An Elevated Look at DEI
Travel marketers are rushing to do right by embracing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) standards, but the practice of embracing consumer identities needs a fresh look.
2020 marked a significant year for destination and travel brands that reckoned with the reality that as noble as the idea of travel as a cultural connector was, serious lapses in representation, inclusion and diversity among advertising, PR and communications were present.
“As the travel and tourism industry looks to 2022 and beyond to regrow what has been lost during the global pandemic, limited resources have complicated how and when brands are attempting to understand and reach diverse consumers based on ethnic, identity, ability and diversity of thought..”
Since that time and following the tragic death of George Floyd, organizations representing underserved travel communities such as the Black Travel Alliance pressed travel brands for evidence of the ways in which marketers were keeping commitments to make the industry a more representative and inclusive space. And many brands and organizations have since undergone vast training to attempt to remove unconscious bias from the psyche, have completed internal audits to better understand blindspots, and to find areas for improvement for representing diverse groups. Many professionals and teams are undergoing intensive DEI accreditation and training programs to tackle structural, recruitment and organizational improvements as well.
These efforts should be applauded.
Focus on People, Not Groups
As the travel and tourism industry looks to 2022 and beyond to regrow what has been lost during the global pandemic, limited resources have complicated how and when brands are attempting to understand and reach diverse consumers based on ethnic, identity, ability and diversity of thought.
All the while, heritage, ability and ethnicity do not equate to convenient and packaged, homogenous consumer behaviors and preferences that can be targeted against. Nor do resources exist to pursue every segment of the BIPOC community.
Instead, marketers and brand strategists must understand that no one group is monolithic in identity. That instead, cultural associations and identities are a much more accurate way of building bridges and connections to travelers who are espousing preferences and viewpoints that are more prominent than ever before.