Until We All Belong

  • Issue no. 1

I think it’s fair to say that one of the biggest impacts on the travel industry right now is the overwhelming sense of unease. With different countries worldwide having their own policies and restrictions, travelers are hit with the same barrage of questions. 

What happens if the restrictions change before I travel? Or worse, while I’m there?
What is their Covid etiquette?
What if I get stuck in a foreign lockdown? 

We all know someone stung by Portugal’s rapid change back to amber, and having just returned from a shoot in Paris, I now know that you the need to show your ‘sanitary pass’ virtually everywhere you go…

This got me thinking about the biggest challenge facing the travel and hospitality sector at the moment: how do you make people not only feel safe, but comfortable when travelling?

As an openly flamboyant gay man, this pandemic isn’t the only time I have felt trepidatious about a foreign trip. There are many city streets that I would feel comfortable mincing up and down, but quite frankly some places are still a no-go for the pink pound. 

This is where this lovely piece of content from AirBnB Australia comes in. Whilst over 4 years old, I think the problems it’s tackling is still relevant to the world we are in today.

For those that don’t want to click through the video, in April 2017 this AirBnB Australia used their marketing money to campaign for equal marriage rights in Austrailia. As a sign of solidarity for the fight for Equality, they produced these little rings with a tiny piece missing, to show that equality was not quite complete. At the time, I managed to get one (I was obsessed with getting on at the time, it was chic), but they were only available via Air BnB website. 

Whilst some may argue that this video is slightly contrived (something that often pops up when commercial companies jump on the PRIDE bandwagon) this to me feels like a genuine extension of the brand’s mission to help people ‘belong anywhere’.

The reason I love this, and think it’s still relevant today, is that it feels authentic for the brand, and it’s a super smart way of not only engaging the LGBTQI+ community, but also supporting it. This brand genuinely wants me and my community to feel at home down under, and to top it all off, as of December 2017, marriage in Australia was no longer defined by gender. Now, I am not saying it’s all down to Air BnB, but I just imagine how thrilled that Marketing Exec would have been when reporting back their ROI.

What can we learn from this today? Well, for me it shows that there are potentially deeper problems we need to tackle. In this current climate, feeling comfortable away from home could be less about the gorgeous property and rigorous sanitisation schedule and more about how welcoming the destination can be. 

Chris Hill
Senior Photo Producer, Wonderhatch

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