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Small Steps Big Impact, How Expedia Group Marketers are Creating Conscious Inclusion

At Expedia Group, we recently released our new mission: To power global travel for everyone, everywhere. When we think of everyone, that means going beyond who we are familiar with. It means thinking about the barriers that we may inadvertently be creating for under-served travelers, whose identities have not typically been at the forefront of our creative processes. The Portfolio organization (including brands like Orbitz, CheapTickets, Travelocity, and Hotwire) is committed to creating an inclusive and diverse environment by enhancing our understanding of challenges and driving change in ways that align to our individual brand values. ​​​​​​​Taking this call of action with enthusiasm, members of our Creative Agency team set to work building inclusion & diversity-related resources that would not only benefit their fellow marketers, but also employees across Expedia Group in serving our diverse travelers. Read on to learn how employees took action to help power travel for everyone, everywhere.

Jason Heidemann (him/his) | Sr Copywriter | Los Angeles, USA 

I want our I&D glossary of terms to be based on the very best sources out there. So when thinking about age, for example, I sourced the AARP, when thinking about LGBTQIA I sourced GLAAD, and when thinking about race as it relates to Black people, I sourced the National Association of Black Journalists.” – Jason 

Jason is a senior copywriter on the team and has been at EG for 4 years. Over the past year, he joined the founding group behind Orbitz’s relaunched LGBTQIA+ initiatives, and he realized that most employees, including himself, weren’t able to easily describe the differences in the terminology used for under-represented groups. What does each letter stand for within LGBTQIA? What is the difference between Hispanic and Latino? He set out to find reputable sources to create a practical language guide for employees to access to better understand describe under-represented communities.  

LGBTQIA+ Content Guide: The Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) Glossary is a style guide and best practices handbook for when it comes to addressing various marginalized groups including racial minorities, LGBTQIA, people with disabilities, etc. There are helpful language tips around “Do’s and “Don’ts” with the rationale for why terminology may be antiquated or offensive, all so that the reader becomes more inclusive in their language choice. The I&D content guide is intended as a reference for the Content Team when creating copy across the different blogs as well as when creating assets for various lines of business, but should also be considered a reference guide for anyone within Expedia Group who wishes to access it. 

Monica Pedraja (she/her) | Content Producer | Chicago, USA 

“In my role as Content Producer I look at photos every day and always keep representation in mind. This library houses an array of travel images featuring all faces of life that can be used internally and externally. From people of color, body size, age, sexual orientation, and ability, the photos I curate are authentic and inspiring, while also keeping in mind the brands’ styles.”Monica

Monica is a content producer on the team and has been at EG for 5 years. When Monica was younger, she loved finding tan Barbies and watching figure-skaters who looked like her. As a photographer and curator, she realized the importance of capturing the different identities of the human race so everyone can feel seen and empowered to travel. She strives to be an ally to under-served communities by ensuring diverse imagery are readily available to employees to use, both internally and externally.  

Diverse Image Library: The Diverse Image library houses an array of travel images featuring all faces of life. Her intent behind this initiative is to push for representation and ensure everyone feels welcome to explore the world. These images, which are regularly updated, can be used internally and externally.

When Expedia group wrote our report on Breaking Down Barriers to Travel featuring the business case and best practices for Disability Inclusion within the Travel Industry, we leveraged this library to ensure that we could visualize travelers with different abilities, of different backgrounds, ages, races, and more. The visual element of this report brought the copy to life, and the report was picked up by outlets like Travolution, Global Accessibility News, and 

Martina Sheehan (she/her) | Sr Content Strategist | Chicago, USA

 “As a former journalist, I was trained to go to directly to the source for accurate, truthful storytelling. And I’ve come to learn that this applies to creating diverse, inclusive content in a brand setting, as well. To really be inclusive, we have to give diverse talents an enticing platform where they can speak authentically to, and for, a given community.”  – Martina

Martina is a senior content strategist on the team and has been at EG for 8 years. With the awareness that About Us pages are frequently accessed by writers and members of the press, as well as readers who want to learn more about brand mission, she set out to update the Orbitz Travel Blog’s About Us page to better represent the brand’s mission and audience.  

Orbitz Travel Blog About Us Page: Amplifying diverse voices was top of mind for Martina as she created the Orbitz Travel Blog About Us page. She wanted to ensure that the voices found in the blog represent the authentic voices of LGBTQIA+ travelers, which supports Orbitz’s brand history and mission of inclusion. Next up, Martina will craft the Travelocity About Us Page, laying out the brand’s mission to serve families looking to plan their next great vacation, and in particular, the Latino family-travel market. This means emphasizing writers with knowledge and background within this community.

With Expedia Group’s dedication to celebrate and champion diversity, our teams have been hard at work building out meaningful resources that our brands and teams can leverage so that our customers feel represented in our brands and our partners understand our intentional position in this space. 

Manager support behind these initiatives has really leveled up the impact that these employees are able to have.  Martina, Jason, and Monica share the same manager, Sarah Gorenstein, who leads content for several of Expedia Group’s brands. She has empowered her team to create an inclusive brand identity that serves a diverse target audience, whether it is over email, on social, onsite, and more.  


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