Friday, April 29, 2016

Gogobot Unveils Its 2016 LGBT Rising Stars Destinations

Atlanta and Prince’s hometown, Minneapolis, Top the Cities on the Rise, While Amsterdam and Berlin Are Named “Declining Destinations Worth a Second Look”

Gogobot – the award-winning, tribe based travel-planning app and website – is announcing its 2016 LGBT Rising Stars Destinations, where LGBT travel is growing, as well as its 2016 LGBT Declining Destinations Worth a Second Look list.

Gogobot’s LGBT Rising Stars Destinations list for 2016 are all cities increasing in popularity amongst LGBT travelers, according to data from Gogobot’s more than 10 million travelers:

  1. Atlanta
  2. Minneapolis
  3. Boston
  4. Austin
  5. Dallas
  6. Washington, D.C.
  7. Hong Kong
  8. Toronto
  9. Dubai
    *Please note Dubai would have been listed as No. 9 on Gogobot's 2016 LGBT Rising Stars Destinations list. Gogobot removed it from the list since homosexuality is illegal in Dubai.
  10. Tampa
“It’s not at all surprising to see Atlanta at the top of this year’s list given that vibrant LGBT hot spots like Einstein’s and My Sister’s Room can be found throughout the city, and not confined to a single neighborhood. Similarly, Minneapolis, has long been known as a forward-thinking city and home to progressive artists like Prince,” notes Krista Canfield, Gogobot’s Getaway Expert. “We were, however, surprised to see our data showing an increase in LGBT travel to Dubai this year. LGBT travelers, like many travelers, clearly want to see and experience the world in places where traditions and cultures are different from their own. Yet while our data clearly shows that the LGBT community is increasingly interested in visiting Dubai, we decided to remove Dubai from our list because homosexuality is still illegal in Dubai. As a company, we can’t in good conscience recommend Dubai as a great destination for LGBT travelers, since the punishment for homosexuality in Dubai can include prison, fines, deportation and even the death penalty.”      

Harold Smith-Franzen, a member of Gogobot’s LGBT Tribe who has traveled to 117 countries and all of the cities on both of this year’s lists, says Dubai is popular with LGBT travelers despite the legal situation there, “because it is a vibrant city that offers an experience you won't find anywhere else in the Middle East. It has a perfect mix of modernity, wealth, sophistication and garishness, yet it’s still tethered by more conservative traditions.”

Gogobot’s 2016 Declining LGBT Destinations Worth a Second Look may be experiencing a drop in tourism for reasons ranging from LGBT travelers simply being less enamored with them to economic or global concerns:

  1. Greater Tokyo
  2. Amsterdam
  3. Barcelona
  4. Berlin
  5. Bangkok
  6. Las Vegas
  7. Paris and Surrounds
  8. Oahu
  9. Orlando & Walt Disney World
  10. Seattle and Surrounds

For more info on why each place made Gogobot’s lists and ideas on where to stay, eat and play in each destination, head to this link.

Gogobot takes a number of different factors into account when selecting its winners including reviewing data across the more than 60,000 destinations in its database. Both lists are based on the number of reviews from distinct travelers visiting the destination, the number of people creating trips on Gogobot for these destinations and real travelers recommending these spots to the LGBT Tribe on Gogobot in 2015.

More than 10 million used Gogobot to plan and research places to go and discover great places to stay, eat and play in the past year. Members have posted more than one million reviews and shared more than five million photos and postcards on Gogobot’s free website and apps.

Having marked its fifth anniversary in 2015, Gogobot also celebrated a banner year with several awards and accolades. Gogobot was named an Editors’ Choice app by Google Play in 2016 and a Top Developer by Google Play in 2015. PC Magazine deemed Gogobot one of the, “Best Travel Apps of 2015.” In 2015, Gogobot was also called one of Mashable’s, “Five Can’t Miss Apps,” one of USA Today’s, “Best Apps to Survive Life After College,” and one of the Travel Channel’s, “Top Ten Apps to Download.”

About Gogobot
Gogobot’s mission is to help people discover great places to stay, eat and play that are perfect for them. Nineteen tribes (Family Travelers, Foodies, Luxury, Wellness and LGBT, among others) provide Gogobot members with personalized recommendations. More than 10 million people used Gogobot to plan and research places to go in the last year. Gogobot also has more than one million reviews, five million photos and postcards as well as 60,000 city guides available on both the site and its apps (Android, Apple Watch and iPhone).

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

#GayWineWeekend Returning to Sonoma in 2016, Bigger Than Ever

Hot off their win as ManAboutWorld's LGBT Event of the Year for 2015, Gay Wine Weekend in Sonoma is poised to become even bigger and better in 2016.  Starting June 17th and going through the weekend ending June 19th, it's a weekend of wine & celebration in California Wine Country, featuring a Twilight T-Dance & Gay Wine Auction benefiting Face to Face, Sonoma County's AIDS Network.

Come and enjoy 3 full days of LGBT events in the home of some of the world's most prestigious wines and wineries. Celebrate with world class wine and culinary delights, music and dancing in a private estate vineyard, VIP Receptions, wine tasting excursions, champagne brunch, wine auction and pool party in one of the most famous luxury wine destinations in the world.

Enter to Win a Trip for 2 to Gay Wine Weekend
Includes round-trip air on Alaska Airlines, VIP passes and 2 nights hotel

Founded by Gary Saperstein and Mark Vogler, longtime friends and food & wine afficionados who joined forces years back to launch Out in the Vineyard, Gay Wine Weekend is part of, a company offering LGBTQ-oriented wine country tours, events (and now CRUISES!) in Sonoma and Napa Counties.

(Read more from Sonoma Figbits, updates from the girl & the fig)

Working with LBGT and LGBT-friendly wineries in the Sonoma Valley, Gay Wine Weekend brings folks together with gay winemakers and vintners including Brad Beard of Mercury Wines, Lloyd Davis of Corner 103, Kurt Giusti of Via Giusti, Michael Kobler of Kobler Family Estate Vineyards and many others, including Sebastiani, Buena Vista and this year the iconic Chateau St. Jean in the heart of Sonoma Valley.

(Read more from the Daily Xtra)

Chateau St. Jean donates iconic winery to gay wine event to help end HIV in Sonoma County
Legendary Sonoma Icon hosts Twilight T-Dance at Out In The Vineyard’s Gay Wine Weekend
In Sonoma to benefit Face to Face, Sonoma County AIDS Network.

Twilight T-Dance is the signature event of the 3 days long annual AIDS fundraising event, Gay Wine Weekend, in Sonoma Valley, benefiting Face to Face, Sonoma County AIDS Network. 500-600 LGBT wine lovers from across North America will travel to Chateau St. Jean Winery for a VIP wine reception, dance into the sunset to the hip beats of an internationally famous DJ out in the vineyards of Chateau St. Jean. Gourmet food trucks will also be on hand, where guests can purchase delicious wine country cuisine to pair with Chateau St. Jean’s award winning wines.

“Having Chateau St. Jean open is doors to the LGBT community and donate their legendary winery to help us raise money for support services to those living with HIV/AIDS and to stop HIV in Sonoma County is a testament to how dedicated they are to our community” says Out In The Vineyard co-founder, Mark Vogler. “Growing up in rural Sonoma County as the AIDS epidemic exploded in the late 1980s and early 90s, and witnessing the backlash against the victims of this horrible disease, I could have never imagined this kind of support. It’s incredibly generous.”

Out In The Vineyard has contributed over $130,000 dollars to Face to Face, Sonoma County AIDS Network since the launch of Gay Wine Weekend in June 2011. “This gives us the greatest pleasure of all," says cofounder Gary Saperstein. "After everyone goes home, we get to stop and take stock

Gay Wine Weekend 2016 Events:
  • Friday, June 17th
    • VIP Welcome Reception
      3:00 – 6:00 PM – MacArthur Place Hotel
    • Wine & Dine OUT in Sonoma – Winemaker Dinners - $125 7:30:PM
  • Saturday, June 14th
    • Winery Tours & Lunch - $85 - $125 10:00AM – 3:00PM
      Take a tour of some of the best producers in Sonoma Valley with the girl & the fig CATERS box lunch.
    • Twilight T-Dance – Chateau St. Jean, Sonoma, benefiting Face to Face, Sonoma County AIDS Network
      VIP Reception & T-Dance $165 – 5:00PM - 10:00PM
      General Admission T-Dance $ 80 - 6:30 – 10:00PM
    • Apres-T After Party - $30 – MacArthur Place Hotel- 11:00PM
  • Sunday, June 19th
    • Gay Wine Auction & Recovery Brunch - $75 MacArthur Place Hotel10:00AM
      100% of the monies raised benefit Face to Face, Sonoma County HIV/AIDS network
    • Sunday Pool Soiree - $30 MacArthur Place Hotel 12:30PM – 4:00PM

For more information, check out:

Follow Out In The Vineyard at:


Monday, March 28, 2016

Unite Virginia - Virginia's LGBTQ Media Company & Richmond Weddings to Host Engaged: Virginia's 1st Statewide LGBTQ Wedding Show

Virginia’s LGBTQ Media Company and Richmond Weddings are joining forces to present Virginia’s first statewide LGBTQ wedding show: ENGAGED! Less than one year after the U.S. Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land, ENGAGED will demonstrate that Virginia is truly open and welcoming to everyone. Wedding vendors and loving couples from across the Commonwealth will converge in the capital to celebrate marriage equality and demonstrate that Virginia is for all lovers.

This historic event will take place:
SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 2016 | 1:00 P.M. – 4:30 P.M.
The Greater Richmond Convention Center | Grand Ballroom C
403 North 3rd Street | Richmond, VA 23219

“Unite Virginia’s mission is to promote equality through storytelling. There’s no better story to tell than the love shared between two people. We are thrilled to partner with Richmond Weddings to present the first statewide LGBTQ wedding show in Virginia.”
–Justin Ayars, JD, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of Unite Virginia (

“Richmond Weddings has 26 years of experience in the wedding business. After marriage equality became law, our vendors began asking how to engage the LGBTQ demographic in a meaningful and authentic way. Given Unite Virginia’s inclusive mission and its statewide reach, they seemed a natural partner for us to work with as we begin to engage the LGBTQ community!”
-Amye & Scott Brunette, Owners of Richmond Weddings (


  • Virginia’s wedding industry is expected to grow by $72.5 million per year now that marriage equality is law
  • The LGBTQ community boasts a purchasing power of $884 billion and represents a $100 billion tourism industry
  • The LGBTQ community has a higher median income compared to the general population
  • 71% of LGBTQ consumers remain loyal to brands that support the LGBTQ community
  • 47% of LGBTQ consumers are more likely to buy from a company that directly markets to the LGBTQ community
  • 23% of LGBTQ consumers have switched brands because a competitor was LGBTQ inclusive
  • 83% of LGBTQ weddings have other pre/post wedding events (wedding showers, bachelor(ette) parties, engagement parties, rehearsal dinners, welcome parties, after-parties, day-after brunches, etc.)
  • 72% of LGBTQ weddings have a ceremony and a reception


  • Vendor booths cost $525 for a 8x8 space OR $1,020 for a 16x8 space
  • Electricity is an additional $60
  • Parking is available in the Greater Richmond Convention Center parking garage

To obtain more information about ENGAGED or to schedule an interview, please contact:
Justin Ayars, JD

Monday, November 30, 2015

Serving the Art of Gay on Grandma's Dirty China

Hôtel Gaythering to Host “ART GAYSEL #OBSESSED” – an Unearthing of Gay Religion via the Social Media Arts – During Art Basel Weekend

Pinky up! From a tea dance to a tea bag, and all the spilled tea in-between, the boys of PANSY ASS CERAMICS can answer it all, with a simple question. “What’s the Tea?” It’s brewed and whistling so sip or get off the pot because the duo behind HôTEL GAYTHERING present “ART GAYSEL #OBSESSED” a mélange of 18 emerging and established Gay Artists discovered (and quit literally Obsessed over) via Instagram and other social media platforms. #OBSESSED is simply the compiling of the owner’s art obsessions from iPhone to Real Life. “ART GAYSEL #OBSESSED” is free of charge and opens to the public Wednesday, December 2nd, to Sunday, December 6th, from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Hôtel Gaythering is located at 1409 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach.

Exhibiting during “ART GAYSEL” is SCOTT WELSH, a painter who has traded in his acrylics for foundation, eye shadow and lipstick. “My work deals a lot with dichotomies, the dichotomy between masculine and feminine, comfortable and uncomfortable, innocence and erotic. That is the foundation for my work” Welsh said. Through the use of cosmetics as a medium, Welsh exaggerates the topic of beauty while playing with gender stereotypes. (

Operating on tension and fluctuating between the implication of balance and disharmony, the paintings of JULIUS DC BAUTISTA concurrently pay homage to abstract expressionism and illustration. “I see my works as a means of translation: they express and articulate moods in a code that utilize the viewer’s own method of engagement. By simultaneously communicating through bold lines and gestural texture, I can speak intricately in an organized fashion, and I can feel more succinct in my exchange of sentiments with the audience.” Paintings filled with colorful, seemingly and sometimes literally wounded figures, Bautista’s work has been harmoniously “liked” among #ARTGAYSEL followers.

Grappling between religion and sexuality, JONATHAN KENT ADAMS renders his paintings with a red heart. His focus on the floating heart is his means of communicating identity, a common theme in his Christian upbringing. Adams explains, “my thesis was the absence of structure and now I'm creating these geometric abstract environments for the figure to exist in. To me that is belief or faith. Sometimes it seems like a fact or obvious other times it seems like an illusion... I grew up going to church and that was a huge part of my life. It was my security. My safe place. I was constantly told there was no place for my queer self though. So my thesis show was about allowing the figures to exist in this white space with no structural environment.” (

Older than sliced bread, yet extremely relevant today, Self-Portraiture has become a bit of a satirical form of art with the birth of the #SELFIE. Enter artists FREDDY KRAVE ( & ALEXANDER GUERRA (
These two self-portrait artists have their paws gripped on the art of the “#UNSELFIE” and more recently, on each other. “When I photograph someone else I’m aiming to capture their essence, but with self-portraits I have to dig deep inside of me every time,” says, Krave. These two recently worked together taking turns shooting each other and with each other. Guerra’s alter ego, “the RaBBiT” or “the BuNNY”, is central to his self-portrait travelogue and his own to shoot (until meeting Krave). “the RaBBiT is my release, my freedom. He allows me to be my true self, awkwardly posing between masculine and feminine idealized stances in sometimes exotic locations.” Yet, ironically masked under his hand made bunny masks, Guerra & Krave’s work both take on our culture obsession with the body from two individual perspectives.

Alexander Guerra, who is also one of the owners of Hôtel Gaythering, hand picked all of the artists at ART GAYSEL. Regarding his vision for the exhibit, Guerra explains “As an artist myself, I wanted to create a show that was central to celebrating gay artists for gay artists. Very often, seemingly erotic art is looked down and frowned upon as not being “high art”. I disagree with this notion significantly and feel as if those who feel this way are like those who castrated statues at the Vatican.” Known to his friends as a notorious hoarder, Guerra found himself hoarding digitally. He was taking countless screenshots of art and artists that he loved via instagram. “While reviewing my iPhone albums, I one day realized that I was literally obsessing over and #OBSESSED with so many of the artists. This realization is what gave birth to the idea of “ART GAYSEL #OBSESSED”.

The title “ART GAYSEL” is a “punny” way of tying in “Gaythering” with the most colorful week in Miami Beach, “Art Basel”. The show’s format is to capture the essence of the discovery via modern self-promotion using social media.

Warhol is quoted to have said "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." What he couldn’t see were the 15k followers.

ART GAYSEL MIAMI BEACH seeks to deliver a premier art show keen on celebrating all things GAY while remaining affordable. Encouraging new and established art collectors, pricing tops off at $2,500.

Other artists participating in “ART GAYSEL #OBSESSED” include: Boston Elements, Jeremy Lucido, Vilela Valentin, Stephen McDermott, Joshua Nece, Randy D. Rosario, Daniel Marin Medina, Isabella Steele, Lawrence Alarcon, Knitty Gritty NYC, Bert Suarez, & Ruben Esparza.
# # #

HôTEL GAYTHERING is Miami Beach’s Only Gay Hotel specifically targeted to the Gay Community and its allies, featuring 25 King Sized Guest Rooms, a Men’s Only Self-Spa & the Neighborhood Bar. Situated on the west end of the renowned Lincoln Road Mall just a few steps away from South Beach’s cafés, shops, nightlife and breathtaking beautiful white sandy beach.
Open since February 2014, Hôtel Gaythering has established itself as the Gayborhood hangout and prides itself on being the central hub for Gay Vacationers and Local’s alike. The place where guest don’t only stay but are also encouraged to play, “Gaythering” (as the locals call it) plays host to events like “TRiViA NiGHT-Wednesdays,” “Bears & Hares-Fridays,” a monthly “Craft Night” & “Gay Bingo”.

The “handsome industrial” styled decor, personalized service and inspired amenities have helped make Hôtel Gaythering a “Top 10” destination on Trip Advisor and the 2014 recipient of the “Out Traveler Award for Best Boutique Hotel or Resort.” Hôtel Gaythering guest rooms are professionally designed and furnished with king-size beds outfitted with hypoallergenic 300-thread-count linens, 40-inch HDTVs and original artwork. In addition to its unrestrained, if quirky, rooms, Hôtel Gaythering guests enjoy exclusive access to their complimentary Men’s Self Spa with its many amenities including an Aroma Steam Room, Jacuzzi, Dry Sauna and a Hamam Aroma/Mud Steam Lounge.

Hôtel Gaythering is South Beach at its gayest.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

LGBT Position Available - Consumer Marketing Manager - IGLTA

Consumer Marketing Manager
IGLTA is the leading member-based global organization dedicated to LGBT tourism. We are looking for a dynamic, creative individual to join our not-for-profit and expand our efforts to make the world more welcoming to LGBT travelers. This is a full-time position that may be based outside of the U.S. headquarters.

The position
Develop and execute strategies that raise the visibility of IGLTA and our business members/partners and increase our engagement with LGBT travelers worldwide. Work with our existing marketing channels and create innovative new outlets to drive more consumer traffic to our website and social media accounts. Coordinate implementation of marketing strategies with the headquarters staff. Utilize freelancers and our volunteer ambassador team to maximize effectiveness of global LGBT community initiatives (contests, offers, etc.) in multiple languages. Collaborate with Communications Director to maintain brand consistency across all marketing platforms. Liaison with the IGLTA board’s consumer task force to ensure the association’s long-term strategic plan is implemented effectively. Competitive salary and benefits; some travel required. Position reports to the President/CEO.

Performance metrics
Two key areas to the success of the organization include growing the consumer database and growing our consumer connections via social media. This position plays a significant role in these functions and will be measured on both the growth in numbers and the quality of consumer engagement, including the international diversity involved. Quarterly reports required.


  • Minimum of 5 years marketing experience that includes consumer campaigns related to tourism/hospitality
  • Well versed in content creation, SEO/SEM
  • Ability to manage projects independently while effectively communicating with headquarters staff
  • Demonstrated success with social media management (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
  • Experience overseeing remote small teams/staff
  • Highly analytical
  • Degree required, preferably in marketing
  • Excellent communication and computer skills
  • Bilingual (English/Spanish fluency preferred)
  • Some graphic design experience a plus

Please send cover letter, resume/CV and examples of consumer marketing projects to  Expected hiring decision – late September 2015.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Sparkling Hill Resort plays vital role in helping an employee transform

Great article about Katie, a Sparkling Hill Resort employee, and her company's support during her transition.

Katie was born in Cambridge, Ontario, and grew up in the small community of Paris, a rural town of about 10,000 people. Growing up, she knew she was different from the other kids. This is common for many LGBT youth; they often recognize or feel something is different about them, but they aren’t sure what it is because sexual education isn’t taught until later in school, and even then, LGBT education is limited at best.
Read the full story of Katie’s journey on

Sparkling Hill Health Resort is a world-class resort located in the interior region of British Columbia. Situated just outside of the city of Vernon in the North Okanagan, the beautiful valley is well known for outdoor recreation and leisure getaways, wine and agriculture, and a long history rooted in conservative values. When the luxury health and wellness resort opened in 2010, little did they know the vital role they would play in the transformation of one of their employees.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ylan Chrem appointed representative for Luxe India

Ylan S Chrem has been appointed representative for Luxe India in the US market. He is a veteran and an accomplish travel industry professional with significant international experience working with leading travel agencies, tour operators, hotels and airlines. He has also proven global marketing and sales skills and extensive contacts worldwide. He is widely known and respected in the international travel industry.

Ylan brings with him 28 years of experience which will prove invaluable in promoting the luxury experiences that Luxe India has to offer. He will develop the US market for the company. Luxe India specializes in creating bespoke luxury experiences covering India, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka and Maldives. One of the unique propositions of the luxury brand is the special touch that turns ordinary trips into memorable experiential journeys; each program is fine-tuned to clients’ specific preferences, in order to ensure that they go beyond what is expected from the journey.

About LUXE India:
When selecting a company to manage your travel needs, LUXE understands that you have a number of options available to you and that it can be difficult to distinguish between the services. LUXE India strives for the best and below are some aspects that make their company stand out from the others.

Offering India and only the best, LUXE India is unchallenged in the quality of service they offer to their guests. When welcoming you to the oldest civilization in the world, it is their goal to make you feel immediately comfortable, as if you had close family members introducing you to a country they love.

As soon as you land, you will enjoy the services of the finest, handpicked guides in addition to either a Western, bilingual LUXE India host or alternatively a Western ‘virtual’ concierge. They will facilitate and refine an itinerary that has been developed to match destinations, hotels, restaurants and specialists to your clients’ unique tastes and interests.

Beyond their insistence to provide you with the best available guides, experts, LUXE India hosts and facilities, they commit to continually develop new ‘LUXE moments’ to access the romance of India’s past, the underlying reality of her presence and the unprecedented potential of its future.

They believe in doing their part to mold that future. Beyond delivering an excellent product to influential guests, their Corporate Social Responsibility program incorporates donations to charity within core business functions, and by working with governmental tourism bodies they help promote India as a compelling luxury travel destination. Discover the values behind their unique approach to travel, from how they choose their hosts to understanding their passion for great hotels and their unmatched understanding of the destination.

India offers Wows at every turn. Some are expected, but many are not. Take a moment to imagine and explore some of the finest experiences with LUXE India!

Ylan Chrem | Market Development Manager - USA
Luxe India | 313 NE 2nd St # 403 Fort Lauderdale FL 33301 USA
T: +1 305 7852116