RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Companies across travel industries must create more effective strategies to foster a culture of inclusion and diversity (I&D)—a business imperative.
  • Travel companies can undertake four key I&D initiatives to enhance engagement, improve customer interactions and earn long-term customer loyalty.
  • By building a culture of equality that promotes inclusion and diversity, companies can drive innovation, creativity and competitive advantage.


Companies across the cruise, airline and hospitality industries are opening up the world to more travelers— regardless of gender, age, abilities, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Serving a more diverse demographic, travel companies must implement effective business strategies to cultivate a sense of belonging amongst both customers and employees.

However, according to an Accenture survey of more than 2,700 consumers from the airline, cruise and lodging segments across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, many travel companies do not prioritize inclusion and diversity.

With inclusion and diversity as a key driver of customer loyalty and business growth, our new research shows four key I&D initiatives that can enable travel companies to enhance engagement, improve customer interactions and earn long-term customer loyalty:

1. Make I&D a priority

From offering autism-friendly kids’ camps to providing advancement opportunities for under-represented groups within their organizations, travel companies must commit to and bring to life I&D practices that align with their customers’ values of I&D.

56%

of travelers say it’s important that the company they book with is committed to I&D practices.

3 OUT OF 5

travelers say it’s important that their preferred travel provider demonstrate a commitment to I&D values similar to their own.

50%

of travelers are willing to pay a premium of 5% to 20% to book their travels with a company that values I&D.

2. Boost I&D practices for all

Travel companies without a strong culture of I&D fail to gain and retain customers. By publicly reflecting inclusive practices and I&D values similar to their customers, these companies can foster true customer loyalty.

3 OUT OF 5

travel executives report that it is more difficult than ever to win customer loyalty.

2 OUT OF 5

travelers will switch providers if a company does not publicly reflect inclusive practices.

75%

of travelers will switch providers if their preferred company doesn’t offer them a welcoming environment or treat them fairly.

3. Deliver inclusive customer experiences

When it comes to representing I&D principles to travelers, travel companies must offer more customized experiences that account for factors like age, ability, gender, gender identity and expression, religion and sexual orientation.

82%

of travelers value feeling welcomed and being treated fairly.

74%

care about whether a company offers a range of products and services to make those in their diverse segment feel included.

36%

of respondents are dissatisfied with the current array of travel products and services.

4. Create a quick response team

In the wake of the #MeToo revelations and other I&D-related incidents, big brands in the travel industry are finding new ways to take swift, corrective measures to address and solve their I&D challenges with quick response teams.

3 OUT OF 4

travelers believe that if a company is involved in a negative I&D-related matter, it should immediately take responsibility.

39%

of travelers would stop booking with a company if a friend or family member posts about a negative I&D-related incident on social media.

Building a culture of equality

As travel companies focus on their I&D initiatives to meet and exceed consumers’ increasing expectations, they are also tasked with building a culture of equality within their organizations. By focusing on the following subset of business components, these companies can drive innovation, creativity and competitive advantage—demonstrating an authentic commitment to inclusion and diversity:

Bold leadership

Establish diversity, equal pay and advancement goals. Communicate process against these goals internally and externally by holding leaders accountable. Make these goals clear internally and externally.

Comprehensive action

Introduce HR policies to reflect I&D priorities by debiasing the talent management process. Create gender-neutral job descriptions and establish programs to hire and retain underrepresented groups.

An empowering environment

Support a workplace culture that promotes individuality, creativity and accountability. Leverage technology to accommodate everyone and establish comprehensive discrimination and harassment policies.

View All

Sarah Dillon

Management Consultant


Ryan Lindsay (1985-2019)

Senior Manager

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