Gay Marketing: Product Offerings
By Darrell Schuurman Co-Founder, Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce | October 28, 2008
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.
Kimpton Hotels understands this. The following quote is from their dedicated gay and lesbian section of their website:
"We pride ourselves on delivering extraordinary care and comfort to every guest. For the GLBT business traveler or couple it is a pleasure to simply extend the personalized services we offer to all guests, but we do make it a point to make sensitive modifications so that we can meet the expectations of our GLBT guests too." (http://www.kimptonhotels.com/glbt_community.aspx)
So what are some of the ways that you can introduce gay and lesbian specific products and services into your hotel? One of the easiest, and perhaps the most important, is basic access to gay and lesbian information. You should be able to readily provide guests with information on the local gay and lesbian community. Have a supply of the local gay press. Have a listing of current events happening that week in your city. Have a detailed business directory so that you can provide accurate information on gay and lesbian bars, clubs, restaurants, and shops. You don't need to have this sitting on the front desk for them to grab when they check-in or in every hotel room, but the concierge and front desk agents should have this information and these resources on hand so they can quickly and accurately provide the best service to the guest.
Another basic product that you can offer to your gay and lesbian guest is targeted programming on the in-room televisions. One of first things I almost always do when I get to the room is to turn on the television and start flipping through the channels. This is my form of relaxation, and something I so seldom get to do when I'm at home. But lately I've been paying more attention to what channels I get the luxury of flipping through while curled up in bed. There are now four national gay television networks offered throughout North America, and I have yet to stay in a hotel that has offered any of theses networks. Sure, most of these stations are only a few years old, but the proliferation of hotels starting to target the gay and lesbian traveller is also fairly new. A hotel that has entered this market could easily add these channels to their line-up, and help to ensure that the guest feels right at home.