Travel is inherently political. The ability to move freely within the world is a privilege not afforded to all, and it is a fact that travel is not safe for everyone. You might follow us for our guides to the national parks, outdoors, or road trips—types of trips that have not always been safe for all travelers, and which continue to be inequitable due to systemic racism, bias, and oppression.
As a travel publisher, we recognize the impact of our decisions, from which destinations we cover to how we cover them. And we know we have an obligation to both travelers and the communities they visit to promote tourism in an ethical and inclusive way.
In 2020 it became abundantly clear that steps we had been taking behind the scenes to increase the diversity of our authors, partners, and content weren’t enough. We firmly believe that change requires accountability, and this page is a living document to inform the travel community how we are supporting underrepresented and/or historically excluded travelers.
Our ongoing steps include:
- Using digital platforms like our website, consumer newsletter, and social channels to actively and continuously highlight underrepresented voices and communities, including paying diverse creators to share their travel experiences and tips on Moon’s blog. We have developed a standardized rate sheet that fits with our budget for micro influencers to allow us to be more transparent and equitable and ensure we are not paying people of color less than white influencers.
- Diversifying our network of influencers to include more Black travelers, people of color, and/or LGBTQIA+ individuals. In 2021 we have sponsored campaigns with travelers representative of the following: Black: 4 (22%), NBPOC: 6 (33%), White: 8 (44%), LGBTQIA+: 2 (11%), Disabled and/or chronic illness: 6 (33%), Diverse body types: 8 (44%), Neurodivergent: 2 (11%)
- Optimizing digital content for accessibility with alt tags for images and captions for videos.
- Updating our series guidelines to prioritize inclusion of Black-owned businesses and resources for travelers of color. We are also doing sensitivity reads for top titles, addressing the experiences of oppressed and underrepresented people, and working with our authors to center perspectives that have been historically excluded.
- Sourcing photos for our books that better reflect the diversity of US travelers. Our production team is partnering with influencers to widen our scope of representation and add more images featuring travelers of color and LGBTQIA+ travelers. We want to show, visually, that travel is for everyone, and that the outdoors is open to all of us.
Travel is a valuable way to explore culture and expand our horizons. We invite your criticism, thoughts, and ideas to improve our coverage. Use the form at the bottom of the page or send us a direct message on Instagram or Twitter @moonguides at any time.
In addition to signing a new author of color for a US destination, our Acquisitions team has updated its editorial style guidelines to no longer italicize non-English words. Authenticity/sensitivity reads are continuing for top titles, with books chosen based on our top sellers, and readers chosen based on demographics in the area covered (i.e. a Latina reader for our Arizona guide and a Black reader for our Tennessee guide).
Marketing continues to meet its goals with 4 out of 5 sponsorships in Q2 2021 going to influencers underrepresented in the travel industry: 2 travelers of color, 1 traveler in the LGBTQIA+ community, and 1 wheelchair user.
In 2020, the Acquisitions department signed 19 new book contracts of which 3 are with authors of color. Acquisition editors have also begun commissioning authenticity readers to review top-selling US guides, with a focus on titles that have racially diverse populations.
Our Production department is actively working to include more photos of people in our guides and providing guidance for authors and staff on how to procure more diverse photos of travelers without tokenization or othering.
Editorial has updated its in-house style guide with an addendum that covers inclusive language while the Marketing team has finalized its standardized rate sheet and put it into practice. We’ve found the rate sheet successfully providing an equitable field for micro influencers we work with. Marketing also hit its Q1 social media goals around promoting and amplifying diverse voices, however much of this success comes from promoting Moon US Civil Rights Trail by Deborah D. Douglas which went on sale in Q1.
You can read our original commitment statement in support of Black Lives Matter and travelers of color here.