Calls for greater inclusion in companies backed by industry leaders

UK: Expedia Group has teamed up with PhocusWire to launch its latest whitepaper on diversity and inclusion in the travel and tourism industry. 

Among the key findings, the whitepaper reveals that 54 per cent of women make up the global tourism workforce compared to 39 per cent in the broader economy. And yet, many still struggle to follow a clear leadership track to senior positions and so remain in lower-level employment.

In travel, specifically, the overall percentage of women in executive roles in commercial, general management, or financial leadership positions – excluding human resource – drops to just 20.7 per cent. While another International Women’s Day was celebrated across all industries and countries, five leading travel companies have spelt out how to make long-lasting changes to create a diverse and inclusive workplace in any organisation.

Melissa Maher, chief inclusion officer of Expedia Group, said: “With one in ten people working in travel, our industry has an opportunity to ensure our workforce reflects the diverse customers, partners and communities we serve. I spend a lot of time in discussion with a range of people both inside and outside of our organisation, and this is a topic that people are really passionate about.”

The “Gender Diversity in the Travel Industry” whitepaper, which was co-authored by PhocusWire and Expedia Group, features insights from American Airlines, Avis Budget Group, HEI Hotels and Resorts and Marriott International. It illustrates how companies can create a culture of inclusivity that enhances both the experience of employees but also has a positive impact on business performance.

Comprehensive diversity and inclusion [D&I] research shows the many advantages that a diverse workforce brings. In addition, companies with higher D&I show 19 per cent higher revenue due to innovation and are 35 per cent more likely to have above-median financial returns.

The “Gender Diversity in the Travel Industry” whitepaper identifies some key areas for companies to work on:

  • Provide a plan for leadership growth: Form councils within the company to directly address growth bias, and mentor diverse candidates for leadership positions.
  • Put bias aside: Preventing bias is absolutely crucial. Companies need to implement scalable unconscious bias training, and take active steps to reduce bias through natural language processing.
  • Be a better ally: An ally takes action for the equality of marginalised groups: they mentor, call out inappropriate behaviour and use inclusive language.
  • Individuals first: Start at the individual level: make sure every individual feels included and embraced to drive greater employee satisfaction.
  • Recruit with D&I in mind: Recruit broadly and leverage gender balancing tools like Textio to remove gender language and bias in job descriptions.

Maher concluded: “D&I is a journey that requires constant listening, learning, and implementation of policies and programmes that foster inclusion and belonging. At Expedia Group, we are deeply committed to an inclusive culture, as we know it is key to making us a stronger and smarter company.”

For more information, download the “Gender Diversity in the Travel Industry” whitepaper here.