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Jeff Guaracino

Manchester Pride, in Manchester, England, is a celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender life. Annually, the 10-day festival draws thousands of gay and lesbian tourists from England, Europe and around the globe. Gay tourists come for parties, live music, a parade and a candlelit vigil. Manchester Pride raises more than lb100,000 for HIV/AIDS charities. During Manchester Pride 2009 in August, I interviewed Graham Bradford, Regional General Manager, Malmaison Hotels, Great Britain. Mr. Bradford is responsible for the Malmaison Hotels in Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool, England to discuss his views on how gay and lesbian tourism can build room and food and beverage revenues. Read on...

Jeff Guaracino

This summer, gays and lesbians will spend on average $2,300 on business and leisure travel, almost $1,000 more than heterosexuals, according to the "Gay and Lesbian Travel Snapshot" by Witeck Combs Communications and Harris Interactive. Are gays and lesbians magically immune from this global financial crisis? No, but there are reasons why they are a coveted, treasured segment in this down economy. Read this article for additional facts about this segment and learn which hotel chain earns more than $5 million in revenue annually from "out" gay and lesbian travelers. Read on...

Gerald Fernandez, Sr.

For ten years, MFHA has been promoting the concept of diversity and inclusion as a key management strategy in the hospitality and foodservice industry. During this time, we have seen significant progress made in the areas of minority worker recruitment, diverse and under-leveraged community marketing and minority franchising. According to NABHOOD (National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers) there are more than 200 African-American owned hotels. Consider that it was less than a dozen just ten years ago. Why has Black hotel ownership increased so dramatically? I believe that there are seven reasons for this success. Read on...

Darrell Schuurman

Hotels are facing ever increasing competition and challenges, and must continually identify new ways to grow market share. For the past few months I've told you about the opportunities that lie with targeting the gay and lesbian travel market, and how to be successful in your efforts. I'm sure you've been thinking how interesting it all was, but wondering if it works. So this issue I've decided to let you see first hand the process, experiences, and results a small luxury, three property hotel company went through to reach the gay and lesbian travel market. Read on...

Gerald Fernandez, Sr.

Management of diversity initiatives in the hotel and lodging industry must be inclusive and proactive in order to be successful and sustainable. Taking an inclusive approach to diversity management involves looking at the entire company and its stakeholders. Being proactive suggests that an organization seizes opportunity as opposed to reacting to a problem. For example, the hotel industry was forced to react to the NAACP Hotel Survey when it was initiated in 1997. This widely publicized survey was viewed by many as a challenge to the industry's commitment to African-Americans and other minority groups. Despite the fact that the lodging industry has long been a good place for Blacks and other minorities to find employment, not enough has been done to help minorities advance to higher levels of leadership. By not having a clear industry wide strategy for leveraging diverse talent and perspectives, the lodging industry is open to scrutiny by minority special interest groups. Read on...

Darrell Schuurman

I need to first acknowledge that this article was inspired from an email I received in response to one of my previous articles. The author of that email, let's call him Mr. Smith, was very upfront and critical of some of my suggestions on how hotels can attract the gay and lesbian market. He was blunt, but I appreciated his comments. Not only did it give me a title for this article, but it made me really take a step back and validate everything that I've been promoting. I decided, as I was responding to his letter, that I should actually share my comments with all of you. If Mr. Smith had these strong concerns, others must as well. I've incorporated bits of his email into this article, which by the end will hopefully give you a better sense of whether or not marketing to the gay and lesbian consumer has truly "gone too far". Read on...

Jeff Guaracino

GLBT athletes travel for regional, national, continental and international sports competitions and the gay sporting competitions generate millions of dollars for local economies. Gay sports remains an emerging growth market as evidenced by the increasing number of sporting competitions and the steady growth in attendance at those events by athletes and spectators alike. Read on...

Darrell Schuurman

Having a diverse work force is extremely important for any business. A diverse work force is able to respond to your diverse clientele. They have a better understanding of your customers, while bringing new ideas and creativity to the workplace. Successful companies are also understanding that diversity must include lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-persons (LGBT) employees, and that programs, opportunities and incentives must be put into place and exist for them as well. Read on...

Sanjay Nijhawan

In a multi-cultural environment problems can occur when differences in hierarchy, status and protocol lead to poor communication and misunderstanding. Every society has numerous nuances that would make it irresponsible to suggest a uniform approach to understanding any country's social/business customs or etiquette. Yet, having a set of loose guidelines can assist in bettering awareness and avoiding offence. In this essay I outline five essential practices that meet the growing demand for multi-cultural awareness within the hospitality industry. Read on...

John Hogan

Mukesh Mowji, 2005 vice chairman of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, authored a short editorial in the November issue of the AAHOA Lodging Business magazine titled "Illuminating the Way: DIWALI and the Community". In this article, he encouraged people of all nationalities to join in this "Festival of Lights" which begins on November 1st and to give thanks for the health, good fortune, knowledge and happiness that so many people have. In researching this article, I found that despite the facts that India has the 2nd largest population in the world and Indians have made major contributions in many industries, DIWALI is a holiday known to only a limited number of Westerners. With that in mind, I discovered the following... Read on...

Jeff Guaracino

With legal recognition and a growing public acceptance of same-sex unions around the world, a new business opportunity for hotels to host formal celebrations and to create honeymoon packages has been created. In fact, gay tourism is a growing industry representing more than $50 billion spent annually in the United States. Considering that is estimated that there are around 15 million adult people who identify as GLBT in the United States, that is an incredible per trip spend. Read on...

Jeff Guaracino

Safety, progressive politics (such as gay marriage) and even immigration (policies that don't discriminate against gay people) all play a factor in travel decisions. The latest research found that among gay travelers the top seven U.S. destinations are New York City, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles-West Hollywood, Palm Springs, Ft. Lauderdale and Chicago. The top seven European cities are London, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Florence and Venice ties with Berlin. Read on...

Darrell Schuurman

In my previous articles, I've talked about the benefits of targeting the gay and lesbian travel market, and what this market looks for when travelling. However, when trying to reach a new market like this for your property, it can be somewhat overwhelming, requiring both time and financial commitments. Depending on the size of your property, you may not have a sufficient supply of resources to put behind your new entry into the gay and lesbian market. That's where partnerships can play an important supportive role. By forming partnerships within your city or region, you can overcome some of those challenges and thereby facilitate your move into the new market. Read on...

Darrell Schuurman

You provide wireless internet for the business traveller. You provide swimming pools and water parks for families. You provide discounts for seniors. But what do you need to provide for the gay and lesbian traveller? Is it any different from the mainstream 'straight' traveller? Simply put, no, it's no different. The gay and lesbian traveller still demands and expects the same general products services as the mainstream traveller. They want the spa, the workout facilities, the business centres. But there are still services and products that your hotel can offer to go that extra mile, and provide a message of commitment to the market. After all, since you've already invested heavily in this market, it only makes sense to provide products within the hotel that are targeted as well. Read on...

Jeff Guaracino

Considering the state of travel industry and changing travel patterns, is not a surprise to anyone that 2008 is optimistically predicted to be relatively flat. In some markets hotel general managers say they are being asked by corporate headquarters to lower their already budgeted occupancy levels. As the economy dips, hotels and others within the hospitality industry are again turning their attention to what may be this year's shining star, the gay and lesbian traveler. They are loyal, resilient and as a group, they have more discretionary income when compared to other groups, almost $800 billion. More, historically, they continue to travel even in tough economic times, even after 9/11. Read on...

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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.