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Gay and Lesbian Travelers Set to Enjoy Better Customer Service


The gay travel and tourism market is keenly targeted in 2008. But many gay and lesbian travelers worry that they may experience customer service levels that can be tainted by discomfort -- or outright homophobia -- when traveling. A new online training program has been launched to address these issues.

New York, NY, January 11, 2008 --(PR.com)-- New Online Training Program Teaches Travel Industry How to Better Serve Gay Customers.

One of the most keenly sought-after travel segments is the gay and lesbian travel market. Worth billions annually, in 2008 more hotels, tour operators, travel agents and destinations than ever now actively target gay travelers.

But gay travelers say they often leave less than impressed -- as a result of experiencing poor customer service while on vacation.

Research shows that there can be a big difference between the advertising used to lure gay travelers to a particular property and the customer service they actually experience on vacation. Staff not familiar with the gay and lesbian community can feel unsure about what to say, or how to act, when serving gay customers -- leaving both customer and staff member feeling worse off as a result.

A new training and accreditation system -- GayComfort™ -- launching this week delivers an innovative and effective means to address these gay travel issues.

Delivered online, and developed by one of the world's leading gay marketing specialists -- Out Now -- GayComfort™ redraws the customer service delivery landscape in the gay and lesbian travel market.

GayComfort™ delivers a comprehensive online learning program covering a range of areas including: how gay customers differ from other customers, how they are the same, what concerns them when dealing with travel industry staff, what language to use and what words or phrases to avoid.

According to CEO of Out Now, Ian Johnson, the product meets a need on both the consumer and supplier sides.

Johnson said that sometimes staff can be homophobic, but more often than not it can be a lack of practical experience in understanding gay travel concerns that leads to a bad customer service outcome.

"Many working in customer service in the travel industry, both young and old, are not that familiar with the gay and lesbian community. They wonder what phrase to use when referring to a same gender partner, or how to respond when told by a customer they are gay. Even how to deal with a double room booking at check-in can cause them concern. GayComfort™ gives staff the insight they need to deliver customer service in a way that makes the consumer feel respected, welcomed, comfortable and relaxed. All of which makes for increasing levels of repeat and referral business from the gay travel market."

"Gay travelers have for years been telling us stories of bad customer service ruining their vacations," said Johnson. "From mild discomfort to outright homophobia, the stories differ, but one thing is constant. The result has been that many gay people experience stress at various stages of a vacation - from making a booking to hotel check-in to ordering room service. They are unsure how each individual staff member might react to them being gay. When you think that the whole point of a vacation is to relax and feel comfortable, that situation is far from ideal."

The training includes myths and stereotypes, practical advice, key do's and don'ts as well as a quiz to test each student's learning of the material covered.

GayComfort™ has been welcomed by the global travel industry.

The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) has partnered with Out Now to bring GayComfort™ training to its members.

Tom Nibbio, Global Ambassador of IGLTA, responsible for the association's worldwide membership and sponsorship growth, said the new GayComfort™ training program meets a strong market need.

“With literally billions in gay tourism dollars, euro and pounds up for grabs each year, it seems likely this product should find an industry ready and willing to learn how to improve the ways it delivers customer service to the gay travel segment,” Nibbio said.

More information on the program can be found at OutNowConsulting.com and GayComfort.com. Online tutorials about GayComfort™ can be viewed at http://www.YouTube.com/GayComfort .

Ian Johnson, CEO of Out Now presented the 'Gay Travel Marketing Masterclass' at London World Travel Market WTM, and is delivering an educational presentation on the importance of effective staff training at the 25th annual IGLTA convention being held in Las Vegas in May 2008.

About Out Now:

Out Now works globally and was established in 1992. They are a gay market agency developing specialized strategic programs and services to help businesses more effectively understand and reach the gay and lesbian market. One of their core philosophies is stressing that gay and lesbian people are extremely diverse and should be marketed to as such, not in a homogenous way. More information is at www.OutNowconsulting.com.

Further Information Contact:

Ian Johnson, CEO, Out Now, Tel: +1 (646) 808-0740 or +44-(0)20-8123 5288, info@outnowconsulting.com http://www.OutNowconsulting.com & http://www.GayComfort.com

Tom Nibbio, IGLTA Global Ambassador, Tel: +1 (815) 621-6464, Tom@IGLTA.org http://www.iglta.org

GayComfort™ is a trademark of Out Now.

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Contact Information
Out Now
Ian Johnson
+1-646-808 0740
Contact
http://www.OutNowConsulting.com
Out Now UK: +44-(0)20-8123 5288
Out Now BE: +32-(0)2-514 6443
Out Now AU: +61-(0)2-8003 5253
Ian Johnson: +32-(0)4737 60886

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