Expedia Group has announced its new global social impact and sustainability strategy to advance a travel ecosystem that is responsible, open, and accessible to all. Combining the company’s mission, purpose, and values with its traveler-centric mindset, the Open World™ social impact and sustainability strategy is focused on three priorities – increasing access for underserved travelers, democratizing the travel economy, and innovating sustainable solutions for the future of travel.
Earlier this year, the company announced its Open World technology platform – created for partners of all sizes to leverage and configure products and services needed to succeed in the travel ecosystem. Aligned with this innovation, and the belief that travel is a force for good, the next iteration of Open World extends to the traveler experience, community engagement, and environmental impact.
“Travel is transformative. It broadens horizons, strengthens connections and changes perspectives. With our new Open World™ social impact and sustainability forward-looking plans, we will further our mission to power travel for everyone, everywhere,” said Peter Kern, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Expedia Group. “Travel needs to lighten its footprint on the planet, and everyone should be able to experience it and receive the associated benefits. Now is the time to innovate the existing model. We have a responsibility to enable a stronger, more sustainable industry.”
The Open World™ social impact and sustainability strategy will tackle inequities in travel, accelerate meaningful change for the mosaic of travelers and communities that power the global industry, and ensure a healthy planet.
Expedia Group’s social impact and sustainability strategic framework includes:
- Inclusive pathways for underserved travelers
Unfortunately, historic and social barriers still too often limit equitable and accessible travel. Per Expedia Group Media Solutions’ recent Inclusive Travel Insights Report1, demand is increasing as consumers are seeking more inclusive travel offerings when searching and booking. Expedia Group is increasing its own capabilities to improve the experience of underserved travelers by identifying and helping to lessen gaps. For example, Expedia.com has made improvements to accessibility filters to include options like elevators, service animal accommodations, roll-in showers, sign-language staff availability, and also expanded search features for travelers such as LGBTQIA+ welcoming properties.
What’s Next? To ensure more people are able to experience all that travel has to offer , Expedia Group will focus a portion of its giving to provide grants to impact-driven organizations working to remove barriers to travel for underserved communities around the world.
- Economic advancement for communities underrepresented in travel
Expedia Group is strengthening economic opportunity across the travel ecosystem to ensure more people and communities can benefit from the industry’s growth and associated benefits. Using the power of its technology platform to help diversify the business of travel, Expedia Group will support small and local businesses, particularly those focused on improving the representation and experience of underrepresented travelers.
What’s Next? To help diversify the business of travel and meet traveler demand for more responsible options, Expedia Group will soon launch a program aimed at start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses in travel.
- Prosperous planet for generations to come
Expedia Group recognizes the environmental toll that today’s travel industry often has on the planet and is committed to mobilizing its vast network of travelers, partners, and peers to innovate more sustainable business models and empower travelers to make more responsible choices. Fostering a healthy planet and a travel industry that mitigates and adapts to climate change is central to the Open World social impact and sustainability strategy.
Expedia Group recently joined the Travalyst Coalition and signed the Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action in Tourism. Under the Glasgow Declaration, Expedia Group has committed to deliver plans that will support the global goals of cutting emissions in half over the next decade and allowing the travel industry to reach Net Zero emissions as soon as possible before 2050. The Travalyst Coalition enables these goals by allowing travel companies like Expedia Group to deliver unified sustainability frameworks and methodologies to travelers across the globe.
What’s Next? Expedia Group is currently developing a long-term climate action plan and associated roadmap for greening its own operations while driving industry-wide change. A new program being developed in partnership with The Travel Foundation will offer training and practical guidance to destination marketing organizations (DMOs), enabling them to lead the way on climate action in tourism and catalyze meaningful change at a local level.
These three priorities build upon Expedia Group’s foundation and ongoing commitment to philanthropy. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic Expedia Group led programs including the Give the World a Shot initiative – a joint endeavor with UNICEF to enhance COVID-19 vaccination rates in communities around the world – as global, equitable access to the vaccine is in line with traveler values and essential to reopening the world to travel. Expedia Group donated approximately $10.5 million – vaccinating three million people and moving the travel industry one step closer to recovery.
Learn more about Expedia Group’s past impact work in its 2021 Global Impact Report and latest Inclusion and Diversity Report. For additional information, visit www.expediagroup.com/who-we-are/Impact–Sustainability.
1 The research for the Inclusive Travel Insights Report was conducted in collaboration with Wakefield Research, which included an online survey of 11,000 representatives, general population adults ages 18+ in 11 global markets – Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, the UK and U.S. – fielded between February 11 and March 6, 2022.