Congratulations to Hilton Garden Inn Louisville Downtown for receiving TAG (Travel Advocacy Group) Approved® status, which qualifies the property as a LGBT-friendly hotel. To achieve the Hilton honor, the hotel had to meet the following six qualifications:

1. Enforcing non-discriminatory policies, including sexual orientation

2. Treating heterosexual and domestic partners equally in personnel policies

3. Providing LGBT diversity and sensitivity training for employees

4. Empowering customers and employees to be “watchdogs” of its gay and lesbian business practices

5. Giving back to their community

6. Employing staff who reflect the diversity of their community

In addition to the TAG Approved status, the hotel undoubtedly helped contribute to Louisville being named one of the Top 10 Hottest Gay Destinations for 2016 by a major travel website.

We had the pleasure of chatting with John Fields, the general manager of Hilton Garden Inn Louisville Downtown, about the esteemed Hilton honor.

Can you explain what TAG Approved status means?

Our hotel qualifies as an LGBT-welcoming hotel and is the perfect choice for pleasure, business, or meetings and events. Most travel guides list any hotel or attraction that pays an advertising fee. Being TAG Approved means that we took that a step further and made an all-out effort to become qualified based not only on our desire for gay travel revenues, but on our employment policies, services, and support of the local LGBT community.

Did the hotel work diligently to achieve this status?  

We did!

What did you have to do? 

We have made tremendous strides in support of the LGBT community by supporting local events and sponsoring events whenever we could. We are true supporters of our gay-owned merchants here in Downtown Louisville and discuss our TAG Approved status on interviews to ensure we are hiring the right Team Members.  Most of our team has been through TAG Approved training, which speaks to the sensitivity of the community and how to handle and address various situations. Our listing with TAG Approved includes specific details that would appeal to the LGBT community, including local entertainment venues and specific annual events.

What is the hotel’s philosophy in handling customers of diverse backgrounds? 

We are in the service industry, and there are no barriers regardless of who you are. We are all about welcoming everyone and hiring a diverse staff.

How would you describe the hotel’s approach to hospitality in one sentence?

We are here to accommodate and serve our community and those that visit our city.

How does the hotel exemplify “Hilton Pride”?

We participated in the largest LGBT event this city has ever seen! Soon after the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples can marry nationwide, we hosted a same-sex wedding here. “Say I DO in Lou” was a huge initiative taken on by the city and we were at the forefront of it all!


Do you see room for even more improvement and progress in the future? 

There are always opportunities for improvement. We intend to partner with many other entertainment venues and will continue to use inclusive language and images in our advertising. We recently partnered with “Fair Vendors” who advertise to the LGBT community and feature businesses that are sensitive to the community.

Looking at other hotels in the area, how do you think yours compares? Is it setting an example? 

While we can’t speculate on our competition, we take diversity and inclusion very seriously and ensure we are tailoring to the LGBT audience and thinking outside the box.

Photo credits: Hilton Garden Inn Louisville Downtown