THE LGBTQ Travel Expert
A lot of people call themselves LGBTQ travel expert but I literally wrote the book! I’ve been actively engaged chronicling and helping to shape the LGBTQ travel market since 1998 when I became the editor of esteemed gay travel newsletter OUT&ABOUT. I subsequently directed LGBTQ travel content at PlanetOut, Gay.com, OUT Traveler, OUT, Advocate and ManAboutWorld.
Let’s discuss your challenges and opportunities in the LGBTQ travel segment.
Every tourism and hospitality brand has both opportunities and challenges in the LGBTQ travel space. LGBTQ travelers come in all configurations and there’s a great deal of diversity within this segment. This is especially true for younger millennials and Gen Z. They want you to treat them respectfully; to recognize and respect their relationships; and to understand their increasing gender diversity; and treat them with the same respect you accord all your guests. They may even use pronouns other than he or she. I’ve been in this business since 1998 helping tourism & hospitality brands understand and market to this evolving segment. I’m known for helping the travel industry understand and engage with this audience in a clear, engaging manner with humor and respect.
What are the assumptions your executive team and customer-facing staff makes about this segment that may steer you wrong? What are the basics you need to learn to effectively market and ensure the safety and enjoyment of your LGBTQ guests?
Tourism + Hospitality Marketing
LGBTQ travelers represent a highly desirable segment to tourism and hospitality brands with travel behaviors and levels of spend that outpace most other segments. I can help you understand the important characteristics, behaviors and spending habits of the LGBTQ segment that is valued by so many leading brands. We’ll work together to design a smart marketing plan to authentically connect with the segments of this market that make the most sense for your brand. Work with me to bring in proven outside expertise to plan the right approach to this segment. (In other words, don’t rely on the gay guy in IT!)
Education for All Your Teams
Learn best practices for reaching out to LGBTQ travelers, suppliers, partners & press/influencers and keeping them safe when they arrive at your hotel, attraction, cruise, tour and experience. For a marketing plan to succeed, you have to get the buy in at all levels of your organization from the C-Suite and marketing teams to customer-facing staff, and even key outside stakeholders like the marketing committee of your board of directors. You want your efforts with this segment to be seen as important and valued as your other efforts rather than a one-off or a pet project of someone on your team.
Getting Conferences LGBTQ Ready
Conference and other business meeting organizers need to completely relearn how to attract and engage with modern, diverse delegates, exhibitors and suppliers. Are you ready for conference attendees who use pronouns other than he or she or need gender neutral bathrooms? Do you have content tailored for LGBTQ delegates as well as other diverse guests? Are you responding to RFPs with best practice in accommodating LGBTQ delegates? Are your information forms, printed badges and other materials gender inclusive and able to accommodate those who use pronouns other than he or she and honorifics other than the familiar ones?
Travel Safety Training
You‘ve marketed to LGBTQ travelers and guests, and guess what? They show up! I can help you understand what to expect and how to keep them safe. I have assembled simple but powerful real-world scenarios that we work through together as a group that help hospitality providers understand the ways LGBTQ and nonbinary travelers may feel unwelcome and unsafe. For a much deeper dive into LGBTQ-ready hospitality training, I also work with HospitableMe and offer their signature Everyone Welcome hospitality training module. Ask me for details.
Press Trips/Influencer Visits
I am connected to the most sought-after, reliable and creative LGBTQ content creators in the industry and can help you design and execute successful and innovative media/influencer familiarization trips as well as photo shoots to produce authentic, compelling LGBTQ imagery, videos and copy. I can help you gather, edit and curate the resulting content to supplement your native LGBTQ content in a smart way that will increase organic search.
LGBT Content Audit + Improvement
Your marketing, website, social media platforms and communications represent how you present yourself to the world. Do you specifically invite LGBTQ and other diverse traveler? If not, your website can become a 24/7 “you are NOT welcome” sign for LGBTQ visitors.
I provide auditing services to let you know where you need to improve and can help you craft an authentic story about your LGBTQ friendliness and welcome. I also provide ‘mystery shopping’ services which shows where there are gaps among key service providers in market. This information helps you craft a more solid LGBTQ marketing plan.
In this era of COVID-19/Coronavirus first you have to respond. Then (hopefully soon) there will be recovery. LGBTQ travelers are known to be among the most resilient travelers during and shortly after crises in our industry. I’ve developed considerable experience crafting response and recovery planning for this segment. I’m available via webinar and video conferencing.
Connect with me via email at email@example.com so we can discuss your challenges and opportunities in the LGBTQ travel space.
The Handbook of LGBT Tourism and Hospitality
I literally wrote the book on this subject: The award-winning Handbook of LGBT Tourism and Hospitality: A Guide for Business Practice, which was a 2017 Foreword Indie finalist! Check it out here.