Expedia Group captured headlines earlier this year when it unveiled a new strategy at its Explore partner event in Las Vegas.
Among the announcements was the introduction of a new technology platform called Open World, designed for partners of all sizes to leverage and configure products and services.
Today, Expedia Group is announcing the second iteration of Open World, extending the platform to encompass the traveler experience, community engagement and environmental impact.
“Expedia Group has been on a journey to make travel more inclusive and accessible both for the traveler and for the people and communities that make travel possible and fuel the travel economy,” says Aditi Mohapatra, vice president of social impact and sustainability at Expedia Group.
“Now, we’re defining and expanding this commitment with our new global social impact and sustainability strategy.”
The Open World social impact and sustainability strategy focuses on three pillars: Expedia Group describes these as "inclusive pathways for underserved travelers, economic advancement for communities underrepresented in the travel industry and a prosperous planet for generations to come."
Of the first pillar, inclusive pathways, Mohapatra says: “Expedia Group is committed to ensuring people feel safe, welcomed and respected in the travel ecosystem. Now and into the future, we’re striving to make travel more accessible and advance travel equity.
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“We’re increasing our capabilities as well as partnering with our peers in the industry to improve experiences for underserved travelers from finding the right accommodations that work for them to bridging cultural divides.”
The commitment builds on previous initiatives such as Expedia Group lobbying for inclusive passport designations, which was realized with the first nonbinary U.S. passport issued by the State Department in October 2021. Its flagship Expedia brand has also expanded search features to include LGBTQIA+-welcoming properties and made improvements to accessibility filters.
On the economic advancement front, Expedia Group says that by harnessing the power of its technology platform, the online travel giant will support small and local businesses, particularly those focused on improving the representation and experience of underrepresented travelers.
We believe travel can be an engine of economic growth.
Aditi Mohapatra - Expedia Group
“We believe travel can be an engine of economic growth. With a mass global network of partners, we strive to empower small businesses and support those focused on diversifying the industry. We partner closely with organizations across our supply chain through strategic partnerships and programs like the World Heritage Alliance for Sustainable Tourism and Rent Responsibly to promote cultural preservation and strengthen local economies around the world,” Mohapatra says.
To support a prosperous planet, Expedia Group says it’s committed to mobilizing its network of travelers, partners and peers to create more sustainable business models and empower travelers to make more sustainable choices.
The company recently joined the Travalyst Coalition and signed the Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action in Tourism to align its business with a net-zero future. The company is also developing a new program with The Travel Foundation that will offer training and practical guidance to destination marketing organizations.
“The travel industry faces a variety of challenges, from the need to drive change across highly diverse actors globally, from multi-national brands to many small businesses and local entrepreneurs, to a lack of market-ready zero-carbon technologies for certain key sectors like aviation, to traveler confusion around what ‘sustainability’ really means,” Mohapatra says.
“We are excited for the positive impact ahead and the steps toward a more responsible industry. This is a long-term journey with this being step one. Together with our partners, our travelers and our communities, we will accelerate positive change and advance a more open travel ecosystem by increasing access, equity and sustainability.”