Greater diversity and inclusion in the workforce have long been objectives of forward-thinking companies. There are undeniable benefits backed by research that a team of people with different characteristics and backgrounds can bring to the table.
As travel companies look forward to rebuilding livelihoods after the devastating effects of the pandemic on the industry, now can be an opportune time to evaluate how they have previously carried out business and what they can do better.
What Are Diversity and Inclusion
Embrace Diversity For Business Success
To have diversity within your travel company means that you employ diverse individuals. Your team will be people with varied gender, race, age, sexual orientation, religion, cultural background, abilities, languages, experiences, parental status, and education levels among other things.
WeTravel is a global company built by passionate and highly diverse people with different nationalities around the world. We are also balanced in terms of gender and how many women vs men work at the company.
You can also take it beyond the workplace to support diversity in your travel product, your marketing materials, the vendors you engage with, your general supply chain, as well as the communities you invest in.
The transformation can involve both the internal and external stakeholders in your business. It can be reflected in your brand and ethics; in the way that you carry out business.
Some of the benefits of making your business more diverse include:
- Hearing different perspectives brought in by diverse backgrounds, skills, and experiences
- Greater creativity in the workplace – getting input from people who see things differently can spark new ways of thinking
- Better problem-solving – research shows that diverse teams produce more diverse solutions than people who think the same. A wider range of solutions means the problem can be resolved quicker
- This, in turn, leads to better decision making as well
- Better brand reputation from both employee and client perspective. Companies that embrace diversity are perceived as being more socially responsible and human
- More sustainable business as you support vendors and communities who play vital roles in delivering outstanding travel experiences to your clients. People without whom you would be pressed to deliver the quality you strive for
- Increased engagement in your team – this leads to reduced turnover and better inclusivity
This leads us to the next point about inclusion.
Active Inclusion For Empowering Individuals
Diversity and inclusion are connected. Through diversity, you get better inclusion.
Inclusion in the workplace is ensuring that all individuals are treated respectfully and fairly. They are given equal access to opportunities and resources, and can fully contribute to business success.
It’s also a case of being open with information. For example, at WeTravel we value transparency and make sure to include everyone in the team when sharing information that affects the company. In doing this, you give everyone a chance to have their say, to make them feel valued and included. It helps to create a sense of ownership and being part of something bigger.
In your travel product, it can be putting measures in place to ensure that the tour, trip, or activity, can be wholly enjoyed by travelers regardless of specific beliefs, characteristics, or abilities they might hold.
Depending on what your travel offering is, this can be more difficult and out of your control to achieve. For example, an adventure tree-top canopy tour may not be suitable for people with physical disabilities.
However, a tour guide on a nature sightseeing tour may be able to speak more than one language, making it more accessible to people from various countries.
Some of the benefits of opening your business to be more inclusive are:
- Better satisfaction in the workplace for the team as they experience feelings of belonging
- Greater respect for others and more accepting of people’s differences
- Increased productivity as employees can freely contribute their skills and experience
- Employees feel aspirations for growth, both in their career and personally
- Welcome travelers from all walks of life to your experience, as they find a safe space to connect with your team and other clients
How To Implement These In Your Travel Company
By nature, travel opens the doors to new experiences outside of a person’s ordinary. Travelers are curious and open to new interactions. The love for travel and sharing an experience is a powerful thing – it’s enough to spark conversations and unite strangers who many not ordinarily connect. It’s up to you to provide them with a safe space to do this.
Furthermore, people who work in the industry are themselves passionate about people, places, and adventure. This means that they are open to embracing all the benefits and experiences that a diverse company has to offer.
Travel businesses are uniquely positioned to take part in the movement towards equality, diversity, and inclusion in our world.
It Starts At The Top
How diverse is your travel company at senior management level, is there some level of representation of different people within this group?
Leaders have the chance to make an impact in the industry by making it more accessible to different people, as well as provide a better representation of who we are in the world as a whole. That is, diverse, unique, and not all from the same mold or circumstances.
They can also act as mentors for underrepresented groups, giving guidance on how to take a foothold and progress in the industry.
Ensure Representation In Sales and Marketing
If you are hoping to attract diverse travelers to your business, then are they seeing themselves in your marketing materials?
To make your travel company more inclusive and accessible to the people you want to attract, you should ensure that they have visible representation in your sales and marketing materials. Are you using language and imagery that invites everyone to participate and is sensitive to their needs?
It also includes having diverse people in your team to get the messaging right to the public.
Make It a Point Within Your Team and In Recruiting
Provide your team with training in unconscious bias if it’s necessary. If it’s unconscious, it means they aren’t aware of it. Getting a professional in to talk about how to look out for and prevent bias can be enlightening for everyone involved.
Make it known that you have an open-door policy when it comes to talking about opportunities and career upliftment for everyone.
In recruiting, ensure that the language you use in job descriptions and policies doesn’t exclude any particular group from thinking to apply for a position.
Reflect These Objectives Along Your Supply Chain
As we mentioned, it’s not just your team who can represent your commitment to diversity and inclusion. It can also be in who you choose to be your vendors and travel partners. Are you prioritizing vendors from the hosting community, and are you looking at uplifting those who need it most or who support sustainable initiatives themselves?
Travel companies go above and beyond to ensure their clients have a once in a lifetime experience when on their tour. By putting the same level of commitment into supporting diversity and inclusion in their team, their marketing, their management, their supply chain, they can play their part in leveling the industry and making it a more equal place for everyone.