Gay Marketing: How to Reach the Gay & Lesbian Travel Market

By Darrell Schuurman Co-Founder, Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce | October 28, 2008

There are three main areas to consider when reaching the gay and lesbian travel market: Promotions, Relations, and Community Involvement.

Promotions

As with any market, the options and opportunities for ways to promote your hotel are numerous, and the selection of the right methods is important. Deciding upon web and print advertising, the production of collateral, and participating in consumer trade shows are all elements that must be done for any niche market.

If you're going to target the gay and lesbian travel market, you need to show that you're committed to them. This market, similar to any market, wants to know that the products and services being promoted are specific to them. You can achieve this by developing targeted collateral and advertising, using images and copy that speak directly to them. The gay and lesbian consumer is savvy, and knows when a company is just out to grab a piece of the 'pink dollar', and when the company is truly committed to the market.

As a side note, showing you're committed also means that you must be willing to be in the marketplace for longer than 3 weeks. I would recommend nothing less than a year, but ideally a three-year commitment. You can't expect to see results overnight.

The web provides an amazing opportunity to reach the gay and lesbian traveller. The first way is through your hotel's own website. As with any of your print materials, show the market that your hotel is truly committed to them by including specific content on your site. A great example of a hotel company that has implemented this on their consumer site is Kimpton, which offers dedicated packages and information for the gay and lesbian traveller, as well as information on Kimpton's commitment to diversity within the company.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.