Today marks the first day of Sydney WorldPride. We here at Livn show support and are excited for this occasion as our home town, Sydney, is hosting WorldPride. Everywhere you look in the city, there is support for the LGBTQ+ community with the pride colours proudly presented. Also, many fabulous events are happening around the city this month, with special international guests making an appearance.
NSW Minister for the Arts and Tourism Ben Franklin says “From 17 February, WorldPride 2023 will showcase Sydney’s strengths to a global audience with 78,000 international visitors set to enjoy our great city and inject $112 million to the visitor economy.”
LGBTQ+ travellers made up around $218 billion of annual spending in 2018, but when it comes to this audience, unfortunately, some discrimination still exists.
According to research from Booking.com, 82% of LGBTQ+ travellers have had unpleasant and uncomfortable experiences during their travels. And 55% have experienced discrimination in one form or another. This means operators in the tours, activities, and attractions sector have an important role in ensuring a pleasant and safe experience for LGBTQ+ guests.
With pride month happening right now, we wanted to highlight a few ways tours, activities and attractions operators can enhance the travel experience for the LGBTQ+ community.
1. Education translates to excellent customer service
Before you can offer any form of LGBTQ+-friendly tours, activities and attractions, you and your company must be real allies of the community. And this starts with education, awareness, and compassion. Stay up to date with local laws in the destinations you promote and ensure you can answer questions that may arise.
Train staff to deal with unconscious bias and the relevant terminology that may be required for guests and travellers. This can go a long way in making everyone feel comfortable during their experience, which translates to excellent customer service.
2. Partner with local allies
As much as we want inclusivity and equality to reign supreme, the truth is that there are still destinations and vendors that discriminate or have laws against the LGBTQ+ community. And your travellers may not be aware of the specific risks in-destination.
Local knowledge and connections are an asset for tour operators who can create strategic partnerships with LGBTQ+-friendly businesses. This ensures the entire product is safe and welcoming from start to finish.
3. Share inclusive descriptions
Make it easier to book your products by offering and highlighting LGBTQ+-friendly tours and activities in the product descriptions. This not only makes them more searchable but can help at a glance.
Within this, make sure you are using inclusive language, for example, group packages that aren’t gender-specific (e.g., the traditional ‘mum, dad, and two children family’ packages).
You can also go the extra mile and reduce the research for your travellers by sharing more information about your products like:
● Highly rated hotels and restaurants for LGBTQ+ travellers
● Locations that have gender-neutral or family-friendly public restrooms that LGBTQ+ travellers can safely use
● References to LGBTQ+ laws in the countries you operate in
4. Be supportive year-round
Authenticity is incredibly important, so avoid using the LGBTQ+ traveller movement as a marketing tactic during pride month. Instead, ensure you take action year-round and during key dates like Pride.
Pride festivals happen on different dates in different countries, aside from the official Sydney celebration in Feburary-March this year. There are also Mardi Gras parades, film festivals, art exhibits, and more. Be strategic by aligning your tours, activities and attractions with these important events throughout the year and ensure that you’re taking the necessary steps to be supportive of the LGBTQ+ community year-round.
5. Take advantage of the available tech
Some platforms are being developed to help end the hate and discrimination some communities are facing. Some platforms offer a way for LGBTQ+ travellers to find vacation rentals within friendly locations. Some apps or websites list LGBTQ+-friendly businesses like restaurants and retail shops worldwide.
Collaborating with these digital solutions and platforms benefits your travellers and your business. You can reach a wider audience and simultaneously let people know you are an ally.
6. Create an inclusive business
Representation matters, and the best thing you can do for your business is to be an equal-opportunity and supportive operator. Bringing in a diverse group of people to your teams can only improve your products and the experience for your travellers. There’s nothing more encouraging for members of the LGBTQ+ travel community than knowing they are not alone and are represented in a way that matters.
Ultimately, LGBTQ+ travellers have just as much right to a positive experience when travelling, and it’s up to tours, activities and attraction providers to help make this a reality.
Livn loud, and Livn proud.