Monthly Archives: May 2012

Gay Homestays goes mobile!

Last week we were happy to announce that we had finally launched our iPhone app and it is now available to download for free from the iTunes store. But why download it and what is so good about it? We sat down with one of our customers in Manchester to give it a test-run and asked them to review it for us.

The walkthrough: On the app’s homepage you can search for a room by entering your chosen destination, check-in and check-out dates and the number of people looking for a place, before giving you a list of all the available properties for your chosen dates. Clicking on one room or apartment will load that page, allowing you to view its pictures, see where it is on the map, read reviews (if any) and a description of the place, see how much it is (you can also change the currency), as well as the host’s bio if they have filled out their info.

If you want to book that room or apartment you can ‘request a booking’, which will be sent straight to the host who will reply as quickly as possible (usually within 24 hours) as to whether they and their place is available when you want it. If it is, you are then sent a reply asking if you want to book it. You can use this app not only as a customer but also a host so you can also list your own property to rent out and make money.

The Review:

The interface: “The layout is basic yet compact, but that’s not a bad thing – it’s easier to navigate and very quick to get the hang of.”

The features: “The app has the same features as on the website, so it’s not exactly like a down-graded version and you can do everything on it as you can on the original site. It’s probably more convenient for customers and hosts who are always on the move – no need for a computer and no longer need to use your mobile’s internet to access the full site either.”

Positives: “It is very simple to use and not too clustered. The quality of the graphics is also really good and file size-wise it’s not a very big app so doesn’t take up a lot of memory on the phone.”

Negatives: “Can sometimes be a bit slow to load some pages with pictures that are too big when using 3G, but connecting to a wireless network is better.”

The app is compatible with the iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4S, iPod Touch (3rd and 4th generation) and the iPad, requiring iOS 5.0 or later. While the iPhone app is our first-stepping stone into the mobile world, in the future we hope to expand this further afield to developing one Android as well, so watch this space… In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the iPhone app!

A breath of ‘FreshAir’: the world’s first “gay airline”.

A couple of weeks ago it was announced that Lufthansa had launched the world’s first ‘gay airline’ or ‘gayline’ called FreshAir – which would “fill the gap left by traditional, boring airlines and to satisfy the increasing demand by all sorts of consumers – sporting a rainbow of tastes and sexual orientations – for services provided in a gay atmosphere.”

The service will operate from 27 June to 1 July to coincide with the EuroGames, a usually annual LGBT sporting event that is not to be confused with the Gay Games, which will take place in Budapest, Hungary this year. The airline’s motto is: “We all play the same, no matter which team we belong to” and they say they have “strong grip or rather, a gentle, but firm massage” on participants and spectators’ travel options from 32 countries around Europe. To see what separates FreshAir from other airline services, take a look at their official advert below, where they “shake things differently”:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qjsbFE0iLk]

The five-day sporting event will be host to 18 sports, 3800 athletes, 2200 supporters, and 4000 visitors, as well as help promote tourism and culture and also five days of conferences that will talk about human rights, minority issues, equal representation and business opportunities.

While Budapest does have a well-known and growing gay community, Budapest Pride has not always been rosy; in past years, the event and the parade has been dogged by protesters and police and political opposition… Perhaps this year, when Pride takes place on 7 July, things will be different and more positive?

Are you planning on going to Budapest for the EuroGames or for Pride? If so, why not book a place at one of our numerous hosts in the city? We have seven great accommodations to choose from!

Shanghai Pride set for June

China is usually always a difficult place to have oneself heard, especially when it comes to something as controversial as LGBT rights. Such topics surrounding this are normally unspoken of by the government and media and are seen as a taboo by the general public, but in recent years some encouraging progress has been made. Shanghai Pride, the first LGBT pride event of its kind in the People’s Republic of China is now entering its fourth consecutive year and is set to be held in June, the same as its first year. During the past two years it was in October.

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Due to law forbidding any public gathering of more than 50 people without state approval in China, there will not be a parade, but instead activities such as picnics, parties in some of Shanghai’s few but vibrant gay bars and clubs, film nights, talks, discussions and many more, will take place from 15-23 June. Profits raised from Shanghai Pride will go towards setting up an LGBT centre in the city.

One must remember that Shanghai Pride is run by expats and it is predominantly other expats who have participated, although every year has seen more local people and companies getting involved in organising it and its events, even at the risk of getting into trouble. Even though being gay is not illegal in China, Shanghai Pride has hit various obstacles with authorities in the past, such as some events being cancelled or postponed or its website being shut down.

 

While a gay-friendly and open attitude in China is still a long way off compared to other countries, you may find the indifference a lot of people have will not hinder you at all. Gay China may be a small and very much underground world, but it’s gradually growing and certainly has the potential to be big enough to make an even more positive impact there.

Have you ever been to China or would you go to Shanghai Pride in the future? To read more about LGBT issues in China, click here.