Successfully marketing to LGBT+ travellers will be firmly in focus at two WTM London sessions this year, which will each highlight this lucrative and growing sector with an estimated annual travel spend of $218 billion.
Specialist marketing agency Out Now presents its latest consumer research and trends during one session on Tuesday, What’s Next for LGBT Travel in the 2020s, and another on Wednesday titled How to Earn and Expand LGBT Travellers’ Brand Loyalty.
Previous research has revealed how LGBT+ travellers tend to spend more money on holidays every year than heterosexual consumers. According to a Gaydio survey of UK consumers, run in partnership with TTG Media earlier this year, they splash out an average of 17% more on leisure travel.
But choosing a destination is not so simple for LGBT+ holidaymakers, with 70 countries still criminalising consensual same-sex sexual acts between adults. Based on ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) research, this includes 11 with the death penalty, though it’s not currently enforced in some of these countries.
With this background, it’s not surprising the vast majority of LGBT+ travellers (83% according to Gaydio’s research) say worries about a country’s laws continue to have a major influence on their destination choice.
The situation is not necessarily getting better around the world, with ILGA identifying Poland, Bulgaria, Serbia and Kosovo as countries in Europe where LGBT+ rights have been reduced over the past year. However, there is also progress in many destinations, one example being Taiwan, which legalised same-sex marriage earlier this year – becoming the first country in Asia to make this move.
Ian Johnson, founder of Out Now, moderates both LGBT+ sessions and reveals the latest research looking at issues such as the unique difficulties faced by families with LGBT+ parents and whether they think it’s easier or harder to travel today as an LGBT+ person than 10 years ago.
Another focus is on the importance of travel organisations training staff and improving their LGBT+ awareness, particularly when choosing appropriate accommodation for clients.
Also appearing is Leah Chandler, chief marketing officer of Discover Puerto Rico – a Caribbean destination leading the way in the region in attracting LGBT+ visitors.
Puerto Rico was named the LGBTQ Destination of the Year by Gaycities.com in 2018 and is one of only seven Caribbean islands with same-sex marriage rights, which has made it a leading venue for LGBT+ weddings since legalisation in 2015.
The percentage of LGBT+ consumers preferring to spend money on destinations where they are treated equally under the law
annual travel spend of LGBT+ holidaymakers worldwide
nations offering constitutional or “broad” protection against LGBT+ discrimination
number of countries that still criminalise same-sex acts