As a hotelier, you will be well aware that LGBT travel is one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors worldwide. The global LGBT 2030 research program estimates that the annual LGBT travel spend in 2018 amounted to more than $218Bn, with the majority going to travel and accommodation. What’s more, gay men tend to travel twice as often as their heterosexual counterparts. Have a look at our recently published article on the main LGBT travel trends every hotelier should know.
LGBT events are important travel motivators for gay travellers. At World Rainbow Hotels, we bring together a global community of lesbian, gay and bisexual welcoming hotels, providing accommodations unprecedented visibility and access to the LGBT market. As a result, we have seen firsthand how profitable LGBT events can be for hotels.
Here are the main benefits of hosting events in your hotel, and our tips on how to set your hotel up for LGBT conferences.
Why host LGBT events
(1) Raise brand awareness amongst the LGBT community
Standing out in the competitive hospitality industry isn’t easy, but absolutely crucial – especially for small hotels. Hosting an LGBT related conference at your hotel is one of the best ways to tell your target audience you’re open for business. Not only will it help raise brand awareness, but it will also show you’re supporting LGBT causes. And it pays off: A staggering 83% of gay men and lesbians choose their hotel based on its gay-friendly reputation. Read Why your hotel’s LGBT-friendly reputation is everything to find out why.
World Rainbow Hotels member Hotel Icon in Hong Kong is the perfect case in point. They organised the first-ever Diversity and Inclusion conference for the hospitality industry in Hong Kong in December 2017. Since then, they have been listed on numerous LGBT travel blogs and forums as one of the top gay and lesbian-friendly hotels in Hong Kong.
(2) Receive a well-deserved social media boost
Around 66% of people attending an event engage in online activities, including posting on social media, during the event. By encouraging everyone to use the right event hashtags, your LGBT event or conference will reach an even bigger online community. This is likely to increase the number of LGBT followers on your social accounts, which further improves your hotel’s gay-friendly reputation. For more social networking tips, have a read of ‘How to promote your LGBT hotel on social media.’
Hosting an LGBT event can boost other digital marketing channels as well. For example, if more people visit your website and spend more time on it as a result, it will help your SEO activities. All in all, your hotel marketing efforts will thank you.
(3) Watch your ROI increase
While hosting an LGBT event in your hotel comes with an initial cost, it will help increase your ROI in the long run. If you’re planning on hosting a multi-day LGBT conference, offer special package deals for attendees to stay at your hotel directly. Invite industry journalists and bloggers to ensure your event gets the right publicity in the LGBT media, and prepare yourself for more hotel bookings in the near future.
What’s more, hosting is a perfect opportunity to meet key players in the industry that attend the conference. You never know what future business opportunities come from having the right connections in the LGBT community.
How to set your hotel up for hosting LGBT events
Keen to host your own LGBT event but not sure where to get started? Our tip is to either join or sponsor an international LGBT trade association, such as IGLTA and NGLCC, or get involved with local associations like your national Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. These associations often host LGBT meetings and conferences, and if you can agree to have them hosted in your hotel, you will receive a great deal of publicity in return.
If you’re in the US, here’s a list of all regional Chamber of Commerces. For European counterparts, have a look at ILGA Europe. We’ve further listed all the leading LGBT trade associations, all of whom we partner with, on our website.
Hosting an LGBT event made easy
While we can’t take the event planning off your plate, our team at World Rainbow Hotels can make your life a little easier. By joining our LGBT consortia programme, you will become recognised as an ‘LGBT-welcoming’ accommodation on the GDS. You will also have easier access to all LGBT associations listed as our strategic partners, all of whom will recognise the World Rainbow Hotels stamp of approval. Offering to host one of their LGBT events has thus just become one little bit easier!