This article was published on January 5th, 2023
As we move into 2023 and more places open for travel, more people are making plans. Travel can be a rewarding experience for many. However, for members of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s not always so rewarding. In fact, depending on several factors, it can be dangerous. Discrimination is still something that too many in the community continue to face, and the unfortunate truth is that the hospitality industry is just as guilty of this.
People are quick to make assumptions about others. Whether it is malicious or not, it does not take away the sting for those who are affected. It’s not enough to simply smile at your guests. There needs to be a sense of safety. Too many assumptions are made during the check-in process, and this can make guests feel uncomfortable or even unsafe. Safety and security are a top priority, and even more so when they revolve around where one sleeps. There is no rest in uncomfortable, unsafe situations.
In 2021, Booking.com reported that 50% of LGBTQ+ travelers encountered various forms of discrimination during their trips. But there’s more to it:
- When one in every five (20% of LGBTQ+ guests) checked into their room as a couple, hotel employees assumed they needed two separate rooms or beds.
- In order to avoid being judged by the hotel staff, 20% altered their behavior, and 16% altered the way they looked and presented themselves.
- 17% have avoided asking for any LGBTQ+ welcoming advice or tips because they felt awkward or uncomfortable.
- In advance correspondence with 13% of guests and during check-in with 12% of guests, hotel staff or owners would make inaccurate assumptions about the guest’s pronouns or gender.
There are several things queer people consider when traveling. It’s not just the hotel, but the overall location. There are some towns and cities that are more open and welcoming than others. It’s sad, but it is a truth that many are faced with every day. Because of this, there are several things that LGBTQ+ travelers should look for when booking their trip:
- Hotels with a front door lobby that is secure and locked at night.
- Key-only access elevators.
- Front desk clerks are on duty 24/7.
- A well-lit parking lot.
- Staff that receives diversity and inclusion training.
- LGBTQ+-approved travel and accommodation accreditation status.
- Visibly LGBTQ+ staff.
- Proximity to LGBTQ+ establishments and venues.
- Recommendations from other LGBTQ+ travelers and friends when looking for places to stay.
Things need to change, and it’s important that the hospitality industry is accountable for how they treat guests. It’s simple enough to confirm that the guests are booked for a single king, and when that’s confirmed, check them in for the night. Travel should be fun and rewarding. It’s time to explore new places, see new landscapes and scenes, and try new things. That whole experience is marred when the place of rest treats its guests with discrimination and ignorance.
If you plan on traveling, keep these tips in mind when booking your hotel. Continue to read and trust travel recommendations from HomoCulture for places to stay and visit, and places to avoid. Your health, safety, and well-being is important, and we all need to look out for each other.