Q & A with Gay & Lesbian Travel Guru, Desiree Sousa!

I was recently asked a series of questions for a project I am working  on within the travel industry. 
1.) How long have you been a gay & lesbian travel specialist?
Ever since I started out in travel, back in 1996, I have specialized in gay & lesbian travel. As a lesbian I was always shocked at the lack of  gay & lesbian travel information to be found on the Internet. After doing intensive research via guide books and newspapers, I started to discover the vas amount of options that were out there. In 1996, at the ripe old age of 20, I started working for numerous travel agency’s as their “gay & lesbian travel expert.” After three years of experience I decided to start my own business. In 1999 Out & About Travel, www.gaytravelpros.com, was born. Since then it has been my goal to list all the gay & lesbian travel options available.
2.) Do you have industry certifications specific to your niche?
Yes. In 2007 I had briefly merged Out & About Travel with Liberty Travel in Rhode Island. During that time I took the ‘Rainbow Travel Specialist’ course and passed with flying colors! 😉 Some other certifications I have are ‘Ski Specialist’ as well as ‘Universal Orlando’ and ‘Walt Disney World’ specialists.
3.) What training have you had specific to your travel niche?
I graduated with a ‘Masters Course in Travel’ back in 1999. Beside the travel course I completed, I have read just about every gay & lesbian travel guide (and non gay travel guides for that matter) out there. I have also traveled extensively and stayed at many gay & lesbian popular resorts throughout North America and Canada. Also, as mentioned above, I took the ‘Rainbow Travel Specialists’ course through Liberty Travel and was certified.
4.) Do you have the support of industry contacts or special sources to help with client bookings?
Yes! I am happy to say I have a fantastic working relationship with all of the gay & lesbian tour companies out there. I’ve been booking with many of them for over ten years now, including Atlantis Events, RSVP, Olivia, Zoom Vacations, OutWest Adventures, Alyson Adventures & Pied Piper Travel. I am on a “first name” basis with many of the workers and have had amazing luck securing spots on trips offered by such companies.
5.) In your opinion what is the most important benefits you can provide clients who book with you?
Well, the first think is customer service. We are literally there for our clients 24/7. We provide all of our clients with agent access via personal cell phone numbers. No matter what time of the day or night, you can contact us with any problems you may run into. We are all (shamefully) addicted to our Blackberry’s as well, so chances are, if you email us at 3am, you will get a response! 🙂
Another benefit, and one we are quite proud of, is the fact that after 11 years in business, we still do not charge a service fee! Many agencies have reverted to charging customers to work on a customized quote. We do not. We will spend as long as it takes, researching your trip, and making sure each segment is to your liking, all at no cost to you. We do this in good faith that the client will, of course, book through us in the end.
We also have a price match guarantee! I know a lot of people like searching for “deals” online these days. What they don’t realize is that we have the SAME deals. Find something you like? Let us know. We will handle everything for you, get the same rate and take any worry/stress off of you.
6.) Anything else you’d like to share?
If you are considering travel, please feel free to send me an email at info@gaytravelpros.com or call me at 1-800-842-4753 to discuss your vacation plans in detail.
Desiree Sousa
Out & About Travel
3 Responses to “Q & A with Gay & Lesbian Travel Guru, Desiree Sousa!”
  1. Linda says:

    Desiree, I have been with your company for almost eight years now, and have booked many trips and several cruises with you. You truley are like family. You always offer quality vacations that are affordable and classy and are always peppered with your personal touch of suggestions and offers. Thanks for being such a faithful travel agent……..I will surely be a faithful client……take care, Lynn

  2. Nono says:

    Desiree, your presentation and comments about your business are awsome.
    Best regards and Big succes!

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