Travel marketers which embrace diversity in their campaigns can play a role in creating a more tolerant society around the world, according to a London Travel Week Virtual panel.
Stephanie Kovach, a global manager for Google’s travel team, said:
“[Diversity and] Inclusivity is good for business effectiveness, it’s also good for humanity. Given the sheer volume of ads that we’re exposed to on a daily basis, we’re shaping and influencing society’s values. It’s important we get it right.”
She also said that travel marketers need to know that diversity “goes beyond skin colour, it’s about age, geography, socio-economics, abilities, sexuality.”
Achieving diversity in marketing, factoring in Kovach’s broad definition, takes on many forms.
Uwern Jong, experientialist-in-chief for OutThere Magazine, talked about “killing the stereotypes” when considering the words and pictures used.
“When I read about ‘the golden age of travel’, I think the golden age of travel did not include LGBT or black people,” he said. People featured should “be genuine, not models” he added.
Many businesses are nervous about diversity, with many examples of “tone-deaf” campaigns shared between guests.
Cecelia Adjei, brand partnership manager for Visit Britain, insists that “representation leading to diversity of thought” is a first step to getting to right.
But she added brands should not be nervous about looking for outside help. “Hire in the expertise for this, in the same way you would hire in an expert for SEO if it wasn’t in-house.”
Simon Press, Exhibition Director, WTM London, said:
“WTM has always promoted travel as a force for the good of humankind and that message is important as the industry rebuilds after the first wave of the pandemic.
“Advertising and marketing execs in travel, and every other sector, need to think about the values they are promoting, as well as the specific brand or destination.”