Expedia Group


Partnering with Expedia Group to Make Travel More Inclusive and Accessible

Expedia Group, one of the world’s leading travel booking and technology companies, approached Material with a desire to develop inclusion and diversity strategies to ensure its brands were serving the needs of travelers of all backgrounds, communities and abilities.

To fuel our recommendations, we first needed to deeply understand the perspectives, identities and experiences of underrepresented customer segments, dig deep into their expectations of brands in the travel industry and identify key pain points to address. Our goal was to leverage qualitative and quantitative research methods to identify how Expedia Group could best serve different segments and then design a thoughtful, cohesive inclusion strategy that would resonate authentically.

  • Centered our research approach on the concept of intersectionality, acknowledging that identity is deeply complex and individual experiences are dynamic and multifaceted

  • Developed a three-phase project approach to uncover meaningful and actionable insights, beginning with a cultural Trendscan, followed by a qualitative exploration and concluding with a quantitative validation of findings

  • In phase one, completed an in-depth review and analysis of cultural shifts related to inclusivity and the travel category by consulting academic journals, trend reports, travel blogs and other media, influencers and DE&I thought leaders

  • Uncovered key thematic pillars from across the cultural landscape, which informed the development of discussion guides and topics for qualitative interviews

  • Conducted five-day, in-depth interviews with 70 participants in the U.S. from consumer segments comprised of minority or underrepresented groups (LGBTQ+, Black, Latinx, AAPI and travelers with disabilities), exploring themes of travel and identity that illuminated their desires and struggles and outlined how identity affects their overall travel experience

  • Conducted interviews with subject matter experts in travel, diversity and inclusion to garner further insights

  • Followed up the qualitative exploration stage with a quantitative survey, inclusive of general population travelers and travelers from underrepresented segments, to validate our qualitative findings with a larger survey sample

  • Synthesized discoveries from research stages into a set of findings and strategic recommendations for Expedia Group to implement to better understand and serve its diverse customer communities

Informed by deep dives into consumer identity, perspectives and pain points, we identified – and provided recommendations for – four key areas where travel brands can improve to better engage with and serve diverse audiences: messaging, partnerships, employee training and personalized tools and offerings.

Our research revealed that each segment faces different challenges and forms of discrimination based on identity and appearance, all of which can impact their travel experiences and preferences. Only half of travelers from underrepresented groups view hospitality brands as actively inclusive, meaning that Expedia Group had a strong opportunity to adopt a leadership role in this space. Material’s work provided diverse findings and crucial, actionable insights to inform Expedia Group’s ongoing efforts to champion diversity, equity and inclusion.

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