Tourism

Expedia pushes for more diversity and inclusion with new industry group

Expedia Group has formed a new industry group that aims to bring travel leaders together to cultivate diverse and inclusive environments and impact positive change.

The formation of the Travel Industry Group comes after Expedia Group president and CEO Mark Okerstrom signed the broader CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge in October – the largest global CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace.

The CEO Action pledge includes four commitments: to create and share strategic inclusion and diversity plans with our board of directors; to share best and unsuccessful practices; to implement and expand unconscious bias education; and to continue to make our workplaces trusting places to have complex, and sometimes difficult, conversations about diversity and inclusion.

Expedia Group plans to share its best practices and learnings, as well as learn from others, with the introduction of the Travel Industry Group. The sub-group, which will be comprised of US and multinational companies, will focus on:

  • Promoting ally-ship, intersectionality, inclusive language and inclusive workplaces.
  • Hosting deep dives and trainings on topics that are key priorities for travel companies, including accessibility, LGBTQ+ travel, diversity marketing, gender balance and cultural competency.
  • Arranging roundtable and video conference discussions to convene participants regularly.
  • Coordinating research to highlight the current state of diversity and inclusion within the travel industry.
  • Promoting diversity and inclusion conversations at industry events.

Melissa Maher, chief inclusion officer and senior vice president of marketing and industry engagement at Expedia Group, said: “A diverse workforce creates a more creative, more productive environment with increased trust and less fear – an environment where employees, and in turn, the companies, thrive.

“As travel leaders, we have an amazing opportunity to bring the world within reach and champion change in our industry and in our companies, committing to making our industry a better, more inclusive environment.”

Expedia has a wide range of initiatives to support a more inclusive workplace.

Recognising the need to go beyond unconscious bias training, the company implemented Textio, a technology platform that reveals hidden language patterns in job ads that impact both the diversity and quality of applicants, as well as HireVue, a video interview tool that reduces bias in video screenings.

In addition, the company mandates gender-balanced interview slates and tracks the hiring pipeline by gender representation.

Expedia’s employee-led Business Resource Groups also play a major role in the company’s diversity and inclusion strategy.

With more than 100 global chapters, thousands of member volunteers are focused on driving meaningful and actionable decision-making around diversity topics.

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