Proud Certification and Inclusivity
What is it and why do we have it?
The bottom line is that everyone should be made to feel welcome, and we do that by being inclusive. That is, acknowledging peoples identity and needs in a way that makes them feel comfortable.
Scottish LGBTI+ Rainbow Mark
We’re a member of the above scheme that is supported by the Scottish Government and developed and delivered by the Scottish LGBTI+ Rainbow Partnership. to demonstrate our commitment to the principles of LGBTI+ inclusion.
What is Proud Certification?
Booking.com have introduced a Proud Certification course as part of a Travel Proud initiative that we are, of course, proud to say we have achieved, but what does it mean?
Bringing it all together
We thought we knew everything there was to know about LGBTQIA+ needs. I mean, it’s all about just treating everyone with respect and dignity and that should be it, right?
Right. Well, nearly right.
It turns out we still had a little journey to go on, even as gay dads with years of training and experience behind us. But the good news is that it’s all common sense.
Why do we have these certificates and marks?
We want to ensure that all of our guests have a warm welcome and fantastic service throughout their stay.
To ensure a warm welcome to all of our guests we need to be inclusive to all, whoever they are and whoever they love.
Commonly it’s said that the majority of people should already feel comfortable as many equality and diversity settings are already in place within society. For a lot of people, this certification and our efforts won’t matter and won’t affect them in any way.
For others, there’s still more we need to do to reassure them that the welcome is there, that we understand their needs, and that we can talk the same language. That’s the reason for the Proud Certification and the reason for this post.
The Genderbread person
We learned about the Genderbread Person which is where your identity, your attraction, your sex, and your expression form who you are and how you present to the world.
We learned about the use and misuse of personal pronouns. For example, mine are him/his. It was enlightening to learn why they/them may be used and others such as Ze and those that prefer no pronouns and use names.
There is a significant way to go though, as some people misunderstand the difference between salutations and pronouns!
The use of pronouns in email signatures and the booking form is just one marker that shows those who are concerned that we do understand their needs, and that is what inclusivity is about.
We learned about assumptions. Everyone makes them and an element of the training included acknowledgement of this.
When it comes to parties of two, we could assume certain people want a double and others want separate rooms but that would be wrong of us as there are many reasons why some would want separate rooms and others the same room.
To help prevent these avoidable assumptions, we take the most obvious route and just ask you what your preferred arrangements are, so please, let us know so we can give you the service you rightfully deserve.
We’re all on a journey so we need to recognise that assumptions and mistakes will be made, but by completing this course and having authentic conversations, these mistakes can be minimised and learned from.
The changes we’ve made
We have updated our website booking system to include optional personal pronouns to give you the opportunity to let us know how you would like to be referred to, and we’ve removed the Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss as it no longer serves any purpose and can elicit implicit bias. We are currently challenging the associated online travel agencies (OTA’s) we work with to do the same.
Gowanlea Heights B&B is bookable as an entire suite including both a double and a twin and charged on an occupancy rate. We’ve added some text to our booking emails sent to parties of two adult guests acting as a prompt so you can specify if you want the double, the twin or separate rooms, with no additional room surcharges. Our aim is to ensure you have the rooms you need.
An example; rather than assume same-sex want separate rooms or opposite sex want the same room, we ask for your preference and say the default if you don’t say anything is for you to have the double. Why would same sex couples need to constantly ask for a double if opposite sex don’t? Why do we assume opposite sex travellers are couples? It’s that sort of assumption that we are avoiding and, it works well for all. Seamlessly in fact.
Sometimes you may feel you can’t quite be yourself. You do not share with other guests, the accommodation is exclusive to you during your entire stay.
We’ve also compiled a list of local venues who have stated to us that they aim to be as inclusive as they can, this is available to our guests.
We hope all the above assures you of our intent to be as inclusive as possible and shows our determination to ensure you have a welcoming and enjoyable stay, whoever you are and whoever you love.
“Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.”