Travel Market Report has partnered with diversity consultancy Out Now to launch a first-of-its-kind LGBT training and certification program for travel agents.
Learn.LGBT is designed to train and certify travel agents in North America on the concerns and issues that face lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender travelers. The module takes about 20 minutes to complete, followed by a review quiz. The course covers how the LGBT market differs from other markers; what key concerns LGBT customers have and how to address them; practical “do’s” and “don’ts;” which language and phrases to use and which to avoid; and a consideration of stereotypes. Upon completion, agents will be certified by Out Now and included in the 2017 launch of certified travel agents on the new travel agent section of its consumer-facing site.
Travel Market Report executive vice president Anne Marie Moebes said the program is designed to assist travel professionals “who are seeking proper training so they can serve and earn the trust of LGBT consumers when booking their vacation and travel plans.”
At WTM, Johnson noted that the LGBT segment is a huge and growing global market, spending $200 billion a year, with an annual growth rate of 2% in each of the past three years, according to Out Now's LGBT2030 study of more than 130,000 participants. In the United States alone, LGBT consumer spending will reach $61 billion in 2016.
“The new 2016 valuations of this market show that targeting LGBT customers is not only the right thing to do—it is also smart business,” said Out Now CEO Ian Johnson, who announced the program Tuesday at the LGBT Masterclass education workshop at World Travel Market in London. Out Now also trains and certifies hotels and destinations that cater to LGBT customers.