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I was recently privileged to be a speaker at two gay-focused travel conferences: the Travel Gay Canada conference in Victoria, British Columbia, and the Community Marketing conference in San Francisco, California. Both organizations bring together a variety of people who want to improve their tourism organization’s ability to connect with and serve the gay traveler.
Here are some things I learned:
- Like most everyone, gays traveled less during the recession, but we’re back on the go as leisure travelers. Gay business travel continues to be slower than before the recession. More at Community Marketing & Insights.
- According to a straw poll of her employees at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Kate Kendall, the organization’s director, says their biggest complaint remains the clerk questioning of “one bed or two” on check in at hotels. Do you agree?
- Kimpton Hotels CEO Niki Leondakis makes sure her company’s employees are free to be their genuine selves at work–and anyone who’s not OK with that has no business working for them. She spoke of the hierarchy of who a person is at the Kimpton organization—#1 a unique individual, #2 part of a family, and #3 an employee. My husband and I stayed a three nights at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, a Kimpton property in San Francisco, and truly experienced this remarkable corporate culture in action. Every employee was engaging and genuine, and seemed truly happy at work.
- While the media world is changing, there remains a place for both print publications and digital publications. I’m curious what you think on this topic. Comment below!
At MeetMeOnBoard, we’re celebrating “National Cruise Month” with Seven Tips for gay cruise passengers. Since this is tip #7, take a look back at the previous 6 tips. What do you think? Add comments!
Make it personal: Decorate your door, get t-shirts. An easy way to make friends on any type of cruise is by announcing something about
yourself. Decorating your stateroom door is a great trick—get creative: bring photos, signs, or anything you can easily pack and assemble. You’ll also make fast-friends through messages on t-shirts. If you’re a bear lover, let people know! The straights won’t have a clue, but the bears will.
October was “National Cruise Vacation” month in the U.S. That most likely means your travel agent was trying to up his quota and pushing email “deals” your way. We say: GO FOR IT! And don’t forget to add your cruise(s) to your profile to increase the chances of connecting with other MeetMeOnBoard.com members.
Following in the United States footsteps, China today announced it is immediately lifting a ban against HIV-positive travelers put in place 24 years ago.
This move will undoubtedly have an impact on many gay travelers who have wanted to visit China by cruise ship, but have been unable to do so.
Read the story from today’s New York Times here
Tom Baker, owner of Aquafest Cruises (an agency that organizes gay groups on mainstream ships, among other things), was super lucky–he got to check out the brand new Celebritiy Solstice on a recent agent preview cruise.
Tom’s a shutterbug, and has a couple hundred photos posted at SmugMug, including the shot at right. Check them out.
As for Celebrity…I’m happy to say I’ll be sailing on them for the first time next week, with a small gay group. Should be a blast. Stay tuned for updates!
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