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LGBT Travel ( By Terry Kim)


As of the 21st century, the LGBT community has grown exceedingly all over the globe. Just in the past year, more specifically June 27, 2017, same-sex marriage was legalized in all 50 states in the U.S. There is an entire spectrum of tourism targeted specifically for the LGBT community. 

Prior to same-sex marriage being legalized in the U.S., gay tourism has started since the 1970s. That means LGBT tourism has been around for more than almost half a century. The LGBT group's impact on the tourism and hospitality industry is much more than many people would expect.

Since the same-sex marriage law has passed, it has been great for both the LGBT customers and the tourist destinations because now these customers are able to travel without feeling judged. Judgment used to be a huge factor amongst gay couples, they were excluded and felt uncomfortable when traveling. Also, not being able to have a wedding was probably devastating for many. However, now they are able to have easy access to honeymoon packages, wedding destinations, and family getaways now.

Hotel companies such as Marriott and Hilton are participating and encouraging the LGBT community to stay with them. According to the Marriott website, 

“AT MARRIOTT®, THERE IS NO ROOM FOR INEQUALITY. WE BELIEVE THAT EVERY GUEST, WHOEVER THEY ARE, WHEREVER THEY GO, SHOULD FEEL COMFORTABLE AND WELCOME THE MOMENT THEY WALK THROUGH OUR DOORS.” 

Marriott offers a weekender package with 50% off on Sunday. They also work with other partners, GLAAD, The Human Rights Campaign, and The International Gay & Lesbian Travel, to name a few, to promote LGBT travel. Likewise, Hilton Hotels have the following slogan,

“Our mission has always been to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality. And while light can shine as any of the colors of the rainbow, the brightest lights that spread the most warmth contain the entire spectrum. There are no arbitrary borders; all colors shine as one. It is this kind of light that has inspired our #HILTONPRIDE” 

Hilton uses a more personal approach and has videos of people being interviewed and incorporating their hashtag #LoveTravels into their videos and website. Personally, I believe this is a great marketing approach for people in the LGBT community, making them feel welcome and more personal. It is great to see that companies are extending their customer base by making everyone feel comfortable when traveling.

Now for some recent news, the very first LGBT + Tourism Summit will be held in Malta, Europe this following week. It is a great approach for an international specialist to learn new marketing strategies and explore the opportunities in the LGBT tourism market. This event highlights the best practices and how to improve LGBT tourism. It is also held in Malta, which happens to be one of the top, friendliest destinations to the LGBT groups in Europe.

Quite honestly, it is amazing to see how much LGBT tourism has become what it is now and I can’t wait to hear more about it in the future. I hope that all large hotel chains will follow this trend and will make it easy and comforting for LGBT customers for their trips. 

To end this off sweet, do you think large restaurants could take the same approach of targeting the LGBT community as these hotel companies too? Do you think these approaches make a difference as an LGBT customer? Why or why not?

References
GmbH, M. B. (2018, November 12). First LGBT Tourism Summit to take place in Malta. Retrieved from https://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/4090748.html

Our World is a brighterplace when we shine. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://hiltonhonors3.hilton.com/en/offers/100113069.htm 

Rosenbloom, S. (2014, May 30). The Evolving World of Gay Travel. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/travel/the-evolving-world-of-gay-travel.html 

 About The Author 

Terry Kim is a Hospitality Management student of Collins College at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She is working towards event planning through the restaurant series and possibly double majoring in Apparel Merchandising and Management and Hospitality Management. Terry currently works at Show Sushi in San Dimas. She has a Korean background and is able to speak English and Korean fluently. Terry’s goal is to own her own business in creating luxurious and private parties for clothing and makeup launches. 

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