checkboxes

Shockingly, Tourist Destinations Lying About Their Gay Friendliness

Supposedly “gay friendly” tourist destinations hoping to attract queer travel dollars are actually doing nothing to cater to the demo, reveals a new study from Out Now Consulting, which polled some 30,000 travelers around the world.

“These days, suddenly everyone wants to be ‘gay friendly’ and frankly, that has made today’s LGBT consumers extremely wary of the bona-fides of the welcome being extended,” says the firm’s chiefIan Johnson. “Even the phrase ‘gay friendly’ is pretty hackneyed and does absolutely nothing to rescue a holiday that can be ruined when a stay feels far less than welcoming for a lesbian couple because of their experience at check-in, or for two gay men when ordering room service to the honeymoon suite. The number one factor that LGBT travellers hope for when they travel away from home is an equal and genuine welcome, which means that travel providers need to improve their communications and behaviours. So that LGBT people can enjoy what every other customer has taken for granted for years: the chance to simply be themselves on their vacation. It seems obvious that when we go on holidays we all want to relax and feel comfortable. The industry needs to lift its game on the staff training front if it is going to deliver on the promises being made to LGBT travellers. The message to the travel industry is clear. It‘s no longer good enough to tick an equality box, fly a rainbow flag or join an LGBT trade association because that’s not going to deliver the level of experience that today’s LGBT customers want. Improvements need to be made.”

So what sort of things must destinations do to qualify as gay friendly? Let’s crowd-source this bitch. We’ll start with a few musts:

Make us feel welcome. We want to see ourselves in your marketing materials and advertising spots; partner getaways should be described in gay-inclusive terms. Don’t always ask a man checking in at the front desk if his wife will be joining him. And not every homosexual is a thirtysomething white guy, despite the above photo, so you best put a mix on display.

We like nice shit. Hotels with fine linens. Happy hours with top shelf liquor. Sweets from chocolatiers whose names we can’t pronounce. Make us feel like we’re upgrading, or at least maintaining our lifestyle.

Cater to our interests. We like museums and fine dining. We also want to know where the gay bars are. Make them easy to find, and don’t make clients feel uneasy about asking for that information. Is there a queer film festival coming to town? Alert us.

Support your local gays. The Gays aren’t just image conscious about themselves — they’re image conscious about what brands they patronize. When we’ve got hundreds of choices, we’re more apt to go with a hotel or restaurant or jet ski company that donate to local LGBT centers. Because it makes us feel good about ourselves.

Your turn!