Mr. Hogan

Diversity Issues

Understanding the Story and Meaning of DIWALI

By John Hogan, Director of Education & Cultural Diversity, Best Western

2005 will likely be remembered as a year of questions and wondering. People ask questions and globally wonder about the power of nature, as various parts of the planet experienced records in tsunami damage and fire in the Eastern World. Floods and wind destruction resulting from the highest number of hurricanes ever reported in the Western World dominated the news for months.

Continuing acts of terrorism around the globe, coupled with the threat of additional wars on several continents, all contributed to a world that is troubled and torn apart by a lack of understanding and trust.

Mukesh Mowji, 2005 vice chairman of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, authored a short editorial in the November issue of the AAHOA Lodging Business magazine titled "Illuminating the Way: DIWALI and the Community". (1) In this article, he encouraged people of all nationalities to join in this "Festival of Lights" which begins on November 1st and to give thanks for the health, good fortune, knowledge and happiness that so many people have.

In researching this article, I found that despite the facts that India has the 2nd largest population in the world and Indians have made major contributions in many industries, DIWALI is a holiday known to only a limited number of Westerners. With that in mind, I discovered the following:

What might an observer who knew nothing of this Eastern holiday think if asked to compare certain Western holidays? A 2004 online article (2) did just that in the following observations:

A few weeks after these Eastern holidays, the Christian community marks Christmas and people from a number of other faiths observe their annual feasts.

What does this all mean then?

In New Zealand, the Festival of Lights is an event that has the participation of at least two City Councils (Wellington and Auckland) and a host of government and non-government bodies and private organisations. The annual event, held in the two major cities, is getting better, bigger and more colourful year after year. In addition, a number of local community centres and societies organise events to spread the Indian heritage and culture. More important, human traits of goodwill and understanding.

In the United Kingdom, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales recalled how DIWALI had become a major festival in the country. "It is encouraging to see young people planning for the future of this and other festivals, thereby ensuring the development and continuity in this country," he said. He said festivals such as DIWALI helped 'the all-important cause of cultural understanding between different communities that made up the British people.' (3)

Is there really "room" for everyone?

The Honorable David Kilgour, spoke to that very point in a talk given at a Multicultural Coalition Workshop in Edmonton, Canada in February 2005. (4)

He spoke of how he viewed that newcomers to Canada were a valuable resource, bringing skills, culture and different perspectives which all contributed to his country's long-term prosperity. He addressed the history that Canada was built on immigration, and that Canada had extended its protection to newcomers and afforded them the opportunity to fulfill their human potential.

One of his most significant points was his realization that Canada, among other nations, requires immigration in order to maintain a stable population in a period when total fertility rates among natural born citizens are below the percentage required to maintain current population size. He estimated that if the population of Canada were allowed to begin to decline, subsequent generations of Canadians would inevitably face a declining standard of living. He felt it imperative to work to effectively integrate immigrants into Canada's socio-economic fabric in more effective manners, including filling gaps in the labor market.

It is estimated that the United States and Canada will be facing low unemployment rates by 2010, while at the same time creating an additional 13.7 million jobs in the service industry alone. (5) While the United States is not facing the same precise challenge with fertility rates among natural born citizens, the fact remains there is a need to expand the hospitality industry work force by making it more attractive than has often been the case.

To be globally competitive, each of us must recognize the potential of our human capital. As the brand wars in every industry intensify on a global basis, it is critical now more than ever to recognize that we live in a globalized world in which human mobility has reached unprecedented levels.

DIWALI to Ramadan to Christmas

Rather than look at the differences in people with suspicion or a sense of doing what is viewed as politically correct, we must take the time to learn about the commonality of purpose in life that is shared by all. After all, people from everywhere in the world would rather celebrate joy than be engaged in anger.

John Hogan, MBA CHE CHA MHS is the Director of Education & Cultural Diversity for Best Western International. He serves on several industry boards that deal with education and/or cultural diversity including the Hospitality Industry Diversity Institute, the AH&LA Multicultural Advisory Council, the AAHOA Education and eCommerce Committee and is the Best Western liaison to the NAACP and the Asian American Hotel Owners' Association with his ongoing involvement in the Certified Hotel Owner program. He has published more than 200 articles & columns on the hotel industry. Mr. Hogan can be contacted at 602-957-5810 or john.hogan@bestwestern.com Extended Bio...

HotelExecutive.com retains the copyright to the articles published in the Hotel Business Review. Articles cannot be republished without prior written consent by HotelExecutive.com.

Receive our daily newsletter with the latest breaking news and hotel management best practices.
Hotel Business Review on Facebook
RESOURCE CENTER - SEARCH ARCHIVES
General Search:

OCTOBER: New Developments and Best Practices on Maximizing Revenue Management

Angie  Dobney

You’ve heard the expression - "better late than never!"... Well it appears this expression may apply to a majority of the traditional hotel industry when it comes to embracing total revenue optimization. After years of dipping its toes in the water, the hospitality industry appears ready and willing to jump headfirst into a concept that, for more than a decade now, has helped many casino-hotels take their revenues to new heights – anywhere from 5- to 15-percent increases! Below are some of the key practices of casino-hotels that are applicable for traditional hotel to incorporate- READ MORE

Kevin Robinson

Packages are valuable marketing components that increase hotel awareness, create value for the guest, and often times drive room nights over need periods. The effectiveness of the package often is dependent upon the elements associated with the overall experience as well as the price point at which the package is offered. READ MORE

Michael  Brownsdon

Capital allowances are a widely misunderstood routine tax relief that taxpayers regularly fail to maximise. An in-depth analysis of capital expenditure on property assets, including their acquisition, can yield HMRC approved reductions in tax. Poorly defined terms for plant and machinery in legislation gives rise to the undervaluing and misallocation of qualifying assets within tax computations. Reviewing historical and current capital expenditure can result in significant tax savings in current years. READ MORE

Matthew  Goulden

The battle to tilt a traveler's decision in favor of a specific brand - be it for a supplier or an intermediary - continues to get intense. The focus is on identifying a "lead" as soon as it emerges in the digital domain, and that's where travel metasearch engines are showcasing their prowess. A travel supplier such as a hotel chain or airline needs to plan astutely for real-time hotel inventory availability/ pricing, and optimize campaign, budget and bid management. Since suppliers are dealing with an increasing number of traffic generation sites, associated costs have gone up. No category is feeling this more keenly than hotels. And importantly, a large component of this expenditure is going into competing with OTAs, either via brand.com or other channels such as metasearch. This is unproductive since travel suppliers are paying multiple times for the same conversions! How much to embrace the metasearch phenomenon is a topic of debate at hotel distribution conferences such as those held by HEDNA in January and June of this year. READ MORE

Coming Up In The November Online Hotel Business Review


Feature Focus
Hotel Sales & Marketing: The Heart of the Matter
Of all the areas of a hotel’s operation, perhaps none are as crucial, challenging and dynamic as the Sales and Marketing department. In their rapidly evolving world, change is the only constant, driven by technological innovations and the variable demands and expectations of a diverse traveling public. These professionals occupy a vast, multi-channel universe and it is incumbent on them to choose wisely when determining where and how marketing dollars are to be spent to generate revenue from all their multiple constituencies – individuals, corporate guests, groups and wholesalers. Complicated decisions are made and complex plans are devised, based on answers produced from intricate questions – What is the proper balance between Direct vs. Indirect Channel Sales? What kinds of resources are to be devoted to a comprehensive digital marketing program (website, email, social, blog, text and online advertising) on multiple channels (desktop, tablet and smart phone)? What are the elements driving local market conditions and how can local people be attracted and the local competition bested? How does an operation research, analyze and partner with group business generators, meeting planners, wholesalers, incentive travel companies, corporate travel departments, and franchise-sponsored marketing programs? How can effective sales incentive programs be implemented and how can a strategic marketing campaign be deployed? How are new sales leads prospected, qualified, sold and closed? The November Hotel Business Review will examine some of these critical issues and explore what some sales and marketing professionals are doing to address them.