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International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association Convenes in Las Vegas

June 4, 2008 By: Mark Rogers

The travel industry's leading brands attended the annual convention of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) in Las Vegas last month. These industry leaders learned of the imperative to better train travel industry staff how to understand the key travel concerns of gay and lesbian consumers, especially if they want to maximize their returns from targeting the gay market consumer segment.

Ian Johnson, CEO of Out Now explained to IGLTA delegates that gay travelers often experience travel differently from other consumers.

"Gays and lesbians want what everyone wants on vacation - to relax and feel comfortable," said Johnson. "But gay and lesbian travelers are often unsure about how individual staff members will treat them during their vacation. It can take only one staff member to appear uncomfortable around a gay person for the vacation to be diminished for that guest."

Johnson added that with gay travel now worth hundreds of billions in spending each year globally, staff training is a critical market success factor for the hotels, travel agents and tour operators now actively trying to target the gay travel market.

Out Now presented a detailed workshop at the IGLTA convention on its online training, accreditation and marketing system called GayComfort.

This program addresses the concerns of gay travelers and the need for staff to better understand those concerns, to build improved gay travel vacation experiences, and to increase gay travel market profits as a result.

Examples presented by Out Now included how staff best handle bookings for double beds by same-sex couples, how to react when a customer reveals they are gay, and how to avoid stereotypes when serving gay consumers.

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