The novel Coronavirus has fundamentally impacted the world of travel. Most of us have had to postpone trips, delay seeing loved ones, and set aside travel for the time being. But one group of people whose lives have been impacted more than most are workers in the travel and tourism industry.
Everyone—from tour operators, to airline employees, from hotel revenue managers to tourism board employees—has felt the impact in one way or another. Many have seen their revenue streams dry up, their incomes impacted, and their jobs furloughed. I have been working in the travel industry for over two decades and some of my closest friends and former colleagues have lost their livelihoods. We are all feeling the pain, either directly or indirectly.
Expedia Group’s existence is intrinsically linked with travel workers around the world and when we saw the far-reaching impact that this pandemic was having, we wanted to find ways to help people weather the storm. So, we created Expedia Group Academy – a component of Expedia Group’s industry recovery program. This new, free education program was designed to help displaced or furloughed travel workers expand their skill sets and develop their professional networks as the industry begins to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.
According to my friend and colleague, Melissa Maher, chief inclusion officer and svp of marketing & industry engagement at Expedia Group, the concept of Expedia Group Academy was born out of a desire to support travel industry workers around the world by helping “upskill industry employees as they look to return to full time employment in a way that strengthens not only their career opportunities but will also make them a valuable addition to any company.”
Expedia Group Academy officially launched last week on an online learning platform. The program’s online learning modules, themed by month, are led by industry and subject matter experts as well as Expedia Group executives. Modules include webinars, online trainings, activity guides and downloadable resources.
July, the first month, focuses on professional development and includes three tracks: elevating personal brand, managing online reputation and interview preparation. In August industry experts will join Expedia Group Academy to share insights into the various sectors of the travel industry ranging from lodging, air and cruise. September’s focus is developing business skills in high-demand areas such as data and analytics, financial planning, and sales training. The final module, in October, will center on transformational and purpose-led leadership with trainings on effective coaching, inclusive leadership and managing stakeholders.
Expedia Group Academy exemplifies the community-mindedness of Expedia Group and demonstrates our commitment to the larger travel community and, frankly, it makes me proud to be a part of Expedia. We are all hopeful that this global challenge will be resolved soon, and in the meantime, we are doing what we can to help our fellow travel and tourism workers.
If you are a travel industry employee, you can sign up for Expedia Group Academy. Participants and other interested individuals can also connect with one another on the Expedia Group Academy LinkedIn Group, which has already attracted more than 2,000 industry members.