Travel companies should recruit from ‘every community segment’

Travel companies should recruit staff from “every segment of the community” if they want to ensure their trips cater for a diverse market, according to TransIndus co-founder and managing director Amrit Singh.

During a panel session on diversity, equity and inclusion at Lata Expo 2024, Singh (pictured) encouraged businesses to “look inwards”.

“If you’re not diverse within your own management and team, there’s very little opportunity to add that diversity element within your own product range,” she said.

“Add someone from every segment of the community into your own company structure and then it becomes much easier.”

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If companies are failing to attract certain groups on their trips, Singh highlighted the importance of research.

“You learn about their requirements and you deliver them on the ground and it works,” she said.

Queer Destinations chief executive Edgar Weggelaar said travel agents typically struggle to sell to LGBTQ travellers.

“There is no bad faith – there is a lack of knowledge. Because of that, they don’t feel comfortable selling,” he said.

Weggelaar, whose company provides training on LGBTQ+ tourism, added: “It’s very important to understand the needs of LGBTQ+ travellers. We don’t want to go on holiday on our own – we want to go on holiday with you.”

He said “simple things” were often key to positive change, pointing out that LGBTQ+ travellers “don’t want weird looks or comments”.

Simon Miller, founder of Enable My Trip, which supplies a directory of accessible travel services and accommodation, said companies should clearly demonstrate that they can cater to travellers with additional requirements.

“If you cater to this market, get that information out there and make it more visible,” he said, recommending website homepages as places to display the details.

Hotels and transport facilities are frequently ill-equipped for travellers who have disabilities, Miller said, despite that market segment representing a significant business opportunity.

“It’s a big business – there are 8.5 million wheelchair users in North America and Europe alone,” Miller said.

He added: “Everyone should be given the opportunity to see the world, because it broadens the mind and makes you more tolerant of other cultures and religions. You just need to give people a bit of help.”

The panellists were speaking at De Vere Beaumont Estate, Old Windsor, on June 24.

Photo credit: SLB Photography Ltd

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