Belmond, the luxury hotel group with a portfolio of 42 properties including Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town and Hotel Cipriani in Venice, as well as operating the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and Belmond Royal Scotsman trains, made history in 2015 by appointing a Director LGBT Sales, which is believed to be a first for the travel industry.
The appointee, Tom Alderink, Director LGBT Sales, Belmond (pictured above), was present at the LGBT Pavilion during ITB Berlin 2017. “This is part of Belmond DNA and I hope we sent a great message towards the industry and LGBT travellers. I have been working for 11 years with the chain and was always in touch with a large number of LGBT travellers,” Alderink said.
Recognising the tremendous potential and opportunities for Belmond, the chain has looked very seriously at the LGBT market, including the establishment of a microsite dedicated to the sector’s needs. “We are very happy to be part of IGLTA (International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association) as a global partner. We focus specifically on requests and wishes of our LGBT guests and work with specialists such as David Travel or Zoom Vacation in the United States. We then look at all the small er details to make our guests feel at home in our properties – for example two large bath robes if they are a male couple or two female toiletry kits for two women,” Alderink added. LGBT travellers are increasingly perceived as valuable tourists thanks to generally high spending power and interest for many products such as culture, culinary and expeditions to historical sites.
Among the favourite destinations, Alderink cited Myanmar and Cambodia in Asia, plus Mexico as a popular location for weddings, particularly the Maya Riviera. “LGBT people these days are more daring when choosing their destination and want to visit more destinations around the world. And the world is getting more aware of this niche market,” said Alderink.
LGBT PEOPLE THESE DAYS ARE MORE DARING WHEN CHOOSING THEIR DESTINATION, AND THE WORLD IS GETTING MORE AWARE OF THIS NICHE MARKET