MRBTA in partnership with Husbands That Travel and Gay and Lesbian Tourism Australia (GALTA) held our first Welcoming Travel Workshop for members in June. The aims of the workshops were to raise awareness of the issues and anxieties LGBTQ+ travellers face and learn practical actions to become LGBTQ+ welcoming and inclusive.
The Margaret River Region is the first regional town to take part in the workshop series that GALTA and Husbands That Travel hope to deliver across Australia. The overall mission is to increase LGBTQ+ representation across Australia’s travel landscape as well as connecting LGBTQ+ travellers to inclusive experiences.
In a recent study of over 500 LGBTQ+ travellers, Husbands That Travel found that WA is perceived as less friendly than all east coast states, rating only slightly more welcoming than NT. The survey revealed that this is not necessarily that WA is seen as unfriendly but that LGBTQ+ travellers don’t know whether it is friendly or not. Highlighting the opportunity to take actionable steps to change these perceptions.
Husbands That Travel approached MRBTA after travelling across Australia for the last year and realising the lack of representation in travel media. MRBTA was enthusiastic about increasing inclusive content across our consumer channels but wanted to be sure that the end experience would deliver on a truly inclusive and welcoming experience for visitors.
The workshops were delivered live online to 12 participants and will be available to all members and their staff for one year. All participants are provided with a ‘Welcoming Travel Action Plan’ with 14 practical actions members can implement across both marketing and their product experience.
Alongside this, MRBTA in partnership with Husbands That Travel have developed criteria to be included in our Welcoming Travel landing page on Margaretriver.com which includes having all staff complete the workshop. The criteria will help LGBTQ+ travellers choose experiences and accommodations that have made genuine steps toward inclusion within their business and we expect these criteria to develop over time.
- Staff trained in LGBTQ+ needs and experience. This can include completion of the MRBTA Welcoming Travel workshop. To register for the workshop material please email [email protected]
- Membership with Welcome Here Project / GALTA and/or other relevant certifications
- LGBTQ+ welcoming imagery on website and / or social media
- LGBTQ+ inclusive messaging on website – ie dedicated landing page or words of support / inclusivity to LGBTQ+ community
- LGBTQ+ inclusive messaging on social media – ie post of their support to LGBTQ+ community / inclusivity of their accommodation/experience
Please get in touch with Membership if you have any questions or feedback on the criteria.
“We know that for most of our local businesses it is within their generous nature to want to provide welcoming experiences for all, the workshops provided really valuable insights into the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ travellers and how important it is to ensure an inclusive attitude is genuine and consistent across all customer touchpoints,” said MRBTA CEO, Sharna Kearney.
“The workshops really highlighted not only the ‘why’ but the ‘how’ to provide a welcoming travel experience. I feel very confident that our business can really take our experience to the next level with this information” said Sara Greay, Owner/Manager of Bina Maya Yallingup Escape.
MRBTA will continue to invest in paid content partnerships with diversity and inclusion at the forefront. Our paid content partnership with Husbands That Travel which included a photoshoot, social media posts and a 7 day welcoming travel itinerary has been really successful. The itinerary is fast becoming one of the most popular on margaretriver.com and majority of that traffic attributed to organic search and over 66% of that traffic is interstate and international visitors – proving the demand among the LGBTQ+ travel market is there.
This project has received funding from the Australian Government under the Recovery for Regional Tourism program, an initiative of the $1 billion COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund.