There is no denying it: LGBTQ+ travel is one of the fastest growing tourism sectors. Annual global travel spend by LGBTQ+ customers now exceeds $218 billion, and British gay men travel twice as often as heterosexual men. Welcoming gay travellers is thus a very lucrative opportunity for many hotels.
But hotels looking to gain visibility in the LGBTQ+ market often don’t know where to start. While there are a multitude of smaller operators and agencies out there catering to this niche market, they have their disadvantages. For example, they tend to just work with net rates, or only sell tour packages to a very local public. And even though a few great blogs and websites dedicated to LGBTQ+ travel do exist, they don’t offer a great deal of brand coverage for accommodation providers. This makes it difficult for hotels looking to increase online bookings from LGBTQ+ guests to stand out.
A staggering 83% of gay men and lesbians choose their hotel based on its “gay-friendly” reputation. So how can your hotel gain credibility in the market and increase direct bookings from LGBTQ+ travellers?
Lucky for you, we know just how to answer that question. Here are World Rainbow Hotels’ five top tips on how to increase your LGBTQ+ hotel bookings:
1.) Join LGBTQ+ trade associations
First and foremost, one of the best ways to increase your LGBTQ+ hotel bookings is to join a relevant global trade association. Both The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association and TAG list LGBTQ+ friendly accommodation that have received their stamp of approval. To qualify, hotels need to adhere to certain standards such as providing LGBTQ+ diversity and sensitivity training for employees. Joining a trade association is a great form of accreditation and will increase your hotel’s profile in the sector.
2.) Work with LGBTQ+ consumer websites
Another great way to receive more direct hotel bookings from the LGBTQ+ community is to work with relevant consumer websites. If you’re listed on global LGBTQ+ website you can expect your visibility to sky-rocket. Have a look at Out Traveler, World Rainbow Hotels and Gay Travel to see if there are possible partnership opportunities.
3.) Be part of an LGBTQ+ consortia
A further excellent way to boost those online hotel bookings is to join a global LGBTQ+ consortia. This way you will become recognised as an ‘LGBTQ+-welcoming’ accommodation on the Global Distribution System (GDS). There are currently two GDS codes used by agencies to search for LGBTQ+ accommodations: GY1 and GAY.
4.) Create LGBTQ+-specific rates
If you want to attract more LGBTQ+ guests, creating LGBTQ+ specific rates and packages will help tremendously. For example, you can offer an LGBTQ+ honeymoon package or a proud special rate. Offering promotions for local Pride events works really well too. Here’s an overview of all European LGBTQ+ Pride events. Mark the dates!
5.) Invest in specific LGBTQ+ imagery
Last but not least, a very important (and often overlooked) way to increase online hotel bookings is to have LGBTQ+ images of your hotel on your website. While this may seem like a small change, it will definitely help you stand out from other LGBTQ+ welcoming hotels in your local area. Get creative!
Increase direct hotel bookings
What if we told you that all of the above can easily be accomplished within a reasonable budget?
World Rainbow Hotels brings together a global community of gay and lesbian welcoming hotels, providing accommodations like yours unprecedented visibility and access to the LGBTQ+ market. Through a centralised platform, we connect hoteliers with over 24,000 agencies making GDS bookings worldwide.