Meeting professionals understand that travel brings people together. But how can you measure the power of those connections? Destinations International, the association for Destination Marketing Organizations, is teaming up with research firms iolite group, Brand USA and Miles Partnership to determine the impact of cultural exchange on destination planning and travel.

The upcoming study, “The Multicultural Multiplier: Cultural Diversity’s Impact on Travel Intent,” will examine how showcasing cultural diversity affects travelers’ intentions. Travelers from Canada, China, Mexico, U.K. and U.S. will be surveyed starting in early 2022, with results available in Spring of ’22.

The study intends to assess a number of factors, including:

  • Quantifying the impact that showcasing cultural diversity has on travelers.
  • Defining what traveler perceptions and behaviors are impacted, and by how much.
  • Uncovering insights to enhance marketing effectiveness for culturally diverse experiences.
  • Defining profile(s) of culturally curious travelers.

You can learn more about the project and its methods here.

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Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International, is excited about this study’s potential to move the industry’s thinking about DEI forward.

“Destinations International is committed to transforming destination communities through thought leadership, best practices and tool-based initiatives on equity, diversity and inclusion principles so their destinations are true reflections of their communities,” he said. “The rich cultures that make up destinations around the world enhance the visitor proposition.”

As DEI has come more into focus in this industry, planners are trying to incorporate it not just in the workplace, but into the way they plan off-site meetings.

This can mean anything from focusing on locally owned venues and attractions, to partnering with smaller organization on the ground in their meeting destinations. This can make for a more enjoyable, enriching experience for attendees, plus a boost to local economies and small businesses.

“As the nation’s tourism marketing organization, Brand USA views cultural diversity as one of its most compelling storytelling platforms,” said Tom Garzilli, chief marketing officer of Brand USA. “We are thrilled to partner with Destinations International and Miles Partnership to support iolite group’s study.”

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iolite group’s founder and CEO Carroll Rheem believes that the study will highlight how enriching international travel is both for planners, and for businesses and organizations at the destination.

“The study’s objectives are to quantify that potential and generate actionable marketing insights to help enrich destination storytelling in a way that benefits both travelers and local communities,” she said.

That sounds like a win-win—and the sponsors hope their study results will prove it.