There is a lot of "talk" about inclusion within travel. But what does that mean, and what does it mean for us?
We are taking efforts to be part of building an inclusive world by the very design of our platform. Here's more about what we are doing, and why.
We're working on inclusion from two directions:
The challenge we face as a society to embrace inclusion is multi-faceted and nuanced. We don't claim to be able to fix everything, but we are working to have a solid, purpose-guided, and comprehensive approach to how we as a company and team of passionate people address the challenges we face in our industry. To do so, we have identified two directions to focus our energies:
First, we see a need for travelers to feel welcomed when they explore, and we want to help connect travelers to places and people who share a vision of a more welcoming world. And secondly, we feel that there is a need for the system upon which our industry is built to be more inclusion-minded and deliberate in its work. Here's how we are approaching both of these challenges...
For Travelers: Because adventure is for everyone
We believe that travel can transform the world - but everyone must be welcomed, encouraged, and empowered to take part. Being travelers ourselves, we join you in the desire to explore the world in an inclusive way. Here's how we are building an inclusive community with our platform, and how you are empowered to take part:
Commit to inclusion
All businesses on Painted Circle have joined our Inclusivity Commitment, a firm stance that there is no place for discrimination in travel.
Go where you are actively welcomed
You should feel welcome wherever you venture so that you can fully embrace the spirit of adventure and find a genuine connection to the places you visit.
Spend your money at inclusive businesses
We want our hard-earned money to be spent with businesses that also value inclusion and civility, and we want you to be confident in your travel choices, too.
Push your own comfort zone
As travelers, we must embrace diversity, too. With all businesses on Painted Circle joining our Inclusivity Commitment, we encourage you to explore places and cultures that you may not have considered.
For our industry: Because we need systemic change
Talking about an "inclusive travel industry" is great, but we think we need more - we need real, systemic efforts to build an inclusive industry. We structure how our platform works in a way that we feel better supports inclusive businesses, and also helps grow the diversity of stakeholders in the travel industry. Here's what we are doing:
Inclusion is front and center
From our homepage to each of our business partners, we voice our commitment to inclusion unambiguously.
Remove financial barriers and limiters
Unlike other travel sites, we do not charge businesses to be on Painted Circle. We feel every passionate team and innovator should be included, even if they can't afford traditional marketing.
Build community around inclusion
We seek ways to collaborate, and we take opportunities to expand our circle of collaborators to be diverse, representative, and innovative.
Change the narrative
We work to share and amplify the voices of our community, not just to promote our own narrative.
Our Inclusion Commitment
We think commitments should be simple and straight forward. Our Inclusivity Commitment contains no complicated formulas or fine print - just a commitment to civility and appreciation of guest, visitors, customers, and each other. We think "labels" and "segments" can help us navigate, but inclusion itself is transcendent of categorizations.
The Painted Circle Inclusivity Commitment:
All businesses listed on Painted Circle or collaborating with us agree to this commitment:
We are committed to operating an inclusive business that values our teams, our clients, and ourselves. We are committing to treating people who interact with us and our business with civility and dignity. Inclusion is not a political statement, nor an endorsement of ideas or lifestyles that we may or may not share or support. Inclusion is, however, an affirmation that good business means doing good and treating all people with respect. We commit to acknowledge mistakes or oversights, and strive to be better. We commit to viewing differences among us as opportunities to learn and grow, and embrace that growth as one of life's privileges. We commit that we are all part of creating a more inclusive, welcoming, and prosperous world.
Being inclusive is more than just talk for us
Painted Circle is a proudly LGBTQ+ founded business. While we all have different journeys in life, we identify with the need we all feel for inclusion, and the power we create when we embrace diversity.
The travel industry, while typically forward-looking, still struggles with delivering true equity. The reality is that not everyone feels welcome when they travel, and many who could benefit from starting travel businesses are not equally supported within the existing tourism ecosystem.
We feel that equity can be built through collaboration. Our decision to work without sales commissions is not just a gimmick - we feel it is how we can welcome a more diverse range of travel providers and unique voices into our platform. It's also how we think we can help more traveler money stay local, stay with hard-working founders, and better benefit communities. There is strength in community, and we are focused on collaboration rather than financial gatekeeping.
Find inclusive businesses on Painted Circle
All businesses listed on Painted Circle have signed on to our Inclusivity Commitment. Additionally, businesses have the opportunity to include extra inclusion and accommodation information on their listings.
Although we think beyond labels, we know labels can help us navigate. Each business listing includes details on several categories that can help each of us navigate. You will find everything from how pet-friendly a business is to which can accommodate guests with special needs. For all categories, businesses mark how they include those guests according to a simple label system:
This indicates that the business will offer a friendly and welcoming atmosphere to these guests. Most businesses will use the “friendly for” tag for the majority of our categories. Example: A backpacker-friendly café is still friendly for adventure seekers.
A business will use the “caters to” tag when it’s one of their primary focus areas to work for these guests. While this may not be their only clientele, this is a primary focus of their business. Example: A mountain bike outfitter caters to adventure seekers.
Businesses will use this label when the category does not describe their typical guest, but where accommodations may be possible to accommodate their needs. We recommend reaching out to these companies before your visit if you have special needs. Example: A bike tour company may have accommodation options for mobility-unique guests.
Sometimes labels just don’t fit, so we give businesses the opportunity to make it clear. If in doubt, reach out to a business to seek additional advice. Example: A bar is not applicable to guests with kids.
Remember, all businesses have signed on to our Inclusivity Commitment. These scores will help you know more about picking the right partner for your next adventure.
What to expect when exploring
Each place you visit and each person you encounter will be a unique experience, and that’s part of the joy of exploration. Painted Circle is to help you make the most of the experience and make a positive impact when you explore.
Businesses listed on Painted Circle have made a commitment to inclusion, and many have also made positive steps towards monitoring and controlling their environmental impact, as well as taken proactive steps at being a positive factor in their communities. Are all businesses listed on Painted Circle perfect? Well, we don’t believe in perfection. We do, however, believe in supporting businesses that want to work towards a better world. The businesses you will find on Painted Circle want your business, they want your input, and they want to take part in our mission.
We hope you will get out and explore near home, and wherever your adventures take you.