RFPs often end up being a long and arduous process for marketing agencies to complete, but a wide range of potential clients will require them. If your agency is looking to get into the tourism space and work with a DMO, be prepared to put in the time. Whether you're RFPing for the most conservative or most liberal city, it always makes sense to partner with an LGBTQ agency when pitching tourism. In simple terms, your proposal should include recommendations for LGBTQ content and should show how LGBTQ marketing can lead to more visitors.
LGBTQ People Have a Higher Propensity to Travel Than Their Straight Counterparts
This fact may be the single best pitch for the DMO on why LGBTQ outreach is important. Experts in the field directly attribute this reality to the number of children and the disposable income in the community. Simply put, LGBTQs have fewer dependents on average, which means more travel flexibility, and more disposable income as a result. Leverage this information to show the DMOs that LGBTQ segments have lower barriers to travel.
Expert Knowledge Matters
Have the partner agency identify LGBTQ events in the city that can act as motivation for queer people to come to the destination. Trust me, there are many more events than just Pride that are catered specifically to queer people. In New Orleans, for example, there are 5 big LGBTQ weekends: Mardi Gras, Gay Easter, Pride, Decadence, and Halloween. All of these attract large numbers of LGBTQ people from all across the world. But beyond these sizable events, many cities likely have hundreds of other smaller community events that can attract people in a drive market, so work to incorporate these events to your marketing as well. Finally, many of the bigger LGBTQ events take place on weekends when no other large events are occurring, so getting queer visitors will greatly bolster hotel occupancy rates.
Diversity Should Be Integral to All Marketing Efforts
Partnering with an LGBTQ agency and making them a central part of your RFP response speaks volumes to diversity, and not just queer diversity. This partnership shows that your agency takes the whole concept of diversity seriously, and that diverse marketing will be an integral part of your strategy to attract tourists. While you’re at it, consider partnering with other agencies that do specific marketing to African American groups, or at the very least, add a section on your proposal that addresses outreach to this audience.
(Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash)
LGBTQ Marketing Is an Investment For the Future
According to a 2019 YouGov study, 1 in 5 young people identify as non-heterosexual. To some, this may seem like a very large number, and that’s because it is. However, it doesn’t shock me in the slightest. As times are changing, people are more inclined to explore their sexuality and view sexual orientation as a spectrum and not just as a binary option. Since much of the up and coming generation identify as queer, reaching out to this community is an important investment, especially as their disposable incomes will continue to increase rapidly as they continue through their careers.
Ok, so here is the million-dollar question. Why do I actually need to partner with an agency that specializes in this content? Can’t we just make sure our marketing speaks to this audience?
First and most importantly, in order for the marketing message to be authentic and effective, queer people need to be at the center of the content creation. Just picture men writing feminine product commercials and non-African Americans creating shows for BET Network. You get the point - it sounds wrong, and frankly doesn’t work. If you have queer people on your team, that’s a great start! It puts you one step ahead of marketing teams that don’t have any of these folks. But truth is, this market is ever-changing and has different nuances than the general population. Agencies who specialize in LGBTQ DMO marketing will have the most up to date information and the most experience with the market, plus have ample connections with LGBTQ influencers and media to leverage the brand.