With so much change in the world over the past year, first and foremost, we hope that you and yours are doing well, are safe and healthy, and perhaps are even finding some silver linings during this unprecedented worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. As is true for just about everything, Bébé Voyage being a travel company had to make some adjustments as a result of Covid-19 and the related travel restrictions. But those changes have not been as radical as one might think, considering that we are primarily “in the travel sector.”
The current situation just helped us reaffirm and crystallize our mission:
Bébé Voyage empowers parents to raise children to be curious, open-minded, and global citizens. We encourage parents to raise lifelong explorers by exposing them to new cultures and experiences to build a better, more peaceful world for all.
HOW WE PIVOTED
Up until 2020, the primary vehicle for our mission has been physical travel. But since families are sheltering in place and travel is restricted, in many ways, we believe our raison d’être is more important than ever in this new age we live in. We are all about connecting the world. With everything going on at the moment, global cooperation will be more important than ever before. Working together to find solutions will pave the way to a brighter, more tolerant, and dare we say, a peaceful future for our kids.
With this in mind, when most of the world went into confinement in March, we listened to our audience and returned to the core of our mission, and bootstrapped a Pen Pal Program in time for the lockdown. Within the first month, over 80 families registered for Pen Pals, and this happened with minimal effort on our part.
We are reminded of the importance of the global community, especially in dire circumstances such as these. And because we emphasize fostering an authentic, values-based group of members, we are extremely fortunate to maintain not only membership but also engagement.
2020 — THE YEAR WE STEPPED UP
While travel in 2020 became a taboo and often triggering topic, we took a hard look at ourselves and what was going on in the world. Largely pushed by our committed team members, we felt we had a key role to play. Our global reach of well over 50,000 parents around the world puts us in a unique position to facilitate and lead raw and authentic conversations around climate change and racism.
In June, we published an anti-racism statement and committed ourselves to amplify the voices of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and other marginalized groups so we can all learn and grow together.
Our effort to become a more inclusive organization and allow all members of our community to express themselves authentically continued behind the scenes with the creation of a Gender Inclusion Policy.
Our Editor-in-Chief, Marta Conte, launched an Instagram Live series interviewing parents from diverse backgrounds focusing on thoughts provoking conversations with topics ranging from race relations, childhood developmental delays, sexuality, mental health, and day to day parenting. The series will also be turned into a podcast in the near future to grant access to more listeners.
2020 has undoubtedly been the year where Bébé Voyage has taken our content to the next level. Not only have we been publishing more content for our members ranging from a new global recipe series to updates on travel restrictions, but we are also very proud of the quality and tenor of the topics we are addressing.
Bébé Voyage has become a true vehicle of change.
With this in mind and with so many inspirational parents at our fingertips, we launched a new membership portal where we host long-form exclusive content on pioneering conversations. These conversations address what Bébé Voyage stands for: raising our next generation of children to be curious, global citizens.
PARTNERING WITH BRANDS WE SHARE VALUES WITH
This year has been a turning point for Bébé Voyage in terms of our collaboration with brands. Our community has always been great about identifying amazing, thoughtful products every traveling parent would love and we wanted to make sure that our audience would be able to see them more easily. We’ve done content collaborations and giveaways with bigwigs like Cybex and Inglesina to niche products and services like Flyaway Designs and Our Whole Village.
As a result of our anti-racism commitment, we’ve upped our game in terms of highlighting BIPOC-owned businesses and are thrilled to have developed close relationships with Lightly and Atlas Book Club. Not only are they great services, but our community is raving about both of them.
WHAT’S IN STORE
Over the course of 2020, we have been conceiving a new membership platform for curious, global-minded parents. Aside from our exclusive long form content mentioned above, the membership program will focus on our ambassadors, vetted, and trusted parents with on-the-ground insider knowledge, who stand for our values. From the beginning, Bébé Voyage has been fortunate to have attracted an incredible global community of parents, and even more blessed to have attracted an impressive family of ambassadors, contributors, and volunteers who have given their time and energy to our mission. The new platform will enable users to view ambassador recommendations and to interact with our brand partners. The Pen Pals are a component of the new membership as well.
The natural first step with it will be (when the time is right) to encourage local travel and rediscover local communities and businesses who will so desperately need the support.
BEHIND THE SCENES
If all this sounds like a lot of work… it is! And it has only been possible because our largely volunteer team (plus a few consultants) has stepped up and engaged more than ever. In fact, over the course of 2020, we’ve added team members and interns! While Marianne and Juliet (and a few other team members) have had to decrease hours spent on Bébé Voyage, most have maintained or added to their workload and recruited additional volunteers to help. “Volunteers” certainly does not do these team members justice as the level of professionalism, commitment, engagement, and getting-stuff-done is beyond what most employers dream of. We can only assume that this is a sign that we have figured out something about leadership. 😉
With Marianne giving birth to her second baby in June and Juliet needing to take some personal time off, having such a high-quality team could not be more important! We are proud that our vision and values are being carried by others so gracefully.
On that note, may 2021 be a year of grace and healing, for ourselves, our communities, and our planet… one exploration at a time.