Nearly every segment of the travel industry seems to have a strategy for attracting LGBT travelers. Hoteliers, however, have more options than many since their diversity of destinations — not to mention broad marketing efforts and gay-friendly employment policies — provide lots of opportunities to showcase their friendliness in creative ways.
Many hoteliers tout their support for equal rights. InterContinental Hotels Group, for example, received a perfect score of 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2016 Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality.
“At IHG, we are delighted to be honored for our inclusive policies and recognized as a champion of diversity,” said Elie Maalouf, CEO, The Americas, IHG. “Our top marks underscore our commitment to promote a culture of inclusion for our guests and employees and encourage us to continually strive to be a supportive force within the communities in which we operate.”
The company’s recently acquired Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants division, meanwhile, enjoys long-standing, high-profile status as a gay-friendly place to work and stay and earned the 100 percent score for several years before the acquisition.
Last fall, W Hotels partnered with the Human Rights Campaign, a leading LGBT rights organization, and the award-winning singer and actress Jennifer Hudson to unveil the Turn It Up For Change campaign to raise money and awareness for gay rights, including marriage and workplace equality. The effort raised more than $100,000 as of press time, with fundraising events in Atlanta, Chicago and New York as well as more than 30 local events at various W Hotels around the United States.
Making it easy for travelers to explore a hotel company’s gay-friendliness online is another common tactic for attracting attention. Belmond recently unveiled a new microsite dedicated to the LGBT market and also appointed a new director of LGBT sales. Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International and Preferred Hotels & Resorts also operate LGBT microsites with special packages and travel information — including everything from event details to personal travel tips and even recipes — for LGBT road warriors.
Southwest Airlines is cutting almost 20 non-stop routes as of January 2020. The airline says the move will allow it to focus its efforts on top destinations. The airline announced the move last month, with flights from Boston (BOS), Dallas Love Field (DAL), Los Angeles (LAX) and Orlando (MCO) seeing the most cuts.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Mandarin Oriental, Geneva now offers its Royal Penthouse suite, one of the largest in the city at nearly 3,500 square feet, with an additional 1,800-square-foot terrace.
For any traveler interested in backcountry camping, wilderness exploration or any other type of outdoor adventure, REI now offers a wilderness safety training course to the general public. The programming is in partnership with the National Outdoor Leadership School, takes place on weekends and is “ideal for all outdoor enthusiasts.”
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
Ryanair will soon start its first round-trip Georgia flights. The flights, which start this November, will connect the capital Tbilisi (TBS) to Milan Bergamo (BGY) four times weekly and the western city of Kutaisi (KUT) to Bologna (BLQ) and Marseille (MRS), both twice weekly. Then, in April, Ryanair will add twice weekly flights between Tbilisi and Cologne (CGN).
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Attend one of the most acclaimed fall events, Autumn at the Arboretum, in Dallas. In its 14th year, the annual event is known as one of the best pumpkin festivals in the country, with its creative displays featuring more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash. The event takes place at Dallas Arboretum, Sept. 21 –Oct. 31. Alongside thousands of pumpkins, guests glimpse 150,000 autumn flowers across the 66-acre space.