Global Traveler first launched awards to honor the airline, cruise line and hotel brand best representing and supporting diversity and inclusion within the travel industry last year. Now, continuing the awards for the second year, Global Traveler looked at many airlines, cruise lines and hotel brands to see which companies enacted the most changes toward promoting diversity and inclusion.
In the context of the travel industry, diversity entails addressing blind spots in ethnic disparities, from providing resources to travel industry leaders to educating and launching new initiatives within the company, inspiring other companies to enact similar practices. By extension, inclusion within the travel industry means welcoming all individuals regardless of ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability and age, and ensuring access to all of the resources available to fully engage in the company.
Analyzing each airline, cruise line and hotel brand to find which companies best committed themselves to diversity and inclusion within and surrounding their brand is no easy task. Many companies have made great strides to embrace diversity and inclusive measures. Global Traveler staff and Advisory Board members nominated travel providers, considering an array of factors and elements. After researching various factors relating to the nominated companies’ equity, diversity and inclusion practices and having our Globility Board, a focus group of our subscribers, chime in, Global Traveler is proud to announce the winners.
This year, United Airlines wins Global Traveler’s award for Outstanding Diversity & Inclusion in Travel, Airline. The airline earns this recognition for its many steps toward achieving a more diverse and inclusive work environment for both employees and customers.
The airline continued its efforts from 2021 to follow through with the company’s DEI initiatives and reliability. This perseverance continued even during a chaotic travel season. United Airlines’ forward-thinking initiatives further heightened its rank as a DEI leader. The airline launched an Aviate pilot career program and flight-training academy. Accompanying these new programs, United also focuses on employee engagement and talent development. United does not passively welcome DEI. Rather, the airline makes it part of its DNA, bringing people together, both employees and customers. The airline strives to make all employees feel safe in order to be their authentic selves.
The Outstanding Diversity & Inclusion in Travel, Hotel award goes to Hilton. Over the last year alone Hilton has continued to expand outside the United States, growing particularly in the Caribbean and Latin America. The hotel brand increased its portfolio by 190 hotels in 2022, with 15 percent of the brand’s presence now located outside of the United States.
DiversityInc, a data platform providing insights, solutions, services and education for organizations, named Hilton the top-ranking company in its Top 50 Companies for Diversity list. Additionally, the hotel brand held the top spot on the Top Company specialty lists for Latino, Native American, Pacific Islander, people with disabilities and veteran executives.
Committed to achieving global gender parity and 25 percent ethnic diversity at corporate leadership levels in the United States by 2027, Hilton stands by the belief hospitality possesses the power to create a greater understanding between communities, ultimately uniting them.
Hilton partners with historically black colleges and universities as well as minority-focused organizations to develop a diverse source of talent. In fact, the hotel brand boasts 39 chapters of nine Team Member Resource Groups, further helping drive change and innovation within the company. Hilton stands out from its competitors with its unprecedented public sharing of its internal diversity numbers to track progress of its initiatives. In remaining transparent and setting meaningful targets, Hilton links progress directly to corporate leadership compensation. Hilton carried out video interviews even before the pandemic, allowing for a more diverse group of candidates.
For cruises, Hurtigruten wins the Outstanding Diversity & Inclusion in Travel, Cruise award. Hurtigruten is best known for its educational and adventurous Antarctic expeditions. Earlier this year the cruise line created a new Black Travel Advisory Board. This group consists of Black men and women working to further promote diversity and inclusion within the cruise line. Hurtigruten’s six-member board includes respected leaders like Martinique Lewis, president, Black Travel Alliance; Stephanie Hones, founder and CEO, Cultural Heritage Economic Alliance; and Naledi Khabo, CEO, African Tourism Association.
Hurtigruten also commits to working with Black content creators in every media campaign. These different steps allow the cruise line to amplify the voices of Black travelers and employees. In addition to these unparalleled initiatives, Hurtigruten also publicly committed to funding Black-led organizations in tourism, with $5,000 going to each inaugural member’s venture of choice.
United Airlines, Hilton and Hurtigruten have set a new standard within the travel industry when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion. Such advancements serve not only to help these specific companies, their employees and customers, but also seek to inspire other airlines, cruise lines and hotel brands. In reaching new heights in diversity and inclusion, other companies will aim to meet this same standard. This year’s winners pave the way for a better future for all, but in order for this change to be permanent, all companies within the travel industry must commit to DEI initiatives, as well. Change comes from within, and this year’s winners prove including all and embracing diversity is the way of the future.
OUTSTANDING DIVERSITY & INCLUSION IN TRAVEL
Delta Air Lines
InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
Norwegian Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line
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