These are the early findings from a survey being run by LGBT marketing consultancy Out Now, which is collecting data about travel firms’ attitudes towards the LGBT sector.
Of the 462 respondents, which largely comprise travel agents, operators and accommodation providers, 62% have allocated resources to directly target the LGBT market. Most of this spending has only taken place since 2012, with 58% of all those that have targeted LGBT travel having started doing so since that time.
Some 17% only began marketing to the LGBT sector in 2015. Of those that have started targeting the LGBT sector however, 19% said they believed they had made mistakes when doing so.
Ian Johnson, chief executive of Out Now, admitted that this was a common predicament, particularly for businesses new to the LGBT market. “One key thing to watch is avoiding the use of rainbows in any campaigns you build for this market. The consumer is aware you want their business, but if promotions feature rainbows strongly they will fear you do not really understand their concerns as travellers and may take their business elsewhere.
“Communicate visible awareness and genuine comfort in welcoming LGBT guests, without seeming superficial or opportunistic,” he said.
“There is still a lot of work to do in making sure operators better understand what to do – and what things to avoid – when targeting this market.
“Since Out Now started in 1992 we have seen huge changes in market awareness and willingness by organisations to target the market. But we know from our LGBT2030 research that the fact that one in five of the travel industry survey respondents admit to having made mistakes is concerning, as there is another portion of respondents who will not even realise they made mistakes. The target consumer will have judged their efforts negatively.”
Out Now’s global LGBT travel survey for the tourism industry will continue collecting data until September 15, 2015, at welcome.LGBT. The final results will then be presented by Out Now at the Welcome.LGBT Tourism Marketing Masterclass at WTM on November 4, 2015.
Out Now Business Class will host the official LGBT Village at WTM, which has increased in size since last year. It will feature several returning exhibitors such as Fort Lauderdale CVB, Millivres Prowler (publisher house of Diva and Gay Times) and Out Now. There will also be several new exhibitors including The Ku Group, Two Bad Tourists and Marketing Manchester.