Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) marketing agency Out Now Consulting says the travel industry must dramatically improve customer service standards following research that, LGBT claims, indicates many destinations marketing themselves as ‘gay friendly’ are falling well short of the mark.
Out Now Consulting’s Community Values 2010’s LGBT research was undertaken in 23 countries, with 8,000 LGBT people in the UK contributing and 30,000 globally.
Full findings will be published in January 2011, but initial results issued for WTM on 8 November indicate numerous travellers reporting “many destinations and hotels offer a less than welcoming customer experience because frontline staff just don’t have the right skills to make gay and lesbian travellers feel welcome”.
Out Now Consulting’s CEO Ian Johnson says the phrase “gay friendly” is a hackneyed phrase and urges travel providers to improve their behaviours, so that gay people can enjoy what every other customer has taken for granted for years.
“The industry needs to lift its game on the staff training front,” Johnson adds. “It‘s no longer good enough to tick an equality box Improvements need to be made.”
The research claims the UK LGBT travel sector is worth £5.1bn per annum.
Preferred gay travel destinations tend to be long-haul for many, with the USA and Australia occupying the top two travel spots in the LGBT travel wish-list.
London is sixth on the European city list, with Paris and Amsterdam occupying the top two spots.
Caption: Gay friendly No. 1 in Europe: Paris