Once LGBTQIA members book with you, you have the opportunity to create a great experience that will keep them coming back again and again. Keep in mind that one out of every three LGBTQIA travelers fear judgement by hotel staff, but you have the power to change that. How? By making LGBTQIA guests feel welcome when they arrive onsite.
Use visual displays to promote the inclusive policies and practices that your business embodies
- Approve the wearing of rainbow lapel pins and personal pronouns on name tags as part of your standard uniform.
- Include a small (or large!) rainbow flag in the lobby or on the check-in desk to let guests know at first glance they’re valued and safe.
- Hire and retain a diverse set of employees that represent the diverse set of travelers staying at your property. This includes gender diversity, sexual orientation, race, religion, age, ability, language, and more.
Build protocols and training for welcoming same sex couples, and transgender and nonbinary travelers
- Make the same assumptions of a same sex couple checking in as you would any other group of travelers. For example, assume there’s only one reservation for both guests, and that one bed is preferred.
- Create an LGBTQIA guide of the city (your local tourism office might already have one) to help travelers find all the places they’ll feel welcome. Include the phone number and office address of the Tourism Police or trusted law enforcement should any problems arise.
Travelers who are transgender (have transitioned from being a man to a woman or a woman to a man) or nonbinary (neither exclusively masculine nor feminine) face unparalleled levels of discrimination, harassment, and violence. It’s sad to report that 41% of transgender respondents in a state survey have attempted suicide. One way to help combat these woes is to treat every person with dignity.
- Don’t assume a guest’s gender unless it’s explicitly clear or they’ve told you. Instead, use generic phrases: “Good evening” versus “Good evening, Mr. Smith.”
- If a traveler tells you their pronouns (if they'd like to be referred to as she, him, or they), this can be entered into your PMS or record keeping. Staff should be quietly made aware of the guest’s notes and respectfully corrected if the wrong pronouns are used when referring to the guest. Include this in employee training.
- Provide a gender-neutral restroom in the lobby and in any onsite facilities like a restaurant, gym, or spa. Both single- and multi-occupancy restrooms can be updated to be gender neutral. Restrooms are difficult for transgender and gender nonconforming people who might be perceived by others to be in the “wrong” facility. In an American survey, 70% of transgender respondents had been verbally or physically assaulted in a public restroom.