As a hotelier, you will be well aware that LGBTQ+ travel is one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors worldwide. The global LGBTQ+ 2030 research program estimates that the annual LGBTQ+ 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 LGBTQ+ travel trends every hotelier should know.
LGBTQ+ 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 LGBTQ+ market. As a result, we have seen firsthand how profitable LGBTQ+ 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 LGBTQ+ conferences.
Why host LGBTQ+ events
(1) Raise brand awareness amongst the LGBTQ+ community
Standing out in the competitive hospitality industry isn’t easy, but absolutely crucial – especially for small hotels. Hosting an LGBTQ+ 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 LGBTQ+ 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 LGBTQ+-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 LGBTQ+ 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 LGBTQ+ event or conference will reach an even bigger online community. This is likely to increase the number of LGBTQ+ 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 LGBTQ+ hotel on social media.’
Hosting an LGBTQ+ 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 LGBTQ+ 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 LGBTQ+ 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 LGBTQ+ 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 LGBTQ+ community.
How to set your hotel up for hosting LGBTQ+ events
Keen to host your own LGBTQ+ event but not sure where to get started? Our tip is to either join or sponsor an international LGBTQ+ 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 LGBTQ+ 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 LGBTQ+ trade associations, all of whom we partner with, on our website.
Hosting an LGBTQ+ 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 LGBTQ+ consortia programme, you will become recognised as an ‘LGBTQ+-welcoming’ accommodation on the GDS. You will also have easier access to all LGBTQ+ associations listed as our strategic partners, all of whom will recognise the World Rainbow Hotels stamp of approval. Offering to host one of their LGBTQ+ events has thus just become one little bit easier!