View Recording: HospitableMe’s LGBTQ+ Diverse Audience Training Program, “Everyone Welcome”


To accelerate our community’s efforts to extend a genuine invitation to diverse audiences, Explore Asheville engaged with HospitableMe, a global leader in inclusive hospitality, to deliver their signature LGBTQ+ diverse audience training program, “Everyone Welcome.”

In this session, co-founders Billy Kolber and Kenny Porpora discussed the challenges LGBTQ+ people face when traveling and best practices for marketing to and engaging with LGBTQ+ consumers and communities. They also addressed evolving language, the growing market, unconscious bias, and ways we can collectively and individually do better in making diverse guests and customers feel more welcomed.

About The Presenters

Billy Kolber, Co-Founder and CEO

Billy Kolber is the Co-Founder and CEO of HospitableMe, providing inclusive hospitality strategy and training for tourism, retail and healthcare organizations, helping them provide a more respectful and inclusive welcome to historically excluded customers and guests. He has a degree in Biology, but has spent his entire career in travel, running an American Express travel agency before launching OUT&ABOUT, the first gay and lesbian travel magazine in the USA. At HospitableMe, he has advised some of the world’s more storied brands, including, NYC & Company, The Kering Group, Discover Puerto Rico, The Travel Corporation, Bottega Veneta, AIG Travel, and Costa Navarino. Billy traveled and sang around the world with the Yale Whiffenpoofs and is a two-time annual Pie Contest champion in Water Island. A 3rd generation native New Yorker, has visited 76 countries, and currently lives with his husband in Frankfurt, Germany.

Kenny Porpora, Co-Founder and Vice President 

Kenny Porpora is the Co-Founder and Vice-President of HospitableMe, providing inclusive hospitality strategy and training for tourism, retail and healthcare organizations. Trained as a journalist at Columbia, he has created and curated content for some of the most prominent destination marketing organizations in the world. Kenny is the New York Times best-selling author of The Autumn Balloon and his work has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, Buzzfeed, Salon and others. He has traveled to more than 25 countries and is a self-proclaimed puppy dog enthusiast.