Vaccinations rates are high, COVID-19 numbers are decreasing, public health restrictions are lifting, and recreational travel across the country will soon resume—all of this combined means travellers are eager to explore and according to some reports, the LGBT2Q+ market is one of the first that will be spending their money on travel in a post-pandemic world.
Across the globe, Pride Month is celebrated in June making now the perfect time to consider your business practices and assess if you’re ready to welcome this important and valuable travel market. LGBT2Q+ travellers are often highly educated with disposable income that they want to spend in welcoming destinations at businesses that align with their values. Below are tips and resources to help ensure your business is welcoming so you can attract a piece of the $12 billion spent by this market on travel every year:
1. Feature diversity in your marketing
Travellers want to be able to see themselves in the destinations and businesses they plan to visit. This is important for the LGBT2Q+ market, but also for all other demographics. Make an effort to showcase people from all types of demographics in your website imagery, on social media, and in any print or advertising media you create. If you’re a stakeholder of Tourism Kelowna, you can register for access to our asset library for images and video footage that can be used in your marketing.
2. Educate and train yourself and your employees
While inclusive marketing is an important step, ensuring LGBT2Q+ individuals feel welcome and safe when they are at your business is crucial. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training is offered by many organizations. Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) has created a variety of resources and tools specifically for the tourism industry that can be accessed through their website. Connecting with Kelowna Pride to get involved with local initiatives, events, or training opportunities will also help ensure you and your staff are as prepared as possible to welcome LGBT2Q+ travellers.
3. Don’t just focus on Pride Month
Posting one Pride-related post to social media in the month of June won’t cut it. LGBT2Q+ travellers do their research when planning and booking a vacation. They will review your website and social media channels. If they only see one post that welcomes them it will appear inauthentic and they will take their business elsewhere. Here are some additional things you can do:
- Make LGBT2Q+ travellers feel safe, welcome, and accepted by participating in the Rainbow Registered LGBT+ Accreditation Program, launched by CGLCC and Tourism HR Canada. In honour of Pride Month, the first 50 businesses to sign up for the program will have their first-year fee waived.
- Create evergreen content—such as unique pages, blog posts, or videos—for your website specific to this travel audience that can be viewed and shared throughout the year.
- Plan content into your social media calendar that acknowledges and speaks to this market year-round.
4. Participate in Pride events
Kelowna Pride will be celebrating in September this year to take advantage of lifted restrictions. There will be plenty of opportunities to walk in parades, sponsor an event, spread the word on your social channels about events happening, and more. Connect with Kelowna Pride now to see how you can be involved and show support to the LGBT2Q+ community right at home.
5. Show your pride. Be an ally. Support local
Adding a pride flag to your physical space and on your online channels is an easy way to signify that you’re welcoming to LGBT2Q+ visitors and residents. You can also show your pride or allyship by donning apparel or displaying stickers in support of the LGBT2Q+ community—a portion of the proceeds from You Are Collective's Pride 2021 collection (some of which are available at the Kelowna Visitor Centre and through our online store) go to support The Bridge Youth + Family Services Etcetra Youth Group while all proceeds from Okanagan Lifestyle's Equality Pride Snapback also go to the group.
Header photo captured at the 2019 Pride Festival and March.