Ian Johnson, Out Now ConsultingAfter a long flight you’re at hotel reception in a particularly nice property, but there’s an all too familiar tension.

You are gay, and you and your partner know from experience what happens next is a bit of a lottery.

How will they react when you tell them the booking is actually supposed to be for a double room?

All through a holiday, moments of tension arise for gay travellers – never knowing how comfortable the next staff member will be about the customer’s sexuality.

Gay couples travelling together have to reveal their sexuality repeatedly to staff, never knowing what the response to this might be.

Their sexuality can be relevant when renting a car, checking-in to a hotel and getting room service delivered. Even dining together in the restaurant, or having a drink at the bar can be awkward.

Staff often pick up on customers’ sexuality, and react, either consciously or unconsciously. If the customer thinks the staff member is not comfortable, the customer doesn’t feel comfortable.

GayComfort

In response, Out Now has developed an e-learning program called GayComfort.

It is designed to provide practical guidance to hotel, agency and operator staff on the travel concerns of gay and lesbian customers.

Gay customers want what everyone wants – a relaxed and comfortable holiday travel experience.

Gay guests enjoy a far more positive opinion of the travel experience as a result – and are more likely to refer others to choose that property or brand for future travel needs. Making any customer more satisfied is not just a nice goal – it is good business.

How to register

To register for the Gay Comfort program agents should e-mail info@outnowconsulting.com.

It includes:

Why does this matter: training on gay issues is not about politics. It is about improving customer service delivery and improving profit

What can I do: practical ways staff can improve the quality of the travel experience for gay travellers

Dos and don’ts: teaches staff not to assume anything. Practical help to deliver a professional service in a comfortable and respectful manner

Language: what to say, not to say

Stereotypes: how to avoid letting them influence service delivery

Quiz: results e-mailed to management, along with Out Now’s recommendations on each individual staff member’s learning