Kuoni should recruit more in-store experts who give advice to customers wanting to go destinations which have strict laws against the LGBT community.

Head of retail Matthew Dobbs told an LGBT roundtable event in London how staff at the luxury operator would not book a destination if they felt that it was not fit for the customer.

Currently, Kuoni has 10 fully-trained LGBT experts working nationwide, in stores from Harrogate to Milton Keynes to Brighton. Each one has extensive experience in selling holidays to LGBT customers.

The internal recruitment process started towards the end of 2016, but continued until early 2017, Dobbs said.

“We are quite up front with our clients about the challenges that they may face,” he said. “We will say to the customer that we do not think that the destination is right for them.”

Dobbs told Travel Weekly he hoped more staff would become in-store LGBT experts.

He said: “LGBT weddings for Kuoni have increased by 18% year on year, so we would always welcome more experts providing they are passionate and they can add value to the customer journey.

“If we send customers to a destination that is not right for them then they will not come back to us.”

Dobbs was asked how Kuoni’s LGBT experts decide whether to make a booking, if a customer wants to go to a country, such as the Maldives or Barbados, where it is illegal to be gay.

He said: “We ask lots of compelling questions at the enquiry stage. We know the customer inside out by the time we get to the booking stage which allows us to help them make the right decision.”

Dobbs also praised Kuoni’s UK managing director Derek Jones for being “incredibly supportive” of LGBT rights.

Office screens at Touristik House, Kuoin’s HQ in Dorking, Surrey, display customers’ comments, Dobbs said.

“Every single comment that comes into the office goes on to that screen,” he added. “We take complaints very seriously.”

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