Meeting Mentor Magazine

June 2024

Destinations International Launches Groundbreaking Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Tool

Destinations International recently introduced a new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Assessment Tool. The tool is designed to help the destination marketing organizations and convention and visitors bureaus DI serves to measure how well EDI has been incorporated into their operational efforts so far, as well as uncover new ways to achieve their EDI goals.

DI’s new assessment tool also is designed to help its members create and/or improve their EDI goals, as well as measure how well their EDI efforts are working to achieve those goals with data-driven metrics.

“Many destination organizations recognize the value of incorporating EDI principles into their brand, but it is often hard to know where to start,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International.

“This tool will set standard metrics across the industry for our members to keep track of the progress being made in the areas of EDI.” The tool also was designed to create awareness and discussion about how to develop and implement intentional EDI strategies for destination organizations of all budget sizes and in different geographic locations around the world.

Among the areas destinations can assess using the tool are workplace dynamics, operations and policies, vendor selection, community engagement and accessibility-related strategies. The tool provides users with a score based on median and best practice averages at four different reporting levels.

Basic: At the lowest level, destinations can compare their results to industry medians across various EDI categories, including workplace, operations and policies, vendors, community and accessibility.

Standard: Destinations at this level can compare their responses across all EDI assessment questions within each of the categories.

Advanced: At this level, users also can filter their results to those of a group of similar destinations

Premium: This level includes all of the above, with the addition of a 75-minute consultation with DI’s chief diversity officer, Sophia Hyder Hock, who just joined the organization in February this year.

Among the filters destinations can use to anonymously compare their destination to others are by budget, geography and tourism assets. They also can download a guide of best practices users can base their own EDI initiatives upon.

“We have recognized the need for authentic EDI initiatives in our industry and have discussed the need for accountability through measurement and metrics,” said Hyder Hock.

She added, “This assessment will provide our destination members with the ability to have a baseline understanding of EDI initiatives as it relates to their workplace, policies and operations, vendors, community and accessibility plans.

“We are grateful for the partnership with the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals (NCBMP), which sparked the idea to create this groundbreaking tool for our industry.”

The organization has been doing EDI work leading up to the launch of this tool since 2019, when it launched its first survey to get a baseline on workforce diversity demographics. Earlier this year, Destinations International released the results of its 2022 Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Study of Destination Organizations. Based on data from 491 respondents from member destination organizations, the report looked at overall demographics and perceptions on EDI. In the introduction to the research, Don Welsh, President and CEO, set the stage for the newly released tool when he said, “We must continue to advance our work and our new initiatives to provide measurement, resources and other tools to validate our work and progress.”

Instrumental to the organization’s EDI work is its Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee. The EDI Committee focuses on CEO Engagement, Industry Partnerships, University Partnerships, Research and Workforce Development in its work to provide support, strategic planning and programming initiatives for its members. DI also launched a partnership with NCBMP to find ways to advocate for a more equitable industry, and offers a series of EDI leadership classes.


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