Orbitz is introducing a new search capability that improves LGBTQ+ travelers’ ability to only search for lodging with hotel partners that have signed a pledge of nondiscrimination on the basis of gender and sexual identity.
A recent OnePoll survey commissioned by Orbitz found that 58 percent of LGBTQIA Americans agreed with a statement that they spend more time researching travel destinations and accommodations than cisgender or heterosexual travelers do.
The majority (60 percent) of survey respondents said they’d been forced to cancel a trip or changed their travel plans due to feeling unsafe as a result of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
Carey Malloy, Orbitz brand director notes that unlike straight cisgender tourists LGBTQ+ travelers can’t assume that we’ll find a place to stay where we can safely be ourselves. “More than a quarter of respondents in our survey said that they feel the need to downplay their LGBTQIA identity while traveling. Today, we’re helping them start their trip search with a place where they’ll feel welcomed.”
Hotels that sign on agree at minimum to enforce a zero-tolerance policy for discriminatory behavior. Some properties have gone farther, adopting additional measures, such as training their staff about gender identities and incorporating gender-neutral language.
According to Orbitz’s statement to the press, more than 35,000 independent, boutique and name-brand hotels have signed onto the pledge. The new search tool of LGBTQ-welcoming hotels is available both on the dedicated site Orbitz.com/Pride or via the regular search on Orbitz.com and mobile sites.
Orbitz is also specifically drawing attention to LGBTQ-owned properties, restaurants, and shops. And it is collaborating with actor Jonathan Bennett (Cake Wars and Mean Girls) and Stacy London (What Not to Wear) to get the word out.
The two celebrities are joining Orbitz in spotlighting their favorite queer-owned shops and restaurants, including Chicken Ranch in Palm Springs and Blue Stocking Bookstore in New York City.
To further encourage their users to stay at one of the LGBTQ-welcoming hotels via the Orbitz.com/Pride portal over the next week will receive $50 back in Orbucks (which can later be redeemed on future bookings through Orbitz).
Orbitz has also announced a Pride-associated limited-time incentive to support LGBTQ-owned properties. Those who book queer-owned hotels this month are eligible to receive an additional $100 in Orbucks (for a total of $150 in Orbucks). The offer, available at Orbitz.com/Pride, is capped at the first 500 people.
Earlier this year the travel brand unveiled Orbitz.com/Pride, collaborated with Jeremy Pope and Indya Moore, and released an ad unlike any we'd seen before, with LGBTQ+ couples and nonbinary people traveling, and the encouragement to "travel as you are."
Orbitz is establishing itself as a corporate partner with the queer community by making an effort to uncover and solve real problems facing LGBTQ+ travelers. The travel brand is also donating to five LGBTQIA nonprofits this month, including It Gets Better, the IGLTA Foundation, Trans Lifeline, Stonewall Community Foundation, and National Center for Transgender Equality.