Close Icon
Allowed Formats: (123) 456-7890

Supporting LGBTQ+ Travelers as Advisors

How to Promote Inclusive Travel with Executive Travel Coordinator Jim Journigan

It’s no secret travel has the power to expand your horizons and open your mind to new people and cultures. Here at Brownell, we believe travel is a transformative experience, and for LGBTQ+ travelers, it holds the special power to foster self-discovery and connection as well as a chance to experience some of the world’s greatest destinations. Yet, have you ever wondered how to better serve LGBTQ+ travelers and understand the unique needs and desires of this vibrant community? Jim Journigan, Executive Travel Coordinator under Brownell advisor Martha Rhodes, recently returned from the PROUD Experiences conference in Los Angeles. Inspired by the event’s focus on inclusivity, Jim gave us his biggest takeaways on how travel advisors can champion inclusive travel and create unforgettable journeys for LGBTQ+ clients.

Understanding Your Clients

Understanding Your Clients

Understanding LGBTQ+ travelers go beyond simple itinerary planning; it’s about creating journeys that foster a sense of belonging and safety. LGBTQ+ travelers with wanderlust often have nuanced needs.  They crave experiences where they can be themselves without fear of judgment, microaggressions, or discrimination, so knowing which destinations and countries to recommend is vital. This is also why LGBTQ+ travelers often meticulously research companies before booking, gravitating towards those with proven LGBTQ+ inclusivity, like Marriott or Hyatt (two of our preferred partner hoteliers!) This isn’t just a preference — it’s a reflection of their buying power too. Generally speaking, LGBTQ+ travelers tend to have higher disposable incomes and are statistically more likely to splurge on premium experiences, making them the ideal luxury clients. By demonstrating cultural competency and genuine care for LGBTQ+ inclusion, travel advisors can unlock a loyal and lucrative market segment while also creating an unforgettable experience for their clients.

Train Your Staff

One of Jim’s biggest takeaways from PROUD on engaging with LGBTQ+ clients begins internally. Building an inclusive travel business starts with your team and it’s important to train staff focused on awareness and inclusivity. These trainings can range from something as simple as using inclusive, gender-neutral language on intake forms to delving into cultural sensitivities in different destinations. Equipping your team with knowledge about LGBTQ+-owned businesses, tours designed for the community, and hidden gems in welcoming locations empowers your team to curate unforgettable experiences. By fostering a culture of inclusivity through training, you’re not just building a stronger agency, you’re sparking connections and inspiring journeys that celebrate love and self-discovery.

Overcoming Misconceptions

Overcoming Misconceptions

Jim’s next big takeaway tackles head-on the misconceptions some might hold about LGBTQ+ travelers and the importance of overcoming those stereotypes to curate an unforgettable itinerary for your clients. LGBTQ+ travelers are just as diverse as any other clientele and have different passions and interests. While it is important to remain aware and sensitive to your clients, travel advisors can get creative and curate fun getaways the same as always – like white-water rafting for the adventurous, or history tours offering unique cultural insights for the history buff. As for VIP experiences and accommodations, LGBTQ+ travelers simply desire the same level of respect and comfort as any client. Focus on clear communication – discuss their desired service level and any potential concerns they might have about a destination’s inclusivity. Establishing trust and understanding their priorities allows you to become their trusted partner and gives them peace of mind knowing their trip is in good hands.

Opportunities for Growth

Engaging with LGBTQ+ travelers as an advisor goes beyond the planning – it opens up opportunities for growth through continuous feedback from your clients after their trip. A post-trip follow-up is always a good way to gauge what your clients loved versus what they didn’t for any trip, and the same is true for LGBTQ+ travelers. This feedback loop is invaluable! Perhaps a client mentions feeling uncomfortable navigating security checks at an airport due to concerns about their gender identity. This valuable insight allows you to research and compile resources for LGBTQ+ travelers on navigating airport security checkpoints with confidence. Or you hear a client loved their cooking class specifically designed for LGBTQ+ families in Mexico, providing you details you can leverage to recommend similar experiences for future trips. Jim knows how important conveying this feedback is from his own personal experiences traveling around the world with his husband and believes it’s crucial for LGBTQ+ clients not only to feel welcome but valued and empowered to explore the world with confidence.

Travel is about connection, discovery, and celebration. When you prioritize LGBTQ+ inclusivity, you’re not just creating unforgettable journeys, you’re opening doors to a world of possibility and empowering your clients to explore the world authentically. By using these takeaways, we hope you’re better equipped to provide support and learning, curate exceptional travel experiences, and become a trusted partner in your LGBTQ+ clients’ journeys.