The Most Annoying Things Hotels Do to Gay Travelers

If you run a hotel or work at one, these tips are for you.

The Most Annoying Things Hotels Do to Gay Travelers

For LGBTQ travelers, the hotel check-in desk can be the site of eye-rolling offenses.

Photo by Laughingsquid/flickr

Being gay, you get used to dealing with annoying inconveniences in your everyday life—So, who’s the woman in the relationship? Are you two brothers? Have you ever read this awesome scripture called Leviticus 18:22? While the world is getting better, there’s still a lot of progress to be made—and that’s just as true of culture as it is hotels and the experiences they provide. Here, a short list of ways hotels can wake up to LGBTQ needs.

Don’t . . .Ask if two same-sex guests want separate beds.

In a brief survey of seven LGBTQ employees at AFAR, five had been asked while traveling with partners if they would like separate beds instead of the single-bed room they’d booked. It’s the 21st century. We all know how to operate a reservation page. Just assume whatever situation two grown adults of the same sex booked is what they intended. If you really aren’t sure and would like to clarify, repeat as follows: “And we have you booked in a room with a view and a queen bed. Does that sound right?” Small gesture, big impact.

Do . . . Have LOGO on your TVs. There are about 25 ESPN spin-offs and several channels devoted to catching fish with a pole. There’s literally one gay network. Just buy the damn plan that has LOGO—and Bravo for that matter. Not all of us watch them, but it’s a rare gesture that a surprisingly low number of hotels make.

Don’t . . . Assume anything.

Recently, I arrived before check-in and my room wasn’t ready. I went to run some errands and received a call while I was out: “This message is for Mr. and Mrs. Richdale . . .” Which, uh, was actually wrong on three accounts since I was traveling alone and am a single—also gay—dude. Not to get too Oberlin here but: heterocentrism. Textbook. If you are a GM or HR employee, just train your employees to assume nothing.

Do . . . Be subtle about the fact you welcome gay travelers.You’re a hotel, not a 1990’s PFLAG parent. Particularly if you are located in a progressive city, you don’t need to go out of your way to market yourself as an accepting business. A tiny rainbow flag decal at reception is sufficient (or consider a pink triangle for my lesbian sisters out there!). Anything more begins to make me feel like I’m your token gay guest and balloons may drop from the ceiling when I arrive.

Most importantly . . . Be an authentic ally.
Hire a diverse staff. Have a presence of some kind during Pride. Go ahead and throw some gay events on occasion (just don’t pat yourself on the back too much for it). For instance, the Betsy in Miami once hosted an awesome exhibit comprised entirely of works by trans artists. Great! And rooms at the fantastic Ace Hotel in Pittsburgh include copies of Hello Mr., a popular gay indie magazine. Such a fantastically sly move.

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