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Add 'inclusion' to the fun, quirky, hip and retro descriptors that Hotel Zed and Accent Inns uses to position its hotels.
The company, which has properties in Kelowna, Victoria and Kamloops, is the first in Canada to be fully 'Rainbow Registered' for making 2SLGBTQI+ (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex) visitors feel safe, welcomed and accepted.
"I can't begin to describe what it means to be the first hotel chain to have all of their properties be 'Rainbow Registered,'" said Hotel Zed and Accent Inns CEO Mandy Farmer.
"Goosebumps, swelling heart, misty eyes and so fiercely proud of my amazing team for making this happen."
Victoria-based Accent Inns Inc. has Accent Inns in Victoria, Kelowna, Kamloops, Burnaby and Richmond (near Vancouver International Airport) and Hotel Zed in Victoria, Kelowna and Tofino, where there's also a ROAR restaurant.
The accreditation is a program of Canada's LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce to better identify 2SLGBTQI+ friendly businesses and move the needle on 2SLGBTQI+ rights.
Accent Inns and Hotel Zed have been ahead of the curve for years with its inclusivity.
Hotel Zed has run 'nooner' promotions for Valentine's Day -- a three-hour, mid-day special for couples to get amorous and used imagery of hetrosexual, gay and elderly couples.
The 'Rainbow Registered' symbol on a business' door indicates to consumers that it meets a stringent set of standards to ensure 2SLGBTQI+ guests feel safe, welcomed and accepted.
"Regardless of whether you are a guest or employee, out intention at Accent Inns, Hotel Zed and ROAR is to make our properties a space where you can show up as your true authentic self every day," said sales and marketing coordinator Matt Schmitt, who was a driver behind the chain attaining 'Rainbow Registered.'
"For me, this is more than flying a flag or putting a sticker on your window. It's about genuinely welcoming and celebrating everyone who walks into our hotel, regardless of gender identity, expression or sexual orientation. Being a good human being and doing the right thing is embedded in who we are and it feels damn good."
The hotel chain has also established a 'deadname standard operating procedure.'
Deadname is the name a transgender person was giving at birth, which they no longer identify with.
Accent Inns and Hotel Zed customized their booking engine so transgender people can book rooms even though their new name does not match the one on their government-issued identification.
The hotel chain has training for employees in keeping with its 'Rainbow Registered' status, complete with proper pronoun usage.
The chain's benefits package for employees covers hormone therapy for those choosing a medical gender transition so they can show up at work and in their lives as their authentic selves.
"The global LGBT+ travel market is estimated at US$22 billion annually," said Darrel Schuurman, CEO of Canada's LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce.
"As businesses become increasingly aware of the potential of this growing market, they have realized the unique needs of this diverse community. This (Rainbow Registered) program is available to help create a lasting legacy of inclusivity for LGBT+ visitors, customers and employees throughout the country."
While inclusivity has come a long way, it still has a long way to go.
A Booking.com survey of 2SLGBTQI+ travellers last year revealed:
- One in five have had staff assume they would need separate rooms or two beds in a room when checking in as a couple.
- 20% felt the need to change their behaviour to avoid judgement with accommodation staff.
- 17% have felt uncomfortable to ask for 2SLGBTQI+ friendly local tips or recommendations.
- 13% of accommodation staff have mistakenly or incorrectly assumed pronouns or gender of travellers in correspondence ahead of arrival and when arriving at the front desk.