The Road to Racial Equity

It’s been nearly a year since Expedia Group shared our commitment to address racial injustice and inequity. This isn’t a one-time, one-year effort. Our intention has always been to create lasting change. Change that helps create a better world for generations to come. And now, as we continue to bear witness to new tragedies, crimes, and harassment against people of color, it is critical to remind ourselves of what we pledged to do, recognize where we’ve made changes, and identify where we can do better. 

In January, we launched a new mission to power global travel for everyone, everywhere. To do this, we prioritized an internal value to Include Consciouslybringing people in and seeking out diverse ideas and experiences to unlock better outcomes for our travelers and for the company. This value is naturally a part of who we are. Our employees have always found small ways to build and sustain an inclusive culture. But now, it’s about doing it deliberately, consistently, and at scale across our company. 

Together, we can be part of the bigger solution, because if we all put in the work, we can turn little things into big things. Eventually, big things turn into systemic change, which propels us forward as we seek to fulfill our purpose of strengthening connections, broadening horizons, and bridging divides. 

Day-to-day decisions can be just as important as the big commitments on any journey to enact change. That’s why I’m sharing today, the progress and learnings we’ve made together as a company. We still have much work to do and a long way to go, but each milestone makes a difference. Here are some of those milestones which will propel us forward on the path to improvement and progress. 

Hiring and Recruiting 

  • We set hiring targets for women to occupy 50 percent of roles at all levels by the end of 2025, and 25 percent of U.S. external hires to come from racially and ethnically under-represented groups by the end of 2021.  
  • We stopped the practice of relying on educational experience alone for job postings and expanded verbiage in job descriptions to refer to “educational experience or equivalent practical experience” to mitigate classism.  We have also globally banned the practice of asking for pay history to ensure it does not perpetuate pay inequity. 
  • We’ve centered Early Talent recruitment on diverse student bodies and actively engaging with student groups across several of our Inclusion & Diversity areas of focus – women, transgender, and gender non-conforming students, students of color, and students with disabilities. This includes campus partnerships with the Association of Black Computers Scientists, Hispanic Association of Black Computer Scientists, Women in Computer Science and recruiting at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  

Leadership 

  • We infused Inclusion & Diversity learning into Expedia Group’s leadership development framework. This specific focus upskills our people leaders and also helps them identify and mitigate bias in performance and talent reviews.  
  • Our Inclusion Business Groups (IBGs) now have a centralized, common structure across teams and global leaders are allotted 10 percent of their work time to advance IBG efforts. The employee volunteers who comprise our IBGs are undergoing leadership coaching and partnerships with executive sponsors. This connection helps drive forward their goals of increased membership and engagement and build mutually beneficial partnerships across the company. 

Education 

  • Our Voices of Change Speaker Series continues to foster healthy discussion across the company and provide an opportunity for employees to learn from the shared perspectives and diverse experiences of our speakers. Post-event team discussions are designed to allow teams to reflect together and link their learnings to create a more inclusive team and company culture. 
  • We are changing our vocabulary. Inclusive Language and Identity Development workshops are being launched this year, allowing employees the opportunity to continue their I&D learning journey by understanding the impact of their own identities, behaviors, and allyship. Our platforms have also been under-going audits of offensive language and replacing them with culturally appropriate and inclusive terminology. 
  • We believe that representation matters. Our content teams have worked with Getty and Shutterstock to create photo collections that reflect all of our customers. Throughout the company, our marketing teams have partnered with agencies specializing in representing travelers of color, conducting research, and creating action plans to integrate the learnings into our products. Brands like Vrbo, Travelocity, and Wotif are creating our path to better serving Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities. Our company as a whole will continue to prioritize this work. 
  • Our approach to building products is different today than it was a year ago. The teams are ready to quickly take what they have learned to address the unfortunate challenges that people can face while traveling. Put simply, our efforts to become better human beings translates into products and services that make travel safer and easier. We recently gave travelers the ability to mark reviews as helpful to members of Black, Latinx, Asian, LGBTQ or disabled communities. Our product design must go beyond the “average” traveler and be as nuanced as the travelers we serve. We recognize that at present, safety and ease for some is not equivalent to safety and ease for all.  

I am proud of the work and determination I’ve seen from Expedians to make equality and inclusion and diversity a cornerstone of what we do. I caution though that we are still in the early days of this journey and will inevitably encounter more lessons to inform our future priorities and strategy. I encourage those reading to continue the work, both the small efforts and the large. Building workplaces that prioritize and value a sense of belonging, respect, voice, and equity is ongoing, as is the work we do to help all travelers feel safe and welcome.