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.”
Heathrow Airport built a “bespoke set of anti-drone systems” around its airfield. The system, created by U.K.-based firm Operational Solutions, detects and tracks drones in surrounding airspace. The “new and innovative” system can also locate drone pilots and show their location.
The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.
New upgrades at Frankfurt Airport include renovations at the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel & Conference Center, as well as the addition of a new hotel, Frankfurt Airport Marriott. To make room for the new property, the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel was reduced to 779 guestrooms from its previous 1,008 guestrooms, allowing for 233 guestrooms at Frankfurt Airport Marriott. All Sheraton guestrooms are now refurbished.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead is on the cusp of updating its spa concept and partners.
A historic U.K., hotel, The Grand Hotel Birmingham is expected to open this summer after extensive renovations. One of the city’s most iconic buildings, The Grand Hotel Birmingham was originally constructed in the 1870s.
oneworld is an alliance of 13 world-leading airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and connecting you to more than 1,100 destinations around the world.
With new stories surfacing daily about disorderly passengers being escorted off an aircraft or, worse, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing, countries recently passed legislation ensuring such passengers are punished to the fullest extent.