Matthew Wade speaks with Pullman Sydney Hyde Park’s Associate Director of Sales Gavin Loveday about how AccorHotels is championing inclusion and diversity.
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Gavin Loveday had been working as a full-time drag queen – under the alias Shebeast – in Spain’s coastal Sitges before he came back to Australia and decided to get his career on track.
He started out at Novotel Sydney Darling Harbour before moving over to Pullman Sydney Hyde Park, and has been there ever since, now working as Associate Director of Sales.
He considers himself the most famous drag queen in AccorHotels.
“I really love working with people,” he says.
“I think the variety of people and challenges you get on a daily basis working in a hotel are great, no day is ever the same.”
While workplaces can often be battlegrounds for members of the LGBTI community who may be afraid to express themselves, Loveday says AccorHotels is very inclusive, and allows him to celebrate his identity.
In fact, as Shebeast he has often hosted events for the hotels.
“I found AccorHotels to be inclusive from day one, and I think working in hospitality you work with such a variety of people that it’s a natural incline,” he says.
“In 2016 AccorHotels openly pledged its support for marriage equality, and earlier this year the group had its inaugural float in the Mardi Gras.
“We have more than 18,000 employees, and a large number of them identify as LGBTI, so it’s important that we’re as inclusive and supportive as possible.”
Details regarding the hotel group’s involvement in 2019 Mardi Gras is yet to be revealed, and regardless, Loveday looks forward to taking part in the parade and hosting Pullman Sydney Hyde Park celebrations again.
“There will be three spaces in the hotel for pre-parade viewing parties, including a rainbow room on level one,” he says.
“It will be a general admission viewing platform for 200 people, with a fantastic view of College Street and Hyde Park, where all the floats get ready.”
Loveday says he’s the happiest he’s ever been in a workplace, and attributes that to the way AccorHotels champions diversity and inclusion.
“I think the company realises that to get the most out of workers, you have to make them as happy and as comfortable as possible,” he says.
“I think it’s important to maintain a good balance. There’s a level of professionalism you need to stick with in hospitality, but you shouldn’t have to hide who you are.”