The purpose of this paper is to present industry perspectives on diversity research for the hospitality industry. This piece transcribes a panel discussion at the 2010 Hospitality Industry Diversity Institute Conference.
The panel discussion created dialogue between industry professionals and academic researchers with the goal of creating research on a variety of diversity topics that are meaningful to the hospitality industry. The variety of topics include visible tattoos in the workplace, multicultural travelers, attracting minority employees to the hospitality industry, and a general discussion of various issues central to the industry.
As a result of this discussion, researchers have learned that there are potential research opportunities regarding many of the topics presented in the discussion panel. Specifically, there is an interest in research regarding consumer perceptions of visible tattoos on employees; understanding what motivates and influences multicultural travelers in their travel decisions; how to attract minorities to choose the hospitality industry as a career; and general comments and concerns about research such as the need to make findings “relevant and applicable.” “We need industry support, especially gaining access and collecting data” (Dr Fevzi Okumus), and feedback should be stressed to make sure “the right thing is happening from a customer's perspective” (Tom Cusimano).
Further research is needed in the areas of how tattoos can influence the customer's experience, what is driving the multicultural traveler's decisions, what career paths are minorities choosing, and how the hospitality industry may successfully attract minorities to make their career in the field.
The paper provides original material from industry professionals and academic researchers. This piece is valuable for members of both the industry and academic community to help each better understand the needs of one another, including the need for collaboration from organizations in research from the academic community, and the need for research from the industry as well as practical application of results.
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