Baymont’s New Partnership Employing People With Disabilities
Wyndham’s Baymont Inn & Suites recently completed a subtle rebranding that included adding new Hometown Host positions to bring local flavor and welcoming faces into its hotels to make its guest experiences more memorable. Taking the concept a step further, Baymont partnered with workforce development firm The Arc@Work to allow people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to fill some of the Hometown Host roles.
While there are many excellent workforce partnerships in franchising, including many focused on veterans, Baymont’s new partnership is one of the most heartwarming I’ve encountered, and a great way to help an often overlooked community that has an unemployment rate in the neighborhood of 85 percent.
Gabriella Chiera, who handles global communications for Wyndham, said “the role itself leads to another service touch point for our guests, so this person who serves breakfast is oftentimes the first [and] last person guests see at the hotel before they leave their trip.” She added that a few of the brand’s franchisees had already created successful partnerships with The Arc@Work, so it was only natural to expand it throughout the Baymont system. Announced to the brand’s franchisees in December, the program is now being rolled out across the brand’s 430 locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Chiera said, aside from improving the guest experience, the program is especially helpful as the hotel industry has a higher turnover rate than many others. Employees who come to the company through the Arc partnership tend to value their jobs more and their experience has shown many of their hires through the program to be “super dedicated” employees.
For the employees, she added that the social aspect of the guest-facing role is huge. “You can work hard, there are tasks you’re able to do, and do well,” she said. “People with intellectual and developmental disabilities can thrive in a variety of positions [we] have opportunities for.”
Jonathan Lucus, managing director of The Arc@Work, said the Baymont program program is a “boundless” opportunity to employ people his firm works with to find jobs and encourage greater community interaction. He hopes the idea spreads to other Wyndham brands, and other hotel flags in the industry.
“This is proof positive that this can be a win-win for our community and the hotel chain’s bottom line, and for the marketing of the hotel,” Lucus said. “We’ve got talent, people who want to work, and people who are ready to work and ready to commit to jobs in this industry—we would like to share this story with other folks in this industry and make new partnerships.”