5 actions you can take to make your property more LGBTQ+ friendly

5 actions you can take to make your property more LGBTQ+ friendly

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Get actionable advice on how you can make your property more LGBTQ+ friendly, and learn more about our free Travel Proud training program – run by LGBTQ+ experts, HospitableMe.

Treating everyone the same isn’t the same as treating everyone equally. This is one of the important lessons from our Travel Proud program. When it comes to truly making LGBTQ+ travelers feel welcome at your property, you can take various actions to show you recognize the extra challenges they face and cater to their unique needs. 

1. Audit the complete guest experience

Consider all the interactions LGBTQ+ guests are likely to have, from the moment they see your online listing to their farewell as they leave your property. Put yourself in their shoes and review the whole journey. Think about your marketing materials. Have you adopted gender-neutral language such as “families,” “parents,” and “children,” instead of “moms,” “dads,” “sons,” and “daughters?” Will same-sex couples feel represented in your photography? 

Run through the check-in experience too. For example, are all staff members aware of non-binary ID? Do they understand the importance of sharing preferred pronouns? Every touchpoint should be considered. To be thorough, why not consult a few LGBTQ+ people and ask for feedback?

2. Make more mindful decisions during guest interactions

To combat the implicit bias we all have ingrained, pay attention when certain thoughts appear – and take a beat. Examine your thinking before acting. When you do, engage with empathy, curiosity, and understanding. Crucially, we’re all human and mistakes do happen. Apologize for any slip-ups and move on. Show you’re an ally, and your LGBTQ+ guests are sure to help you do better next time. 

5 actions you can take to make your property more LGBTQ+ friendly

 

3. Think about the little things

Serving guests with complimentary champagne and luxury bathrobes can make them feel extra special. But, if you’re addressing welcome notes to “Mr. and Mrs.” or providing “His and Hers” embroidered robes, it could have the opposite effect. Attention to detail is crucial here. Small and subtle signs of solidarity such as adding preferred pronouns to staff members’ name badges, making your public toilets gender-neutral, and advertising LGBTQ+ events all year round—not just during Pride Month—speaks volumes. 

Plus, these inclusive actions benefit people outside the LGBTQ+ community too. On a practical level, gender-neutral toilets make life easier for fathers with daughters, mothers with sons, and other carers of people who need extra assistance. At a societal level, familiarizing people with these accommodating practices inches everyone closer to a more accepting, inclusive world. 

4. Become a fountain of LGBTQ+ knowledge

For years, the hospitality industry has skewed toward the interests of heterosexual cisgender guests. When we talk about treating everyone equally, accommodation providers might need to dig deeper to serve the LGBTQ+ community with the same wealth of relevant local knowledge. Our research found that 37% would like more tailored recommendations for their preferences and interests, while 31% would like additional information about the LGBTQ+ status of the location, including local laws, religious sensibilities, dress codes, and hate crime statistics.

There are many resources you can rely on to develop your expertise in this area. IGLTA provides travel guides, and speaking to LGBTQ+ locals reveals current points of interest. According to UNWTO, the LGBTQ+ travel market is continuing to grow and is predicted to include 180 million travelers by 2030, so this research is sure to come in handy.

5. Train your staff and make some noise about your efforts

If you don’t have one already, we recommend implementing an inclusivity policy. This should outline what’s expected of staff members and guests alike, providing them with a code of conduct to follow. The policy should also make the consequences of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity crystal clear. Once this has been created, circulate it and make sure everyone understands it. 

Training the team is another breakthrough moment. Empower your staff members by giving them the tools they need, so if they witness discriminatory behavior, they can feel confident defusing the situation. At Booking.com, our free Proud Hospitality training can help you and your staff better understand and connect with LGBTQ+ travelers.

Raising awareness of all the influential steps you’re taking to make everyone welcome and comfortable at your property won’t just give LGBTQ+ guests peace of mind. It also sets a precedent for others to follow in your footsteps. With a shared understanding of how to be more inclusive to LGBTQ+ travelers, together we can make a significant positive change.

 

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Takeaway
  • In order to treat LGBTQ+ guests the same, you’ll likely need to learn more about their unique needs. Our Travel Proud training will give you these important insights
  • Reviewing your customer’s journey from arrival to departure will help you see areas for improvement where you could be more inclusive
  • Once you’ve embarked on your journey to inclusive hospitality, make it known. Tell LGBTQ+ travelers they can rely on you – become Proud Certified