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3 Ways to Embrace Diversity and Grow Your Guest Experience

A welcoming culture isn’t “one size fits all.”

Cultural awareness and sensitivity are essential for hotels that want to provide exceptional guest experiences. By understanding and respecting diverse cultural backgrounds, hotels can create an environment where guests feel valued, respected, and understood. Providing a welcoming space ultimately benefits everyone.

Not only does embracing cultural sensitivity create a comforting environment for your existing guests, it also taps into a large market.

According to Statista, over 22 million international travelers came to the U.S. in 2021. That year, plenty of COVID-19 restrictions were still in place, so that number may grow considering there were nearly 80 million international travelers in 2019.

These travelers come from a variety of countries and backgrounds with different cultures. Even if your guests aren’t international, they may have cultures different from what some hotel owners are knowledgeable of. Creating a more familiar environment for guests who don’t share the same culture as you guarantees a leg up that other hotels in the area may not have.

But what does cultural sensitivity mean exactly? It refers to the recognition and respect given to various cultural backgrounds, beliefs, practices, and preferences. It means creating an atmosphere where all guests, regardless of their cultural origins, feel welcomed and valued.

Here are a few ways to integrate that into your own business.

1. Food

If you offer food either through buffets, mini convenience stores, or any other way, you can integrate a variety of food to cater to a diverse group of guests. Surveying your customer base can give you a better understanding of different cultures or preferences to focus on, but there are a few general directions you can go without that. One is veganism.

Several religions value veganism and many travelers follow this dietary plan regardless of religion. Provide vegan alternatives – these don’t even have to be fully separate meals. Include snacks that don’t have dairy or animal products. Even Oreos and Doritos are vegan!

2. Religious practices

Consider creating areas within your establishment to accommodate different religious practices. If you have underused office or event rooms, it can be easy to flip them into prayer or meditative areas. Just ensure that the space doesn’t include symbolism from just one particular religion as that can drive guests away instead of creating an exclusive and welcoming space for them.

Allocating calm, quiet, and private spaces for prayer and reflection can really demonstrate to your guests how much your hotel cares. You should also keep a calendar of various cultural and religious holidays. By doing this you can create more targeted discounts to capitalize on

3. Staff

Prejudiced, or even just unintentionally inconsiderate, staff can ruin the inclusive aura you’re trying to cultivate. It’s crucial to provide proper training and instill a sense of empathy. Staff need to learn about different cultural practices and customs to avoid inadvertently offending anyone and promote a welcoming environment.

One cultural difference to make staff aware of is as simple as dining practices. While many in the U.S. see utensils as the strict norm – but that isn’t universal. Some prefer eating with their hands. No way is more right than the other, so ensure guests aren’t faced with judgment from staff.