Excerpted from an interview with WSYE on marketing to LGBTQ travelers and LGBTQ travel safety

How do you approach businesses that are based in regions where treatment of the LGBTQ community is not considered?

(These questions and answers relate to an upcoming talk on younger LGBTQ travelers I am giving at WSYTC on October 8, but it is applicable to the entire LGBTQ segment.) There are still around 70 countries that criminalize homosexuality including at least 11 where the punishment is the death penalty. There are nearly 30 countries that offer marriage equality. However, the welcome LGBTQ travelers receive depends on more than the legality and you can be warmly welcome in a legally anti-LGBTQ destination and receive terrible service in an LGBTQ-friendly destination. It all comes down to the level of awareness and training for both marketers and customer-facing staff. I approach ALL businesses with the understanding that they have both challenges and opportunities with the LGBTQ segment and whether they do no marketing or invest heavily in the segment, they have and will continue to have increasingly diverse guests. I urge them to at least understand diverse guests – more than 50% of GenZ identify as something other than straight! —   and authentically engage with and welcome them.

What are some examples of what organizations that serve youth travelers are currently doing to make LGBTQ travelers feel welcome?

Youth travelers are a segment that expects to be celebrated for their uniqueness. They also expect to be accommodated no matter what their sexual orientation or gender identity. I have helped youth-oriented hostels develop strategies for the LGBTQ segment and smart policies for accommodating guests with non-normative gender identities and presentations – especially challenging when it is a question of shared and especially sex-segregated accommodations. 

There are many ways to affirmatively make LGBTQ travelers feel welcome including, simple signage (a well-placed rainbow decal can be very effective!); inclusive (or at least non-offensive) web content and social media; training staff to be LGBTQ welcoming and inclusive; partnering with outside community organizations; promotion of attractions, history and culture of interest to the segment; private ‘single use’ toilets; and more! I’ve trained staff in person and remotely. I’ve also helped organizations conduct audits of all marketing materials and mystery shopping to assess the true welcome LGBTQ guests receive.

What are the typical “bad service” scenarios you have heard about/ experienced during your time training organizations? Where do you think organizations “go wrong”?

Organizations almost always go wrong when they make assumptions about their guests based on their perceived relationship status or gender. DON’T assume the two women checking in are sisters who want separate beds. DON’T greet a group of masculine-presenting people as “gentlemen!” or say “good morning, girls” to young people with long hair; In fact use gender INCLUSIVE not EXCLUSIVE language. DON’T ask a little girl where here mommy is when her two (male) parents are standing there. Don’t assume the person with a deep voice on the phone is a man. Try to understand non gendered language including “they” as a pronoun that replaces he or she for trans and some non-binary travelers.

If our customer-facing teams make mistakes that could cause the guest anxiety or worse and that could cause you to lose their business and that of their family and community, who’s to blame? Your staff or a lack of training? The very nature of travelers and guests is changing rapidly before our eyes. You need to educate yourselves and your teams to prepare to welcome them with the same authentic engagement and warm welcome you greet ALL guests. But this is a learned technique. If your customer facing teams are making costly mistakes, it’s the responsibility of the organization to rectify that. Otherwise we are putting them in to situations where they will likely make costly errors through no fault of their own. That is management malfeasance.

Do you think that organizations and destinations that promote themselves to travelers from the LGBTQ community understand the safety requirements these travelers need? If not, where do they start in gaining this knowledge?

In a word, no. Most organizations now understand they need to have a well-lit parking lot or a defibrillator as part of their duty of care. But very few understand that to authentically welcome LGBTQ and other diverse guests you have a duty of care to understand them and their needs, behaviors and concerns and protect them as you would all your cherished guests. You have to learn a little about the history of LGBTQ travelers and the pitiful lack of welcome (and open antagonism, abuse and worse) they’ve suffered. Sure, LGBTQ travelers can travel more openly in more places but when you think that 70 countries still criminalize homosexuality and that even in supposedly safe countries, LGBTQ people can still be harassed, abused or worse, it’s no wonder they are more cautious about the travel decisions they make compared to others. The good news is that this segment rewards even small acts of inclusiveness with their loyalty and a little training and strategy can go a long way! It also been proven that when you offer a more engaging and authentic welcome to LGBTQ travelers, you tend to offer much better service to ALL guests. So the investment you make with this segment pays dividends throughout your business.

Tell us a little about yourself. What drew you to the tourism and hospitality industry?

After working for several years in market research after obtaining my MBA, I had a great career but was dissatisfied. After extensive soul searching, I had a simple but profound epiphany about my true passion which lead me to tourism & hospitality: I’ve always loved to travel and tell people about my trips. So, within a year I moved from Boston to LA to start a job as the editor of a small but important gay travel publication called OUT & ABOUT. That company was acquired and then expanded till I became editor in chief of the next important LGBT travel publication, The OUT Traveler and editor of a number of online publications including Advocate.com/travel and Out.com/travel. After 12 years I co-founded ManAboutWorld, the first app-based queer travel magazine and HospitableMe Consulting, which offered strategic consulting and inclusive hospitality training. I am now a solo practitioner through Salvato Consulting offering LGBTQ marketing strategy, travel safety and inclusive hospitality education and training to tourism and hospitality brands and the meetings industry the world over.

I pride myself on offering smart, actionable consulting and education that is never condescending and never assumes familiarity with the rich but complex culture of the LGBTQ segment. My training neither requires nor assumes prior knowledge. I’m also a professor of marketing at New York University’s Tisch Center of Hospitality. I am absolutely passionate about teaching, which I have also been doing in my profession for 20 years helping my colleagues and clients better understand and engage with LGBTQ travelers. I pride myself on creating a compassionate learning environment free of judgement and I always see and address unasked questions. Not everyone is comfortable talking about this subject and I understand that. But we’re in hospitality and tourism so we must address the topic, and it’s crucial to have a seasoned facilitator to create a productive, safe and enjoyable conversation with actionable learning outcomes.

New York City Love Letters: A Few Shots That Grabbed My Eye

A few New York City scapes caught my eye on an 18-mile jaunt down and back up the island of Manhattan. 🚲 🌃 ☀️ 🌳

Times Square is one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions, drawing an estimated 50 million visitors annually. Approximately 330,000 people pass through Times Square daily (well NORMALLY) many of them tourists,while over 460,000 pedestrians walk through Times Square on its busiest days (again normally). Formerly known as Longacre Square, Times Square was renamed in 1904 after The New York Times moved its headquarters to the then newly erected Times Building, now One Times Square. It is the site of the annual New Year’s Eve ball drop, which began on December 31, 1907 and continues to attract over a million visitors to Times Square every year
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower. The South Building’s tower was designed by the architectural firm of Napoleon LeBrun & Sons and erected between 1905 and 1909. Inspired by St Mark’s Campanile, the tower features four clock faces, four bells, and lighted beacons at its top, and was the tallest building in the world until 1913
The New York Life Building is the headquarters of the New York Life Insurance Company at 51 Madison Avenue in New York City. The tower is 40 stories tall, consisting of 34 office stories topped by a pyramidal, gilded six-story roof, and was constructed in 1927–1928. It overlooks Madison Square Park in the Rose Hill and NoMad neighborhoods of Manhattan.
Fancy-pants multi-level cantilevered condo building on Delancey.
This mural raised $12,500 for the tenement museum
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. It was built between 1902 and 1904. The church building, designed by the noted architectural firm of Schickel & Ditmars, who were generally responsible for the designs of Roman Catholic commissions or other clients of German descent. The congregation was founded in 1868 after splitting from St. James’s Lutheran Church. Most New York Lutherans were German in the nineteenth century, and “Holy Trinity was one of a very few English-speaking Lutheran congregations. The first church was at 47 West 21st Street, in the edifice originally built for St. Paul’s Reformed Dutch Church.”

New York City Love Letters: A Hawk and Other Magnificence along Riverside Drive

A get-out-of-the-house-for-any-reason bike ride south along beautiful and under-appreciated Riverside Drive, which stretches from West 158th Street to West 72nd on the far west side of Manhattan along the Hudson River. You’ll find lots of beautiful parkland, gorgeous apartment buildings, presidential monuments, churches oh, and this red-tailed hawk. 🚲 🌃 ☀️ 🌳

Look who swooped just inches over my head then up to perch on this traffic light. A red-tailed hawk. According to my avid bird-watcher friend Christian Cooper “the ones in this town are true New Yorkers… They just don’t give a shit about you. In the country they get spooked if you get within 100 yards!” — at Riverside Drive.
This bronze equestrian sculpture of military officer, educator, journalist, and public servant Franz Sigel (1824–1902) is by the distinguished sculptor Karl Bitter (1867–1915). Sigel was a patriot both in his native land of Germany and in his adopted home in the United States. He was born on November 18, 1824, in Sinsheim, Baden.
Completed in 1902, the Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Monument is a monument located at 89th Street and Riverside Drive in Riverside Park in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City. It commemorates Union Army soldiers and sailors who served in the American Civil War. It is an enlarged version of the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, and was designed by the firm of Stoughton & Stoughton with Paul E. M. DuBoy. — at Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument (Manhattan).
Completed in 1902, the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Monument is a monument located at 89th Street and Riverside Drive in Riverside Park in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City. It commemorates Union Army soldiers and sailors who served in the American Civil War. It is an enlarged version of the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, and was designed by the firm of Stoughton & Stoughton with Paul E. M. DuBoy. — at Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument (Manhattan).
rosa rugosa, which is a very tough and shoreline tolerant rose. It's non-native, but has naturalized in many beach areas on the East Coast.
rosa rugosa, which is a very tough and shoreline tolerant rose. It’s non-native, but has naturalized in many beach areas on the East Coast.
Fancy Waterline Square condos.
Fancy Waterline Square condos.
Riverside Park; https://riversideparknyc.org/
Riverside Park; https://riversideparknyc.org/
Me doing my Bill Cunningham impression
Me doing my Bill Cunningham impression

New York City Love Letters: A Beautiful Spring Day

A gorgeous day for a (socially distant “en masque”) bike ride 🚲 🌃 ☀️ South on 2nd ave from 124th > west on 14th > north on 6th through Central Park then home.

Such a gorgeous venue! Radio City Music Hall is an entertainment venue at 1260 Avenue of the Americas, within Rockefeller Center, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Nicknamed the Showplace of the Nation, it is the headquarters for the Rockettes, the precision dance company. Radio City Music Hall was built on a plot of land that was originally intended for a Metropolitan Opera House. The opera h… See More — at Radio City Music Hall.
From any angle, this is a great building. The Empire State Building is a 102-story[c] Art Deco skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan in New York City. It was designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon and built from 1930 to 1931. Its name is derived from “Empire State”, the nickname of the state of New York. The building has a roof height of 1,250 feet (380 m) and stands a total of 1,454 feet (443.2 m) tall, inc… See More — at Empire State Building.
Detail of 1251 6th Ave. 1251 Avenue of the Americas, formerly known as the Exxon Building, is a skyscraper on Sixth Avenue (also known as Avenue of the Americas) in Manhattan, New York City, between 49th and 50th Streets. It is owned by Mitsui Fudosan. The structure is built in the international style[2] and looks like a simple cuboid devoid of any ornamentation. The vertical façade consists of al… See More — at 1251 Avenue of the Americas.
In 1836, Peter Gerard Stuyvesant (1778–1847) – the great-great-grandson of Peter Stuyvesant[9] – and his wife Helen (or Helena) Rutherfurd reserved four acres of the Stuyvesant farm and sold it for a token five dollars to the City of New York as a public park, originally to be called Holland Square, with the proviso that the City of New York build a fence around it. As time passed, however, no fen… See More — in Stuyvesant Square.
Closed due to the pandemic but this is a giant and beloved (by many) department store. Macy’s Herald Square (originally named the R. H. Macy and Company Store) is the flagship of the Macy’s department store chain; it is located on Herald Square in Manhattan, New York City. The building’s 2,500,000 square feet (230,000 m2),[3] which includes 1,250,000 square feet (116,000 m2) of retail space, makes it among the largest department stores in the United States. The store has stood at the site since 1901. — at Macy’s.
Rutherford Place began life as a maternity hospital, but the hospital was converted in the mid-1980s into a residential building. This prewar building is a classic example of the Beaux Arts architectural style. Its conversion was praised for maintaining many of the building’s historically significant detailing and ornamentation. Rutherford Place is found in the neighborhood of Gramercy Park, an area known for its prewar buildings. — at Rutherford Place.

Remembrance of Travel Past: Inn on Randolph

My friend who owns the gorgeous and super LGBTQ-friendly Inn on Randolph in California touched base with me. With stay-at-home orders still in place and most people unwilling or unable to travel, business has been very severely affected — as in many very worthy venues. The all-woman-run Inn on Randolph is just fabulous, with a relaxed yet luxurious feeling, super comfortable rooms, DELICIOUS food and of course fantastic wines from nearby Napa, Sonoma and beyond.

The Inn on Randolph in Napa is gay friendly. Can't wait to visit when it's open again1
Some of the happy guests at the Inn on Randolph

I wanted to include the piece I published in ManAboutWorld Gay Travel Magazine here as a reminder of an unforgettable visit with a group of LGBTQ leaders and travelers a few years ago and a hope to visit again soon!

Here’s the gorgeous garden where they’ve conducted same-sex wedding ceremonies.

We love the LGBTQ-welcoming Inn on Randolph, an incredibly hospitable 10-unit bed and breakfast. It’s located on a leafy residential street a pleasant, brief walk from downtown Napa, California. The (all-woman) staff is cheery, super accommodating and knowledgeable about the innumerable options worth considering in the area. Don’t miss the gourmet breakfast, and be sure to return later in the day for their delicious cookies. Accommodations include bathrooms with heated, hardwood floors (much of which is original to the 19th-century mansion), pillow-top beds, wine refrigerators with bottles for purchase, televisions, bath robes and slippers. We stayed in the main house which gives you instant access to those cookies, but the five separate cottages provide more privacy.

Our group enjoyed numerous bubbly toasts!
Here’s the shady, comfortable back deck of the Inn on Randolph

New York City Love Letters — Birthday Edition: Beauty That Caught My Eye

Today’s socially distant exercise bike ride — birthday edition! A bit grey and cold and yes there were a few snowflakes BUT the sun popped out along with my iPhone and I snapped a few pix. At the end I included a few from a previous walk in a nearby park. A little green to brighten up this surprisingly cool spring. 🚴‍♂️

Detail of sculptures at Hearst Building at Columbus Circle.

“There is no finer example of “old meets new” in the world of New York City architecture than the Hearst Building on Eighth Avenue and 57th Street. In 1926, William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper publisher who was the model for “Citizen Kane” commissioned Joseph Urban to design a new Manhattan headquarters for his growing media empire. Urban, best known for his set designs for the Ziegfeld Follies, approached the project as if it were an elaborate theatrical extravaganza. A six-story cast-concrete base adorned with giant fluted columns and 8 allegorical statues representing Comedy, Tragedy, Music, Art, Industry, Sport, The Sciences and Printing was completed in 1929. The plan was to add a soaring tower on top of the base, but the Depression intervened, and the additional floors were never added.”
Built in 1884 … The Dakota, also known as the Dakota Apartments, is a cooperative apartment building located on the northwest corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West in the Upper West Side of the borough of Manhattan in New York City, United States. Its construction was completed in 1884. The Dakota was the home of John Lennon, a former member of the Beatles, from 1973 until his murder in the archway of the building in 1980. 
Maine Monument honors the 260 American sailors of the USS Maine, which sank in Havana, Cuba in 1898. Atop the monument is a gilded bronze sculpture of Columbia Triumphant in a seashell chariot led by three hippocampi (half horse, half seahorse); it is said to be cast from the guns of the ill-fated ship. The sculptures at the base depict allegorical figures of the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, Courage, Fortitude, War, Justice, and Peace.
I love this giant sign paying homage to nurses.
Close up of plants in the park.
Central Park
The Century is an apartment building located at Central Park West and 63rd Street in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City. It was constructed in 1931 at a cost of $6.5 million and designed by the firm of Irwin S. Chanin. The Century is designed in the Art Deco style, unlike many of its neighbors, which are designed in the Beaux-Arts style.
Einstein mural by street artist Kobra in Chelsea, NYC.
A section of the Museum of Natural History, NYC
A walkway in the park.
This is from an earlier walk in my neighborhood park
Also my neighborhood park St. Nicholas Park
Plant in my neighborhood park
Beautiful old trees along Central Park West
Plant in St. Nicholas Park
Detail from the Maine monument (goes with the golden statue at the beginning of this series) at Central Park
Super tall at Columbus Circle
Super tall at Columbus Circle

New York City Love Letters: A Spin (Almost) All Around Manhattan

I had sincerely intended to simply hop on my bike and enjoy a nice long socially distant exercise bike ride … but I just can’t help myself. A historic building caught my eye; then a view of Brooklyn and before you know it, I snapped a few more photos. Sigh! Hope you enjoy these haphazard images. 🚴‍♂️

One image I think is symbolic of these rides is the near perfect trace of Manhattan as captured by my Strava (cycling tracking) app. (Check out the last photo.)

Beneath the Williamsburg Bridge, a suspension bridge in New York City across the East River connecting the Lower East Side of Manhattan at Delancey Street with the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn at Broadway near the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (Interstate 278). Completed in 1903, it was the longest suspension bridge span in the world until 1924.
This has the catchy name of Slip 5 Battery Maritime Building (BMB) — in New York, New York.
A view of Red Hook, Brooklyn from the southern tip of Manhattan — in New York, New York.
The bikeway beneath the colorful underside of FDR Drive. — in New York, New York.
A view north of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges — in New York, New York.
The Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton is located in the Church of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, a Roman Catholic parish church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York at 7 State Street, between Pearl and Water Streets in the Financial District of Manhattan, New York City. — in New York, New York.
Love this contrast of the old and the new (the same church from the previous photo is peeking in at the lower right) — in New York, New York.
Who says nothing pretty came out of the 60s? 😉 1 New York Plaza is an office building in New York City’s Financial District, built in 1969 at the intersection of South and Whitehall Streets. It is the southernmost of all Manhattan skyscrapers. The building is 640 feet tall with 50 floors, and is the 100th tallest building in New York City. — in New York, New York.
The Williamsburg Bridge is a suspension bridge in New York City across the East River connecting the Lower East Side of Manhattan at Delancey Street with the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn at Broadway near the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (Interstate 278). Completed in 1903, it was the longest suspension bridge span in the world until 1924. — in New York, New York.
Abandoned building on East River
Cool view of the Empire State Building looking north and west from a bulge in the lower east side of Manhattan so that a portion of the East River is in the foreground.
These two residential buildings are conjoined via this glass walkway which includes a pool! “The dancing building.” (See comments below)
So beautiful. Headquarters of the United Nations Building. The United Nations is headquartered in New York City, in a complex designed by a board of architects led by Wallace Harrison, and built by the architectural firm Harrison & Abramovitz. The complex has served as the official headquarters of the United Nations since its completion in 1952. It is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manh… See More
View west of the Chrysler Building through Tudor City, which is a Tudor City is an apartment complex located on the southern edge of Turtle Bay on the East Side of Manhattan in New York City, near Turtle Bay’s border with Murray Hill. It lies on a low cliff, which is east of Second Avenue between 40th and 43rd Streets and overlooks First Avenue. Construction commenced in 1926 making it the first residential skyscraper complex in the world. Tudor City was one of the first, largest, and most important examples of a planned middle-class residential community in New York City It is named for its Tudor Revival architecture.
This was the route of my bike journey (as traced by my Strava tracking App)

New York City Love Letters: Traipsing around Hamilton Heights & Sugar Hill (Harlem)

These attractive brownstones, statuary and flora captured my eye in my neighborhood on today’s socially distant walk 🚶

Statue of General Alexander S. Webb (1835–1911), second president of CCNY (1869–1903) — at The City College of New York.
Gorgeous little planter on Convent Ave. Her counterpart is the very last photo of this series. — in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan.
Brownstones — in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan.
Love this horse relief. There are two on the facade of this parking garage which is a former stable. — in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan.
A bouquet of tulips in St. Nicholas Park
Mount Zion Lutheran Church. I was disappointed to learn it’s only 75 years old. It looks 275 years old! LOL 
Compton-Goethals Hall City College New York at City College New York
Gorgeous flowers in St. Nicholas Park

New York City Love Letters: Photos from a Bike Ride around Randalls and Wards Island

Today’s socially distant exercise bike ride took me east through upper Harlem and across the Madison Avenue Bridge through Mott Haven in the Bronx and onto Randalls and Ward Islands, which I just learned are conjoined islands separated from most of Manhattan by the Harlem River, from Queens by the East River and Hell Gate, and from the Bronx by the Bronx Kill.

The entrance to Hell Gate Bikeway on Randalls and Wards Island

Despite these scary-sounding place names, it’s a gorgeous parkland offering myriad sporting activities. Well, normally they do. No baseball games these days! But plenty of socially distant cyclist, walkers and a few picnickers.

About to head out on my socially distant exercise bike ride touring Randalls and Wards Island
Entrance to Hell Gate Bikeway on Randalls and Wards Island
Cool underside to Hells Gate Parkway above the bikeway on Randalls and Wards Island
Tugboat steaming along the East River bordering Randalls and Wards Island
Park along the East River bordering Randalls and Wards Island
Heading home through the Port Morris section of the Bronx
Adorable buildings in Mott Haven, a charming neighborhood in the Bronx
A mural in Mott Haven, the Bronx
I LOVE Strivers Row, which is in my neighborhood in West Harlem
Looking west along 138th Street towards City College of New York

My First Quote as an NYU Professor on the Hospitality Job Prospects for 2020 Graduates (Skift)

I have my first quote from my work at NYU. It’s in this article in Skift, Hospitality School 2020 Graduates Confront an Evaporated Hotel Jobs Market.  I’ve been quoted a number of times in Skift regarding my work in the travel space in general so they know me there. I’m happy about the quote but my heart breaks for seniors graduating into this bleak environment. They’ll come out of it with amazing experience but it’s going to be a tough path ahead.

Excerpted from the Skift Piece by Cameron Sperance

Faculty members are bringing coronavirus into daily lessons to offer real-life crisis management training. Ed Salvato, a professor at NYU’s tourism and hospitality marketing graduate program, cancelled the business case study he originally planned this semester in favor of having students follow a brand and analyze their coronavirus recovery strategy.

Faculty at NYU’s graduate hospitality program have incorporate the coronavirus downturn into lessons.

“It’s not that I’m expecting students to come to class with a magic bullet for the industry, but I want to get their heads in that space,” Salvato said. “Ideally, they’re going to be at a job on a group still thinking of recovery into 2021.”

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