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About: Resolutions and Actions

American Studies Association Joins the NAACP Economic Reciprocity Initiative

September 1998

In 1998, the American Studies Association became the first ACLS constituent society to join the NAACP Economic Reciprocity Initiative. The Hotel Industry Report Card is part of the NAACP’s Economic Reciprocity Initiative that has monitored the diversity and minority business development performance of the lodging industry since 1997.

ASA President, Mary Helen Washington, and Executive Director, John Stephens, joined NAACP President, Kweisi Mfume and other leaders, at a press conference at the National Press Club, in Washington, D.C., at which the NAACP released the 2nd year Hotel Survey which uncovered new leaders in the industry. Mfume highlighted some noteworthy achievements of the initiative. Three hotels developed aggressive plans to promote diversity and minority business development. African-Americans were promoted to leadership positions. Vendor contracts have been signed. African-American ownership of properties has increased modestly. “In addition, there has been vigorous dialogue within the industry about the value of diversity,” Mfume said. “We will diligently monitor this industry to make sure that the dialogue translates into action.” “We are particularly pleased that over 70 co-sponsoring organizations have joined this initiative,” Mfume stated. “That’s a 100% increase over last year.”

The economic reciprocity initiative reviews company records and data in five key areas: employment, vendor development/procurement opportunities, equity and ownership, advertising and marketing and philanthropy. The results were analyzed and graded. “Hotels that receive a D will not receive NAACP business dollars,” said Mfume. “And, we will take every opportunity to inform consumers of our decision and urge them to make similar choices.” Mr. Mfume cautioned that companies should not remain comfortable with just submitting survey information and receiving their grades. “We’re looking for evidence that companies are taking steps to create opportunities for African Americans and other people of color,” Mfume said. “The NAACP and the co-sponsoring organizations intend to keep consumers informed so that they can decide where, and where not, to spend their consumer dollars.” The NAACP will be issuing its Telecommunications Consumer Guide and Report Card during the NAACP Annual Convention in Atlanta next month. For more information and updates about the Economic Reciprocity Initiative, see the NAACP web page at http://www.naacp.org or call the NAACP national office.


When the ASA joined the NAACP’s Economic Reciprocity Initiative seven years ago, the Council committed the ASA to reward hotel chains, whenever possible, which scored the highest on the NAACP Lodging Industry Report Card.

The selection of the Hyatt Atlanta, the Renaissance Marriott DC, the Oakland Marriott, and the Philadelphia Marriott were made in accordance with the 2001-2003 rankings, which were the ones available at the time of selection. It was also noted that the Hyatt Atlanta not only offered the best room rates and the most concessions, but also was the only fully unionized hotel in Atlanta. Consistently, Marriott has been the top ranked hotel chain by the NAACP Report Card on the Lodging Industry. The ratings for 2003, 2002, and 2001 follow below.

2003

This is the sixth year of measuring the lodging industry. This report card focuses on the largest hotel chains in the industry, cross referenced with the hotels most often used by African American organizations and consumers for conventions and other gatherings. Twelve hotels were included in this review and the industry has scored an overall grade of C (2.44).

When the NAACP began surveying hotels seven years ago, there were originally 16 chains identified for the initiative. Industry changes, including mergers and acquisitions, have resulted in 12 hotel chains being included in the Year 2003 report card.

The hotel industry, commonly referred to as the lodging industry, is part of the much larger industry of travel and tourism. This industry is one of the leading global economic activities, a multi-billion dollar industry with 700 million international travelers per year around the world. Tourism is means for employment and income creation and, especially in poor countries, a method for development. African Americans spend over $5.5 billion annually in transportation, travel, and lodging.

This year’s survey continues to reveal that one area in particular is the foremost problem facing minorities in the lodging industry: property ownership. Despite creative financial incentives by some corporations, the ability of minority entrepreneurs to break into the historically closed-door society of hotel ownership remains hampered and stagnant. Whether this is a result of systemic barriers to financing and lending opportunities by the banking industry or whether this results from a more reprehensible purpose remains to be seen. However, what is indisputable is that the huge revenues that are generated in this lucrative industry are still enjoyed by only a select few.

2003 RANK SCORE GRADE

Marriott a 3.00 B
Wyndham b 2.80 B -
Choice c 2.56 C+
Radisson 2.52 C+
Starwood d 2.52 C+
Adam’s Mark 2.50 C+
Hilton e 2.48 C
Hyatt f 2.47 C
Omni 2.41 C
Six Continents g 2.29 C
Cendant h 2.06 C
Best Western 1.62 D+

a Includes Marriott Hotels, Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, Ramada International, Courtyard, Residence Inn, TownPlace Suites, SpringHill Suites, Fairfield Inn, Marriott Vacation Club Intl; b Includes Wyndham Luxury Resorts, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Wyndham Garden Hotels, Summerfield Suites; c Includes Comfort Inns, Comfort Suites, Sleep Inn, Mainstay Suites, Clarion Hotels, Quality Inns, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inns; d Includes Westin Hotels, Sheraton Hotels, St. Regis Hotel, Four Points Hotels, Luxury Collections, W Hotels; e Includes Conrad Hotels, Hilton Hotels, Embassy Suites, Doubletree Hotels, Doubletree Guest Suites, Doubletree Club Hotels, Hilton Grand Vacations, Homewood Suites, Hilton Grand Inns, Hampton Inns, Hampton Inn & Suites; f Includes Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regencies, Hyatt; g Formerly known as Bass Hotels, includes Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Select, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, Staybridge Suites, InterContinental; h Includes Days Inn, Howard Johnson, Knights Inn, Super 8 Motel, Travelodge, Villager, Wingate Inn, AmeriHost Inn.

2001 & 2002

The lodging industry was initially reported on in 1997. This two-year comparison report card is the fifth to be issued on the hotel chains. Over the course of the lodging industry review, progress has been made with board appointments, employment advancement, increased contracting opportunity and advertising relationships. Diversity councils have been formed and franchise recruitment programs have been developed. However, overall sustained progress has been slow in pace.

Collectively, the industry received an overall grade of C+ (2.7) in both 2001 and 2002. Since the beginning of this initiative, the NAACP has seen a greater responsiveness from the industry and has been pleased to witness the installation of various diversity officers to implement and direct project goals. However, progress in certain categories remains stagnant. As was widely reported, the travel industry as a whole suffered significant losses in the aftermath of September 11th which affected results particularly in the areas of advertising/marketing, vendor relationships and charitable giving.

* Pledge Curve Applied, ** Properties Curve Applied

2002 RANK SCORE GRADE
Marriott 2 ** 3.45 B
Cendant 1 * ** 3.25 B
Hilton 4 ** 2.88 B-
Wyndham 5 2.80 B-
Hyatt * 2.72 B-
Choice 3 * 2.69 C+
Omni 2.62 C+
Radisson 2.43 C
Starwood 7 2.43 C
Best Western * 2.35 C
Six Continents 6 2.33 C

2001 RANK SCORE GRADE
Cendant 1 * ** 3.44 B
Marriott 2 ** 3.40 B
Choice 3 * ** 3.38 B
Hyatt * 2.82 B-
Hilton 4 ** 2.69 C+
Wyndham 5 2.65 C+
Omni 2.56 C+
Best Western * 2.42 C
Radisson 2.19 C
Six Continents 6 2.14 C
Starwood 7 2.05 C

1 - Includes Days Inn, Howard Johnson, Knights Inn, Super 8 Motel, Travel Lodge, Villager Lodge, Wingate Inn
2 - Includes Marriott, Courtyards, Fairfield Inn, Residence Inn, Renaissance Hotels & Resorts, Ritz Carlton
3 - Includes Clarion Inns, Comfort Hotels, EconoLodge, MainStay Suites
4 - Includes Hilton Inns, Hilton Suites, Hilton Hotel & Resorts, Garden Inns, Conrad International and all former Promus Hotels (Doubletree, Guest Suites, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn)
5 - Wyndham Resorts & Gardens, Summerfield Suites
6 - Formerly known as Bass Hotels, also includes Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Inter-Continental, Stay Bridge Suites
7 - Includes Westin, Sheraton, Fourt Points, St. Regis, Luxury Collection, Ceasar’s World

The NAACP Economic Reciprocity Initiative is a process by which companies within a defined industry are surveyed for their records in employment, vendor development, procurement, advertising and marketing, franchising and equity opportunities and philanthropy within the African-American and minority communities. The report cards are the results of the hotel responses to the survey.

Hotel chains are graded based upon their records in employment, vendor development, advertising, investment opportunities and philanthropy in the African-American and minority communities. Results have varied; however, singificant progress has been made. Equity programs have been launched, viable contacts are underway, diversity councils have been formed and community involvement has improved.

The Report Card should be used as a guide for consumers in making informed choices about where and where not to spend their dollars. In 1998, over seventy national organizations, including the American Studies Association, signed on as partners with this effort.

1998

Lodging Industry Report Card Co-Sponsoring Organizations: African American Chamber of Commerce of Oregon, African-American Women’s Clergy Association, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., American Health and Beauty Aids Institute American League of Financial Institutions, American Studies Association, American Tennis Association, Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, Black Enterprise Magazine, Black Flight Attendants of American, Inc., Blacks In Government Card Plus, Chicago Independent Bulletin, CITE (Consortium of Information & Tele-Communication Executives), Civil Rights Telecommunication Forum, Clark-Atlanta University Economic Development Center, Cleveland, Tennessee Informer, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Contempora Brides-Nashville, TN, Contempora Magazine-Nashville, TN, Eventions, Inc., FACCC (Faculty Association of California Community Colleges), Fort Valley Herald-Savannah, GA, International Business Development Consortium, Issue Dynamics, Inc., Jack & Jill of America, Inc., Madison Times Weekly-Madison, WI, Minority Business Enterprise Legal, Defense & Education Fund Minority Communicator-Columbus, OH, Minority Corporate Counsel Association, MOBE (Marketing Opportunities in Black Entertainment), Nashville Pride Newspaper, National Association of African-American Studies, National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, National Association of Black Hospitality Allies, Inc., NAACP, National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Black Social Workers, National Association of Broadcasters, National Association of Colored Women’s Club, Inc., National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers, National Association of Minority Contractors, National Baptist Publishing Board, National Bar Association, National Black Data Processing Associates, National Black Media Coalition, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, National Council of Negro Women, National Dental Association, National Medical Association, Inc., National Newspaper Publishers Association, National Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc., National Political Congress of Black Women’s, Inc., National Society of Black Engineers, National Urban League, Inc., New Journal and Guide Newspaper-Norfolk, VA, Network of Black Women for Justice, New Directions, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., 100 Black Men of America, Inc., Phi Beta Sigma, Providence American-Providence, RI, Public Campaign, Resource Associates International, Riscoe & Associates, Savannah Tribune-Savannah, GA, Take Pride Community Magazine-Grand Rapids, MI, Tennessee Tribune, Newspaper-Nashville, TN, Times Weekly Newspaper-Joliet, IL, Toledo Journal-Toledo, OH, Washington Informer-Washington, DC, Zeta Phi Beta