THE WORLD OF LGBTQ TRAVEL constantly evolves, so it’s no surprise the topics at the 18th Conference on LGBT Tourism & Hospitality — this year at San Francisco’s Park Central Hotel — represented a wide array of trends in the marketplace.
The biggest change is the ever-increasing number of destinations that market to LGBTQ travelers, according to David Paisley, senior research director, Community Marketing & Insights, the LGBTQ research and marketing firm that organizes the annual event. “The evolution has been mostly one of size of the community, starting with the large urban cities, then smaller cities and now small towns and resort destinations,” he said. “Today, there are hundreds of destinations of all sizes outreaching to the LGBT community.”
In addition, Paisley noted the “evolution from a time when just a couple hotel brands were outreaching to the LGBT community to a time when nearly every hotel has an outreach plan.”
Indeed, the increased appeal is apparent in the long list of participants and sponsors at this year’s conference. Speakers included San Francisco Travel’s Joe D’Alessandro, MGM Resorts International’s Dawn K. Christensen, Tourism Toronto’s Heidi Wallace and Celebrity Cruises’ Ron Gulaskey. Major sponsors this year included the tourism offices of Argentina, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas and San Francisco, as well as the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association.
Workshops aimed to help attendees better sell their destinations and travel services to LGBTQ travelers, with topics ranging from marketing and media relations to attracting inbound travelers from Latin America. A special educational track was designed specifically for meeting professionals and planners, providing tips on how they can create more LGBTQ-friendly events and conferences themselves.
So what’s different today about the many organizations that go after LGBTQ business? “They are less scared,” said Paisley. “When we started this work, many destination and travel companies feared backlash — or for groups and cruises, worried about the interactions within their customer base. Today, that all seems to have diminished. The pioneers that started LGBT tourism outreach have demonstrated that there is nothing to fear. The LGBT community is not too different than any niche market.”
Boca Raton Resort & Club recently announced a new partnership with Major Food Groups, creating one of the best culinary destinations in the United States. Major Food Groups is the company behind some of the hottest restaurants, including Carbone, The Grill and Parm. This partnership will launch multiple dining concepts as part of the resort's $150 million transformation.
The Sports Industry Awards returned with a bang last night as 200 guests packed the W Hotel Great Ball Room for the gala ceremony.
The Franklin London Launches Afternoon Tea Inspired by Victoria & Albert Museum’s “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser”
The Franklin London – Starhotels Collezione, located in the heart of Knightsbridge, launched a new afternoon tea inspired by the “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser” exhibit at the nearby Victoria & Albert Museum. Diners booking the tea also have the option to book an offer including a pre-reserved ticket to the in-demand exhibition.
Pride Month is in full swing and to celebrate the community, make a colorful cocktail everyone will enjoy. These colorful ingredients will get the party started during Pride or any time of the year. Start this recipe the night before to create the rainbow ice cubes.
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
Up Norway, Norway’s travel curator, partners with sustainability experts to offer travelers a new tour. The Discovery Route, called the “world’s most sustainable journey,” combines personal wellness with the wellness of the environment.
Enjoy additional perks at Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta, on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, with the Vitamin Sea, D & Me offer. Rates begin at $130 per night, including complimentary breakfast daily, a healthy starter at Arrecifes Restaurant, one poke bowl and one drink at El Palmar Restaurant. The use of one beachside pergola per stay is also included. The offer is valid on stays through Dec. 21, and use code S5706 to book.
Business travel is on the brink of returning, according to three new reports. The latest monthly Traveler Confidence Index developed by Travel Again shows business traveler confidence soared in May, with 42 percent now fully ready to travel, up from just 20 percent in April. An additional 31 percent are planning some type of business travel for summer, with 74 percent willing to travel domestically for business in the next 90 days. However, employers may not be as ready, with only 22 percent of business travel respondents with current business travel plans.