With London Pride around the corner we’ve been thinking about the acceptance of diversity and how some locations are much more advanced in their progress than others.
The world is becoming a smaller place, allowing more access than ever before to foreign destinations, creating less availability for those looking for that unique adventure. A recent example of this being the traumatising experience exploring visitors endured as they waited in line to reach the peak of Mount Everest. With us exploring more of the world, we are coming into contact with destinations that are yet to accept diversity, some of which are seen as those “bucket list” options that people are desperate to explore.
Look at the Maldives, one of the most sort-after destinations in the world, would you realise that same-sex marriage is illegal there unless it affected you directly? Or Brunei where gay sex is now punishable by death, stirring a reaction from the industry where all hotels (the Dorchester Collection) owned by the Sultan of Brunei have been boycotted.
We have an example that showcases this struggle which is very close to our hearts; one of our colleagues shared the fantastic news that she is getting married (congrats again!) and from this the couple were looking for the most fantastic place to honeymoon. Like most in the same exciting stage, they were dreaming of secluded, beautiful properties. On closer inspection, it came to light that same-sex relationships were either not fondly looked upon, or completely illegal in some of the countries that offered the experience that this amazing couple were after.
These destinations are limiting themselves, both diversely but speaking in more of a “currency” that they may understand; they’re limiting themselves financially. Money of course should not be a reason for these countries to open their minds but some of the destinations considered to have the most “business focussed” outlooks, where money is considered one of their top priorities, are potentially limiting their tourism revenue by millions. Take the US for example, with approximately 4.5% of their population identifying as LGBTQ+, that’s a potential 14.724 million people that destinations are immediately cutting themselves off to. Think if all of those people chose to spend £1,000 in their country? The mind boggles with the numbers!
This led us to ask the question about other factors that might affect your travel experience. With wellness becoming such an important element of life, ensuring that dietary requirements are catered for is among the top priorities now. Although most countries are able to and confident with dealing with requests, there are still struggles with specific needs within some cultures. Another big hurdle can be access and ensuring that attendees within your group are not discriminated against if they are less able to reach locations as well as others. Having an individual feel left-out can cause both them and the group to feel uncomfortable, which is the last thing you want.
What does this mean for Incentive Travel? These trips are all about the experience of course and ensuring that lucky attendees feel as special as possible, meaning making sure that all demographics are comfortable in the chosen location and with the chosen activities is key. Here’s our advice to ensure you’re putting on a trip that everyone can enjoy and feel just as amazing as the next person:
Know your demographic
When collecting details from your attendees, ensure that you gather as much information as possible from them about their needs and wants. This is the only way to guarantee that you’re hitting the mark with all of them (you’re not a mind reader, even if they think you are!).
Communication is also key to ensure that attendees feel at their very best and knowing the way to interact with individuals is crucial to ensure that the message that you want to deliver is the one that is received. If there is an issue that relates to one of their needs, let them know what it is along with the solution you can provide.
Cover your bases
It might be that you have a group where by chance no one is vegetarian, they’ve filled in the registration for the event and have clearly left the dietary requirements section blank. However, when they arrive onsite, they inform you that they had missed the section relating to dietaries and are now very stressed as they are in fact in need of a vegetarian diet. Make sure you have your caterers geared up ready to go, so your attendee can feel even more looked after when you inform them there’s no issue and their need has already been taken care of.
Attendees may not want to disclose all of their needs, so it’s very important to give them all of the information that might be an issue for them, for example, make them fully aware of all laws around sexual orientation before they even leave for the trip, if there is then any issue it can be ironed out before you start.
Do your research
If you are unsure of your demographic, it may be worth picking a destination that is a little “safer” to ensure that all needs will be covered. Safe does not need to be boring before you start to think that – there are so many countries to choose from that are geared up for and excited to welcome all walks of life!
Pick somewhere that can cover all your bases, so that there’s one less worry onsite for both you, your client, your attendee, whoever it might be!
Have great relationships with suppliers
You can be as prepared as possible but every now and again something will come up that challenges the plan, especially when it comes to attendee needs. When all your other plans cannot help a situation, having amazing relationships with your suppliers is key to ensure you can lean on them for support meaning whatever the problem may be, it’s solved efficiently.
Although it is the nature of events that a “curve ball” will come out of the blue to challenge you, following these steps should help with negating this as much as possible!
If you need some support with Incentive Travel, or are interested in receiving some more information about the best destinations to go to that accept diversity get in touch with the team Hello@sledge.co.uk
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