Hilton has made a positive impact on Richardson’s career. In return, she wants to leave a legacy that highlights her efforts of promoting multicultural and diversity engagement through the Hilton Worldwide brand for people across the globe.
“I’d like for my legacy here to be that I contributed to Hilton through this multicultural and diversity engagement work to increase the consideration of Hilton and its brands being the number one place people from many cultures choose to stay as well as the first choice for business meeting and convention planners from a variety of cultural backgrounds both domestically, and abroad,” Richardson said.
This post is brought to you in collaboration with Hilton Hotels.