Embracing Diversity

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Celebrating LGBT+ History Month at IBB Hotel and Cugó Gran Collection

In February, a month dedicated to celebrating and acknowledging the rich history of the LGBTQ+ community, IBB Hotel and Cugó Gran Collection are proud to have joined the global movement in recognizing LGBT+ History Month. This is not just a time to commemorate the struggles and triumphs of the community but also an opportunity for us, as a business, to learn, grow, and further strengthen our commitment to inclusivity.

LGBT+ History Month is an annual observance that provides us with the chance to delve into the remarkable history of the LGBTQ+ community. It is a time to honour the activists, leaders, and ordinary individuals who have paved the way for progress, equality, and acceptance. By acknowledging this history, we aim to foster a workplace culture that values diversity and embraces the LGBTQ+ community.

As part of our commitment to inclusivity, we invited distinguished LGBTQ+ speakers that shared their insights on the community’s history, achievements, and the ongoing fight for equality. Lilla Salamon and Artur Lengyel from Gay Guide Malta shed light on the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community, the milestones achieved, and the importance of continuous support from various sectors, including businesses.

Learning from LGBTQ+ leaders

Lilla Salamon provided valuable perspectives on how businesses like ours can contribute to creating a more inclusive environment. By learning from the experiences of LGBTQ+ leaders, we hope to inspire positive change within our organization and the broader community.

Our team members are essential in fostering a workplace that values diversity and inclusivity. Through engaging activities, workshops, and informative sessions, we aim to empower our employees with knowledge about the LGBTQ+ community’s history, struggles, and achievements. This knowledge will contribute to creating a more understanding and supportive workplace for everyone.

In addition to learning about history and achievements, we also explored how our business can actively support LGBTQ+ rights. This includes implementing policies that ensure equal opportunities for all employees, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. By creating an environment that embraces diversity, we aim to attract and retain a talented and diverse workforce.

Promoting inclusivity in the hospitality industry

As a part of the hospitality industry, we understand the importance of creating spaces that are welcoming to all guests. During LGBT+ History Month, we focused on how we can enhance our services to be more inclusive, ensuring that every guest feels respected and valued. This commitment extends to our marketing strategies, employee training, and partnerships.

LGBT+ History Month serves as a reminder of the progress we have made and the work that still lies ahead. By actively participating in this celebration, IBB Hotel and Cugó Gran Collections are not only acknowledging the past but also taking steps to shape a more inclusive future. Let us embrace diversity, celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, and work together to create a workplace and a world where everyone feels accepted and valued.

About Gay Guide Malta

Gay Guide Malta is the only guide in Malta designed to satisfy the curiosity of people about Malta and gay life. Malta guides are aplenty, but if you’re a LGBTQ+ person and travelling to Malta as a tourist or considering relocating, what you need is a specialised guide to gain a gay perspective on how things could work for you on this beautiful island in the Mediterranean.

The Gay Guide Malta exists to make your stay on the island easy-going and fun, giving you all the information, advice and recommendations that you need. Indeed, the guide has also been appointed as the official guide to Malta for gay travellers by the Malta Tourism Authority.

Creating spaces where everyone feels welcome and respected: An interview with Lilla Salamon 

 In the hospitality industry, embracing diversity goes beyond mere acknowledgment – it’s about creating spaces where everyone feels welcome and respected.  

We had the privilege of speaking with Lilla Salamon, a proud Hungarian who has called Malta home for over a decade and the Founder of Gay Guide Malta, about the importance of inclusivity in hospitality, particularly concerning the LGBTQ+ community. 

Beyond simply residing in Malta, Lilla has become deeply intertwined with the island’s vibrant tapestry of life. Notably, she is honoured to be the Founder of Gay Guide Malta, the first-ever LGBTQ+ travel guide dedicated to the Maltese islands. She said how this initiative stems from her unwavering commitment to inclusivity and the celebration of diversity within our society. 

Asked about what makes her most passionate about her role, Lilla said it is being able to make a positive change in society through her work. “Year by year, I see a more accepting and welcoming tourism sector in Malta, and I do hope I have a little part in that,” she said. 

As an LGBTQ+ community member, Lilla understands the importance of inclusivity in the hospitality industry, backed by real actions and initiatives. Community Marketing & Insights research reveals that 83% of LGBTQ+ individuals prefer establishments that are LGBTQ+ friendly, underscoring economic influence. Moreover, findings from the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association suggest that catering to queer travelers yields financial benefits.  

Embracing LGBTQ+ inclusivity not only boosts guest satisfaction and loyalty, as noted by reports from the Williams Institute but also cultivates a welcoming environment, she said.  

She also touched upon genuine hospitality which resonates profoundly on a personal level.  

“Reports from GLAAD and The Trevor Project underscore the significance of feeling safe and respected while traveling, particularly for LGBTQ+ individuals. Research from the National LGBT Health Education Centre highlights the adverse mental health effects of discrimination, emphasizing the necessity of inclusive spaces. Thus, when the hospitality industry embraces LGBTQ+ travellers, it provides more than accommodation; it offers a haven where we can authentically be ourselves.” 

 Companies should actively support the LGBTQ+ community  

Lilla Salamon explained how the first step for any organization is to embrace their own diverse culture and create a safe and open environment for all at the workplace. Then they can look beyond – to their customers and the local community and initiatives, she continued. 

She also touched about the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community and said that the challenges are not seasonal, and the support should not be seasonal either. 

If an organization can take the below questions as a “checklist or to-do list”, they are on the right track to creating a truly diverse and supportive environment for customers and employees as well, she continued. 

  • Do you have a non-discrimination policy or charter? 
  • Do you talk about it in the same way you talk about your sustainability credentials? 
  • Do you have a diversity and inclusion policy for your staff? 
  • Is this implicit in your staff handbook, or do you tell your staff about this when they join? 
  • Do you train them to be sensitive to all customers? 
  • If so, do your customers know this? 
  • What does your marketing say about you? Is it diverse enough? Does it only focus on the L and G? 

Meaningful support of Pride should tie back to its roots: Pride is not just a celebration but a moment to collectively demand equal rights, treatment, and opportunities for the LGBTQ+ community from governments, organizations, and people alike, she said. 

This insightful conversation with Lilla Salamon sheds light on the vital importance of genuine inclusivity and support for the LGBTQ+ community within the hospitality industry. It’s not merely about gestures or tokenism but about creating lasting change and fostering environments where everyone feels valued and respected.