We’ve all seen corporate America doing their pink-washing for the “June Gush.” Paraphrasing, it goes something like this: “We love gay people because it’s Pride Month,” and they hope for our pink dollars. Cruise lines are more and more a part of this.
Pride Month regalia was everywhere last month, including many of the cruise lines. Companies gayed-up things like logos with rainbow colors, or developed celebratory posts for social media. But once July 1st arrived, the marketing mostly vanished and corporate logos reverted back to their standard brand colors and guidelines…until next year when they’ll chase our dollars again.
The cruise industry as a whole needs to do much better at actively, consistently reaching out to the LGBTQ community. It’s great that we become visible during Pride Month but we also need to be visible the other eleven months of the year.
I believe many cruise lines don’t yet realize the dollar amount our community pays to enjoy vacations on their ships. Until a few years ago when MeetMeOnBoard began surveying the LGBTQ cruise community, there was no quantitative data for cruise lines to draw from, and the only place they could really see our dollars was when a company like RSVP did an all-gay charter. We love when the industry opens their ships to an all-gay charter, but that is just a very small portion of LGBTQ who cruise and are on ships every day of the year.
So what to do if we want to push the industry toward more meaningful inclusion?
Cruise advertising and marketing materials rarely show same-sex couples. When you do see an inclusive ad, please let the cruise line and your travel agent know you appreciate their commitment to inclusion. Send them a brief letter or email thanking them. When a cruise line makes a simple gesture such as creating an LGBTQ landing page on a website, it speaks volumes about that company’s commitment to or our community. Check out the landing pages at Azamara and Celebrity Cruises.
On your next cruise, check the daily schedule in your newsletter for an LGBTQ Happy Hour on board. If one isn’t listed, don’t shy away from asking the cruise director to include one. Socializing with other gays seems to be part of our DNA. We know that it’s been a highlight on most of our cruises. 43% of our members say that the happy hour is very important when they cruise. Read Randall’s article on how cruise lines are missing the mark on gay social gatherings.
Spread your love on social media. On your next cruise, take images of your spouse or group of friends and post it to your favorite social media channel(s). Make sure to tag the cruise line. Companies are actively engaged and they and their followers will notice.
Most importantly, give your support to those who support our community through the entire year, not just during the “June Gush.”