Nathan Kengike, West Hotel Sydney

To coincide with World Pride 2023, taking place in Sydney from February 17 – March 5, HM’s Pride at Work series is celebrating LGBTQIA+ workers in the hotel industry and shining a spotlight on inclusivity in both the employee and guest experience.

Here, West Hotel Sydney, a Curio Collection by Hilton, Hotel Manager, Nathan Kengike, reveals the important initiatives helping LGBTQIA+ travellers feel welcome and why, when it comes to inclusivity, actions speak louder than words.

Do you think the accommodation industry in general is inclusive and accepting of the LGBTQIA+ community?

I think that as an industry, we have some work to do to ensure that our LGBTQIA+ community feel completely accepted and welcome whilst travelling, and that they feel like they can be themselves. I am proud that Hilton has recognised this and partnered with Husbands That Travel to run a training program that assists tourism operators to optimise LGBTQIA+ inclusivity in their marketing strategies and service experiences. Working with GTT, team members across Hilton’s Australian hotels will participate in workshops which aim to create empathy and an understanding of LGBTQIA+ experiences when travelling, plus deliver a strategic framework for creating an LGBTQIA+ inclusive service experience.

Are there any ways you think the industry can improve in terms of being more welcoming and inclusive of LGBTQIA+ employees and/or guests?

I believe the industry needs to take action in ensuring an inclusive and welcoming experience for guests and team members, and not just talking about it. I am lucky to work for a hospitality company that has taken action to ensure this so that team members are able to deliver exceptional hospitality experiences for the LGBTQIA+ Community.

Do you feel like you can bring your whole self to work?

I absolutely do! Our industry has a hugely diverse group of people and I love that Hilton encourages team members to bring their whole selves to work so that they can deliver the best possible experience for every guest.

How does your workplace make you feel valued and supported?

Actions, actions, actions! Hilton’s commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community is evident in the Gays That Travel training program. Hilton also has an Asia Pacific Pride Team Member Resource Group who organise an array of activities and events throughout the year to help advocate and educate Team Members on the LGBQIA+ community.

Are there any ways that you support other, perhaps younger, members of the LGBTQIA+ community in the industry/your workplace?

I enjoy volunteering for LGBTGIA+ charities within the community such as Out NT, Living well, Just Like Us and Reach out. I also part take in the Gays That Travel training program by sharing my own life experiences and story in hope of inspiring the younger LGBTQIA+ Team Members who work at Hilton.

How will you be celebrating World Pride 2023 in your workplace?

As World Pride is in Sydney this year, Hilton have sponsored the InterPride booth, and I am excited to be volunteering there.