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Is your holiday really all-inclusive?

The summer holidays are fast approaching, with kids clocking off from another school year and parents and carers revving up for a little ‘break’ (aka “a change is as good as a rest”). We’ll skip over the weather and get straight to the point - while all-inclusive in the travel industry refers to including everything - it appears that travel brands, as well the holidays they offer, still need more work to really be inclusive of everyone.


We headed over to the TTG (Travel Trade Gazette) Fairer Travel Diversity Forum to listen to some formidable speakers and industry trailblazers. We also delivered our own session: ‘So, you think your marketing is inclusive?’, providing tangible and practical advice for creatives and culture.   


Throughout the day we heard about a combination of lived experiences built on with professional expertise and we came away with a deeper understanding of where the industry is at.


DEI still has a seat at the table…just 

In a 2024 TTG survey, 11% of travel firms consider DEI to be their top priority, dropping from 20% in 2023. 44% of respondents have changed their recruitment methods, such as by widening their pool of candidates, while 39% have created a strategy to measure progress. With changing global economics and an increased focus on sustainability, the travel industry still concerns itself with being more inclusive, with 61% of travel firms expressing they are ‘very concerned’ about new recruits perceiving them as a welcome and inclusive company. 


Perception vs. reality 

While these perceptions are important, the on-the-ground reality for those who are often deemed ‘hard to reach’ paints a different picture. Sassy Wyatt shared a number of different experiences she has had as a travel & accessibility consultant, as well as her frustration of how feedback often falls into a black hole of customer service. There is some hope, however, with Eva Bacchoo sharing how big businesses such as British Airways are listening to her feedback of flying as a neurodivergent traveller. 


Talent in travel needs focus

Of course, how can we ever hope to build truly inclusive travel brands and holiday products if the workplace itself is not inclusive? Industry veteran, Jo Rzymowska, referenced the fact that despite women making up 60% of the travel industry workforce, only 8% are in Board positions. The need for an urgent focus on workplace equity is all the more apparent given Suki Sandhu’s startling revelation that - if things carry on at the same pace as they are today - it will take 93 years to achieve gender equity in CEO roles within the FTSE100. In reference to the pursuit of workplace equity - and the argument for ‘meritocracy’, Suki encapsulated the importance of ‘widening the gate, not lowering the bar’. 


Allyship is vital

Linked to this is the ongoing importance of allyship as referenced by Gamiel Yafai, Suki, and others. As employee resource groups (ERGs) gain momentum internally, the expectation of what they should be achieving is growing. Senior leaders in travel were encouraged to seek out opportunities to demonstrate active allyship by acting as executive sponsors for ERGs, with this allyship arguably being even more powerful if the exec sponsor doesn’t share the same characteristics as the ERG they are championing.  


The all-inclusive dream 

What became clear as the day unfolded was that the future of travel isn’t necessarily about being all-inclusive - it’s more about travel businesses getting better at understanding what travellers of all types need and want when they take a break. There’s an opportunity for them to expand their audience and reach, creating hotel rooms that cater for everyone, and developing experiences that leave even more people feeling rested and relaxed. 


So while the travel industry has come a long way, there’s still some way to go, and we’re excited to play our part in helping organisations of all shapes and sizes build and grow through DEI. Thanks so much to Tom Parry and the rest of the TTG team for inviting us along.

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