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Gay Travel Market: IGLTA Two-for-One GayComfort Advantage Announced


Gay travel industry peak body IGLTA announces new partnership with leading gay travel training, accreditation and marketing program - GayComfort from Out Now. IGLTA membership delivers exclusive two-for-one benefit.

Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA (IGLTA/OUTNOW) -- The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association - IGLTA - today announced a significant partnership to enhance the success of gay and lesbian travel market development globally.

IGLTA is partnering with the leading gay travel training, accreditation and marketing program - GayComfort® - to enhance the global travel industry’s ability to deliver quality travel product to the gay and lesbian travel customer. GayComfort is a product of leading gay and lesbian specialist marketing agency, Out Now.

GayComfort trains staff online, then via an accreditation process, allows consumers to decide to stay with specific hotels as a result.

In 2006 research by the Travel Industry Association (Witeck-Combs/Harris Interactive) showed that most gay and lesbian travelers actively seek to stay where they believe they will be most welcomed. Out Now’s latest research (Out Now 2008 Millivres UK Gay Market Study) shows that in the UK, 3 out of 4 gay travelers actively seek out hotels they believe to be gay-welcoming.

GayComfort gives consumers reassurance that staff working at the hotels they stay in understand gay travel concerns and have received specific training to meet these concerns.

Out Now and IGLTA announced that from today, IGLTA members will gain significant market advantages as a result of the launch of the ’IGLTA Two-for-One GayComfort Advantage’.

“IGLTA is pleased to be partnering with Out Now to bring better lesbian and gay travel market staff training to the global travel industry, thanks to the innovative GayComfort program,” said Tom Nibbio, IGLTA Global Ambassador.

The IGLTA Two-for-One GayComfort Advantage means that after purchasing GayComfort trainings online at - IGLTA members receive two trainings for each training purchased.

“Gay and lesbian travelers consistently remark that the ’missing link’ in the gay travel experience is knowing that they can relax and be themselves when on vacation,” said Nibbio. “GayComfort solves that issue, by setting the industry standard for gay travel training.”

Nibbio went on to praise the program: “As a result of GayComfort accreditation, gay consumers know they can book and relax at every stage of their vacations. GayComfort is a great product for the travel industry wanting to tap into the multi-billion dollar global gay travel market.”

GayComfort comprises a suite of online training knowledge for staff working in the travel industry worldwide. It covers key areas of gay travel concern such as appropriate terminology, debunking stereotypes and provides practical tips on how staff can make their lesbian and gay customers feel comfortable being themselves.

According to Ian Johnson, CEO of Out Now, GayComfort meets an important market need.

“Before now, consumers could not be certain when staying in a particular property how well trained staff were about the issues that concern gay travelers,” Johnson said. “Now, when staying in a GayComfort accredited property, consumers are able to know before they go that it is okay to relax and be themselves when on vacation. It is the attitude of staff that really determines whether a consumer has a great vacation or not. That is really valuable to gay people on vacation, and it is something that most other travelers take for granted and never have to think about.”

According to Nibbio, the GayComfort program offers hotels and destinations targeting the global gay and lesbian travel market the opportunity to achieve a highly consumer-relevant marketing advantage. “Best of all is that the ultimate winner in all of this is the lesbian and gay travel consumer,” says Nibbio. “Being able to be ourselves on vacation is a major step forward for gays and lesbians in the global travel industry.”

IGLTA is the peak industry body for the lesbian and gay travel market.

Johnson added: “When I travel with my partner, we are constantly having to ’out’ ourselves to the staff working in hotels, and it makes a big difference when we stay in a GayComfort accredited property - since we know that staff there are comfortable with us being ourselves and know how to make us feel welcome.”

“It is not about treating gay people differently, it is about teaching staff the skills they need to extend the same welcome that allows all other travelers to relax and be themselves on vacation without even thinking about it,” says Johnson. “Understanding the concerns of gay travelers makes all the difference and GayComfort gives staff the knowledge they need to do this.”

In concluding, Johnson highlighted the valuable market benefits now available to the global travel and tourism industry through the GayComfort program: “Out Now believes very strongly that all members of the travel industry serious about gay and lesbian travel should do two things. They should be members of IGLTA and they should be part of GayComfort. The advantages in gay travel marketing gained go far beyond training. GayComfort membership opens up a world of improved gay marketing options. We are delighted to now be able to give IGLTA members twice the value for their GayComfort training purchases.”

On October 17 in Poznan, Poland IGLTA is hosting the first gay travel seminar in Eastern Europe. Ian Johnson of Out Now is presenting a paper to delegates at that event in Poland.

Out Now was established in 1992, and is a recognized leader in the development of gay and lesbian travel around the world. The Out Now Gay Marketing Masterclass at the London World Travel Market WTM event - the tourism industry’s premier annual trade show - is being held on November 12.

IGLTA is the world’s leading authority, resource and representative of gay and lesbian travel. Its membership is located in 55 countries around the world and consists of accommodations, airlines, tour operators, travel agents, tourism offices and other key players in the tourism industry. IGLTA works to help the tourism industry attract gay and lesbian consumers and learn more about the gay and lesbian market. Since its founding in 1983, IGLTA has expanded its international influence from just 25 members to well over 1,400.

A recent Lufthansa campaign by Out Now was awarded the prize for Outstanding Interactive advertising campaign at the ’Commercial Closet Images In Advertising Awards’ in New York, for an Out Now campaign for Lufthansa German Airlines.

Full membership of GayComfort costs just $99 per year, and for those joining before October 31, 2008 - five complimentary training credits are included with their 2009 membership.

GayComfort is a trademark of Out Now.

For further information contact:

Ian Johnson
CEO, Out Now
Phone: +1 (646) 808 0740

Tom Nibbio
Global Ambassador
Phone: +1 (815) 621-6464




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