NIAGARA — Travel Gay Canada is reaching out to its members with new initiatives including a new website, and a destination newsletter that has an impressive 27 per cent open rate and 30 to 50 opt-ins per month, said Colin Sines, executive director.
In July, the packages edition of the newsletter focused on Vancouver Island, named the ninth most beautiful island in the world by Travel + Leisure Magazine. The package exhorted members to visit Parksville, Sooke and Victoria, and to head out camping, kayaking, golfing, salmon fishing, whale watching or wildlife viewing.
August’s special packages edition talked about Toronto, a city like no other on Earth. “Lift up the hood of Canada’s biggest city and you’ll find there’s more to the eye than an amazing skyline. Toronto houses 200 ethnic groups and Canada’s Largest Pride,” it said.
“In the past, we had a lack of communication to our members and consumers,” said Sines. “Now, we have people from 60 to 65 countries visiting the website, including Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Germany.”
For September, the special package said, “Where the Un-Ordinary is the Ordinary — Welcome to the Heart of Wine Country.”
But the package was not about the best known Niagara wineries, but rather focused on Twenty Valley attractions. The package talked about Travel Gay Canada members in the Twenty Valley.
“There were 15 on board, the majority of them wineries. The experience is so much different [than in Niagara-on-the-Lake]. There are smaller, more personal wineries, not tour operators and bus tours. The staff is knowledgeable and each winery is a different experience.”
In addition, Travel Gay Canada has introduced a promotional package, for fall, extolling the virtues of Saskatchewan, including its parks, world-class freshwater fishing, abundant wildlife, canoeing, hiking, golf, and horseback riding, and, in the north, boreal forests and pristine lakes.
Ontario leads the country when it comes to average spend by an LGBT traveller, with $4,212 per year. Quebec is next with $3,350.
And the demographics are getting older, which is good for travel. “Once that aging population is more well-established and in committed relationships, they have more disposable income. They are looking for unique experiences — they’ve been to the Rockies and want to try different places,” Sines said.