Some of the world’s leading experts on LGBT tourism take to the stage to present the latest industry developments for the LGBT Masterclass at WTM London, hosted for the 14th consecutive year by the leading travel trade LGBT network, ONBC Out Now Business Class.

 Executives representing key sectors including destinations, cruises, media and marketing are all participating in a high-level education workshop entitled ‘LGBT Travel – Inside and Out: The ONBC Masterclass’.

 Industry leaders will cover key LGBT tourism essentials as well as shining a light on the latest trends that are driving a continuing global growth in LGBT travel business. LGBT2030 research reveals the market is now valued at more thanUSD$211 billion in spending annually.

Presenters include:  Jo Rzymowska, Vice President & Managing Director, UK and Ireland & Asia, Celebrity Cruises; Richard Gray, Vice President, Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau; Sophie Griffiths, Editor, TTG; and, Kellie Maloney (pre-recorded video interview) — renowned boxing promoter, television personality and leading transgender spokesperson. 

Chief Executive Officer of Out Now, Ian Johnson, said he is delighted to be moderating such a high-powered panel of industry experts.

“This is the fourteenth year Out Now has presented the ONBC Masterclass for WTM London,” Johnson said. “What has always been key to our success is presenting the most up-to-date core essentials to show how the travel industry can succeed through better understanding and meeting the needs of LGBT travellers. Having worked in LGBT business development for 26 years, what drives Out Now forwards is always focusing on ‘what’s next’ — and that’s what I’m most excited about with this year’s ONBC Masterclass at WTM.”

The 2017 Masterclass looks at a range of issues that each play a part in determining success in the LGBT travel market. A specific focus this year is the importance of ensuring LGBT staff working in a business are well-respected and supported, along with an understanding of the significance of LGBT Allies at work. Out Now will be launching a new global platform called How.LGBT that allows people to learn more about how LGBT supportive workplaces actually are.

“Our research shows that one of the key drivers affecting which travel products LGBT people choose to buy is whether they think LGBT people are genuinely supported by that business or destination,” Johnson said. “You can’t fake sincerity and we will show how an overuse of the concept of ‘authenticity’ is starting to cause businesses to fail to achieve their full potential in attracting LGBT people as customers. The new How.LGBT platform cuts right through that by delivering a range of information resources that empower each individual to make better choices. We are including a specific travel industry section within the platform that allows people to know before they buy which suppliers are doing the best job at supporting their own LGBT employees.”

Other issues to be covered include: how the travel industry still has much to learn about more effectively understanding the needs of trans travellers, what the most effective marketing tactics are to work best in reaching the LGBT consumer market in 2018, the continuing importance of well-trained staff as well as the latest travel research findings from the LGBT2030 global research study.

 LGBT travel is also featuring at WTM with the return of the LGBT Village on the exhibitor floor at the show. This dedicated exhibition space allows exhibitors to connect with key decision-makers working in the tourism industry. Confirmed exhibitor,Gay Times, explained that exhibiting at the LGBT Village makes business sense.

“We are thrilled to be exhibiting at the LGBT Village at this year’s WTM 2017 in London,” said Christopher Kenna, Commercial Director, Gay Times. “Gay Times is the longest-running magazine for gay, bisexual and trans men in the world and we reach over 4 millions users across our digital portfolio per month. We’re excited to share our work with the WTM community.”

WTM London, Conference and Seminar Manger, Charlotte Alderslade, said: “The LGBT travel and tourism industry is growing in importance every year and on the ONBC Masterclass at WTM London is always at the forefront of the trends within the sector.”

 LGBT Travel – Inside and Out: The ONBC Masterclass, presented by Out Now Business Class takes place at WTM London, Tuesday 7th Nov 2017, 13:30 – 14:30; South Gallery Rooms 7 & 8; ExCel Centre, London.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.