How we partnered with Sydney WorldPride to highlight Proud Certified properties
Booking.com showed up for the LGBTQ+ community in a big way at Sydney WorldPride 2023 – the biggest event in Sydney since the 2000 Olympics. As a major partner and the exclusive digital travel provider of the event, we set out to spread the word about Travel Proud, our free training programme that helps our partners provide more inclusive experiences for LGBTQ+ travellers.
The first WorldPride in the southern hemisphere
WorldPride is a global event that celebrates LGBTQ+ people and brings visibility to the unique issues they face. For the first time ever, the event was held in the southern hemisphere, bringing together people from all over the world to Australia’s iconic Sydney.
There are over 28 million accommodation listings in more than 160,000 destinations worldwide. WorldPride was an important event for us to sponsor, as we wanted to show our commitment to making it easier for LGBTQ+ travellers to experience the world and enjoy Pride-inspired trips to the fullest.
“In addition to celebrating the revitalisation of the Australian tourism sector, our sponsorship of Sydney WorldPride is a symbol of our continued investment in supporting rainbow communities everywhere and our commitment to enable truly inclusive travel experiences in even more places around the world,” said Arjan Dijk, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com.
Amplifying our Travel Proud message to millions
In addition to showcasing our Proud Certified properties, we wanted to share our Travel Proud message 'We filter places, not people' with the millions of people attending the event. The campaign generated several pieces of media coverage and consisted of advertising all over the city, social media content and influencer posts – all drawing attention to partners like you and the fantastic hospitality you can offer LGBTQ+ guests.
As part of our partnership, we had our own stage at the Pride Villages. Thousands of people gathered here to enjoy free Pride celebrations and shows, including performances by our Travel Proud ambassador Conchita Wurst and other talent such as Courtney Act and Trevor Ashley. LGBTQ+ travellers also had the opportunity to share stories of when travel got it right for them.
We also sponsored the three-day Human Rights Conference – the largest-ever LGBTQ+ Human Rights Conference in the southern hemisphere – and had a dedicated Travel Proud booth. At our exclusive media lunch, we highlighted our Travel Proud research in the Asia-Pacific region. For example, 82% of LGBTQ+ people have said they have had an unwelcoming experience when they've checked into accommodation or when they're travelling. This is a statistic that we take seriously, as it’s our mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world.
Celebrating our Proud Certified properties
The awareness generated by our campaign drove a 73% increase in certifications in Sydney and surrounding areas. In the weeks leading up to WorldPride, the number of Proud Certified properties across Australia and New Zealand grew from 1,200 to 1,500.
Our WorldPride activities culminated in an exclusive invitation-only industry event to recognise and celebrate our Proud Certified properties. Nearly 500 partners, influencers, celebrities and media came together, with performances by Conchita Wurst, Courtney Act, Joel Creasey, Trevor Ashley, DJ Kitty Glitter and Sheldon Riley.
Attendee Rico Chen, Founder of hotel software provider Resly, said, “Events like these create a sense of community among people from different backgrounds. It's wonderful that companies like Booking.com are taking steps to support and celebrate diversity.”
Pride’s impact on the industry
This year’s WorldPride celebrations brought huge interest to Sydney. According to STR (previously known as Smith Travel Research), a premium market insights provider for the global hospitality industry, Sydney WorldPride drove hotel performance above pre-pandemic levels. Hotels reported consistently high occupancy and room rates, with occupancy reaching a peak of 95.8% on the night before the Pride March.
In our annual travel predictions research, we found that 73% of global travellers feel more optimistic about travelling in 2023 compared to 2022. To lean into this renewed interest in travel and the popularity of Pride events, accommodation providers should ensure they offer a welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ travellers – not just during Pride events, but all year round.
To date, over 21,000 partners have been recognised with a Travel Proud badge. When LGBTQ+ travellers and allies decide where to book their next stay, Booking.com and your properties will be top of mind.
- We partnered with the biggest event in Sydney since the 2000 Olympics, WorldPride 2023, to show how our Travel Proud programme can help partners give LGBTQ+ travellers more inclusive experiences
- Our Proud Certified properties and Travel Proud message ‘We filter places, not people’ were showcased as part of our sponsorship, reaching millions of people
- We also showed our support for the LGBTQ+ community through our own stage at the Pride Villages, our sponsorship of the Human Rights Conference, and our exclusive invitation-only industry event
- In the weeks leading up to WorldPride, the number of Proud Certified properties across Australia and New Zealand grew from 1,200 to 1,500, while Sydney and surrounding areas saw a 73% increase in certifications
- To date, over 21,000 properties have been certified with a Travel Proud badge on Booking.com