Travel Proud Cleanbnb

How Travel Proud helps CleanBnB offer better service to every guest

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Daniela Girardi from CleanBnB, one of the biggest vacation rental property managers in Italy, shares her insights into why LGBTQ+ inclusion is so important and how the right training can have an even bigger impact.
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Team Leader of the Revenue & Reservation Department at CleanBnb

CleanBnB is one of the biggest property managers in Italy. We manage over 2,000 properties, from city-center apartments to countryside villas. 

I’m the revenue manager and team leader of the reservation department. As part of my role, I manage our customer service. I do my best to ensure guests have a wonderful experience, from their first communication to check-out. A big part of that has always been inclusivity. 

From a personal and professional perspective, it’s always been my goal to offer everyone the same kind of warm, welcoming experience. I’ll be honest – for that reason, I never really thought I needed additional training. In fact, I thought that most training might fall into “rainbow washing” –  attempting to look like you’re doing something about LGBTQ+ inclusivity without actively doing anything. 

As such, we never had our own program or training, and never really felt we needed to. That was until we completed Booking.com’s Travel Proud program, which completely changed the way I saw things. 

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How Travel Proud reshaped my expectations 

Our goal is to provide guests with an unforgettable experience, and Travel Proud has helped with that so much. 

Far from the rainbow washing I was cautious about, the Proud Hospitality training was very powerful. The quality was incredibly high, offering a range of opinions and points of view from the different presenters, which really helped us reflect on our own assumptions and behaviors. It offered very practical, LGBTQ+ specific insights that were far less obvious than I’d expected. Plus, it was interactive, which made it really engaging for the team.  

While we had the right mindset around inclusivity before the training, Travel Proud really gave us practical, tangible insights into steps we could take to have an on-the-ground impact. 

We initially had eight people from our central team in Milan join. After seeing the value, we then rolled it out to our operations team throughout Italy—over 100 people— who communicate directly with customers for check-ins and on-site assistance. 

Even the small details can make a big difference 

Despite how interesting and engaging the Travel Proud program was, I think my favorite part of the experience actually happened after the training. 

Once we’d all participated, the entire team had a brainstorming session to share our thoughts on the training and come up with ways to implement everything we’d learned. For example, we’re working on adding a non-binary option for guests when they check in online. 

One of the biggest takeaways from the training was that even the smallest details can make a huge difference for LGBTQ+ travelers. The truth is, even in safe, welcoming countries and communities, LGBTQ+ guests have come to expect additional points of friction when traveling. That might be a form that’s restrictive in the pronouns they can use, assumptions from staff at check-in, or arriving at their honeymoon suite to the disappointment of finding the default “Mr & Mrs” robes waiting for them. 

Sadly, this means these travelers have far lower expectations when traveling, so getting the basics right can be met with such an overwhelmingly positive response. Simple things, like offering to have a bottle of wine ready on arrival or roses in the room. 

They’re grateful – not because we gave them special treatment, but because we treated them like everyone else.

Travel Proud CleanBnb Cucina grande


Travel Proud has improved service for all our guests

Perhaps one of the biggest lessons of Travel Proud was to never make assumptions, whether they come from our personal or cultural backgrounds. I believe this rule has actually made our service better for all guests. 

For example, it’s now become our standard practice to simply ask about bed preferences for all guests rather than assuming. We also make more of a point to use names instead of gendered titles, which avoids getting it wrong while also creating more inviting and personal interactions with guests.

Both of these changes came as a direct result of the Proud Hospitality training, and both are having a positive impact on every guest who stays at one of our properties. 

How we’re taking our Travel Proud certification as far as we can 

I’m so grateful for the insights we got from the Travel Proud program. I was open-minded and accepting before, but it gave me so many practical steps on offering guests a better experience. 

It’s so important to us, in fact, that we’re aiming to become the first fully Proud Certified multi-property partner in Italy. We currently have 90% of our nearly 2,500 properties Proud Certified, and we’re aiming to have the rest added soon. 

I believe that’s very important. Each guest has their own personal story that we know nothing about. But ultimately, each person should be free to live their own life and feel comfortable traveling as a part of that life. After all, everyone deserves more moments of carefree joy – wherever they are. That’s why I’m so pleased the Travel Proud program has helped us offer this to guests.

 

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Takeaway
  • CleanBnB, one of the biggest property managers in Italy, has started a journey to become the most Travel Proud certified partner in Italy 
  • Wary of “rainbow washing,” they’d never completed any direct inclusivity training before Travel Proud, but were incredibly pleased with the results 
  • One of their highlights came after the training, with a team-wide ideation session on how to apply everything they’d learned 
  • The result was not only a more welcoming experience for LGBTQ+ guests, but in fact for all guests