Destinations International Launches Industry’s First Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Assessment Tool

August 25, 2022

Destinations International, the world’s largest association for official destination organizations and convention and visitors bureaus, unveiled a groundbreaking tool to measure equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) initiatives and discover ways to improve upon the results. The EDI Assessment Tool is designed to help its member organizations understand how EDI has been incorporated into their operational practices as a basis to elevate and integrate performance, and it is also expected to be a model for other entities in the business events industry to embrace. 

The tool allows users to create intentional EDI goals and track progress in the workplace and the community through data-driven metrics. Organizations have the opportunity to assess workplace dynamics, operations and policies, vendor selection, community engagement and accessibility-related strategies.

Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International, expressed gratitude for his organization's partnership with the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals (NCBMP), which sparked the idea to create the groundbreaking tool for the industry.

"We know that many destination organizations understand the value of making sure EDI principles are incorporated into their brand, but we recognize that they might not know where to start," Welsh said. "This important tool will help destination organizations set standard policies, procedures [and metrics to keep track of progress being made in the areas of EDI], and we believe it is a step that other organizations within the business events industry can adopt as well."

The tool aims to create awareness and discussion about EDI strategies for organizations of all budget sizes around the globe. Reporting features offer leading practices, median and best practice averages, and filters to anonymously compare a member destination to other peers by budget, geography, tourism asset, sports division and more.

“We have recognized the need for authentic EDI initiatives in our industry and have discussed the need for accountability through measurement and metrics,” said Sophia Hyder Hock, chief diversity officer at Destinations International. “This assessment will provide our destination members with the ability to have a baseline understanding about EDI initiatives as it relates to their workplace, policies and operations, vendors, community and accessibility plans.”

On a Mission

Under Destinations International’s EDI mission, the organization recognizes and advocates the importance of cultivating a unified travel industry where everyone is welcome, where there is equitable access for all, and where it challenges existing power structures so that systemically marginalized voices and perspectives can be heard. The association is committed to transforming destination communities through thought leadership, best practices and tools based on EDI principles through an anti-racist lens that empowers its members so their destinations excel.

From 2019 to 2021, Destinations International reached several milestones that led to the development of the EDI Assessment Tool, including the following.

  • Launch of first survey to gather workforce diversity demographics
     
  • Development of common EDI language and vision for 2020
     
  • Release of first EDI Study on destination organizations
     
  • Launch of partnership with NCBMP to create a shared advocacy plan with the goal of seeking actions that strive to educate, uplift and unite the hospitality industry in an equitable way
     
  • Launch of EDI Leadership classes

EDI Assessment Tool in Action

Destination members who take advantage of the tool will sign up and designate employees to be the EDI liaison, fill out and answer the questions on the assessment platform, and pick a results package.

The results include measurement of the organization’s score against their median industry range and measurement against Destinations International’s best practices range, with the median score dynamically changing based upon filters selected. Results categories include workplace, operations and policies, vendors, community and accessibility.

The tool provides a detailed meaning of the organization’s scoring, including whether it is optimizing EDI in its destination, managing EDI in its destination, emerging into a fuller understanding of EDI or aspiring to create a solid EDI foundation.

Based on the organization’s results, the tool includes a guide to leading best practices to help elevate EDI initiatives.

Organizations have four reporting tiers to choose from, including:

  • Basic: Organization scoring analysis across EDI verticals, including comparison to the industry median for each category
     
  • Standard: Comparison of organization's responses across all EDI assessment questions within each category
     
  • Advanced: Ability to filter results to see how a member organization compares to a set of peer destinations
     
  • Premium: 75-minute consultation with Destinations International’s chief diversity officer. 

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