Ed Salvato is an educator in LGBTQ+ tourism marketing (including teaching at NYU and McCombs at UT Austin’s NYC Center). He’s a frequent go-to for the destination sector on all things LGBTQ+ and attracting and meeting the needs of underserved travelers, in general. An engaging public speaker and expert panel moderator.
Ed graduated with a degree in applied mathematics from Harvard University, worked in software and received his MBA from Northeastern. He became a market research expert but always indulged his true passion of travel on the side having explored remote locations in dozens of countries throughout the 80s and 90s. He grew increasingly frustrated with trying to jam all that exotic, self-enriching travel into three weeks of vacations a year. After doing some career therapy he had an epiphany: His true love was traveling and telling people about his trips.
He pivoted to the field of travel writing, which is very similar to market research as it turns out: You gather and analyze data and write a report. But a ‘report’ about the then-emerging destination of Phuket was a lot more interesting for both writer and reader than a report on checking-account use among high-earners in the New England area!
Ed was offered a job as editor in chief of OUT & ABOUT a widely respected editorial-driven subscription-based gay travel magazine based in LA. He moved from Boston to LA to helm the title in 1998. A year later they launched their website, selling gay travel guides in PDF format. Their website was profitable from the first day. The magazine and site were gobbled up by PlanetOut, a new online LGBTQ community which then merged with Gay.com. This new entity, PlanetOut Partners went public in the early 2000s and, among other investments, purchased Out Traveler, a gorgeous nation-wide, print publication with 200,000 subscribers.
Ed became corporate travel editorial director a title which had him overseeing Out Traveler (as editor in chief), PlanetOut.com/travel, Gay.com/Travel, Out Traveler and its companion website, Advocate Travel and Out Travel. In total he oversaw approximately 75% of country’s existing gay travel content. Ed jokingly referred to himself as a gay travel content oligarch!
Since the Great Recession knocked that company on its backside, Ed established a consultancy which still thrives today advising destinations on how to authentically engage with, attract and service LGBTQ visitors. He also conducts sensitivity training for customer-facing hospitality staff (including in French in which Ed is fluent).
Ed is also a full-time instructor in spring and fall at NYU’s Tisch Center of Hospitality teaching undergraduates and graduates tourism and hospitality and a lecturer spring, summer and fall at the University of Texas at Austin’s NYC Center.