The LGBT travel market started growing in the 1970s when social shifts resulted in more people coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.
The LGBT community has seen a huge increase ever since, and more and more industry players are now broadening their offer to target this segment.
This has led to a rise in specific LGBT travel trends, which can help hotels and travel businesses package their offerings to suit the needs and wants of the community.
As experts in all things LGBTQ travel, we’ve gone ahead and listed out the top trends that will continue to shape the future of one of the fastest-growing markets in the global travel industry.
Greater global acceptance means more LGBT travellers
LGBT individuals are increasingly being met with acceptance worldwide as people have become more welcoming towards gay couples.
This is being reflected in the changing legislature of countries as many have now legalised same-sex marriage.
As it stands, it is legal for an LGBT couple to get married in a total of 28 countries, including Ireland, which legalised it just last year.
As the world is becoming more LGBT friendly, the travel industry has taken note of the increasing demand in the gay travel market, which is predicted to include 180 million travellers by 2030.
Recent statistics have shown that British gay men travel twice as often as heterosexual men.
Gay travellers also tend to spend more on holidays than heterosexual couples, with studies having shown that gay men devote 12% more to non-essentials like travel than heterosexual men do.
This is mainly a result of their DINK status – dual income, no kids – which allows them to have a greater disposable income.
The value of the pink dollar means more LGBT-specific offerings
The pink dollar, the name given to money spent by members of the LGBTQ community, has raised the interest of many in the travel industry.
Recent research by Out Now Consulting has shown that LGBT individuals in the United States spent US$63.1 billion on travel in 2018, representing an almost 2% average annual growth rate.
In Brazil and the UK, the figures were US$26.8 billion and US$11.7 billion respectively.
The impact of the pink dollar is particularly felt in local economies during the annual pride celebrations.
LGBT events and gay Pride parades are important travel motivators in the gay community, with over 20% of LGBT respondents to a recent survey saying they travelled to another city to attend Pride events in the past 12 months.
The largest LGBT event in history, World Pride, took place in New York City last year and saw an attendance of five million people.
As such, local bars, clubs and hotels profit tremendously from the increase in tourism, even during much smaller LGBT events.
Side note: if you’re looking to promote your hotel for a local pride event, have a read of our tips on how to increase bookings for World Pride for inspiration.
Legalising gay marriage means more LGBT honeymoon and family trips
As more and more countries are legalising same-sex weddings, the number of LGBT marriages worldwide is on the rise.
It is estimated that 17% of gay men and 16% of lesbian women today are married.
As a result, LGBT honeymoon trips are rising drastically. In fact, recent figures published by The Guardian indicate that honeymoon bookings have increased by 279% over the past five years.
LGBT honeymoons are one of the biggest growth in the travel market, as hoteliers in top holiday destinations are scrambling to offer romantic packages that appeal to same-sex couples.
And with weddings becoming more popular amongst the LGBT community, so is the idea of raising a family.
It is estimated that around 3% of gay men and 19% of lesbian women have children in the United States, while up to 3.7 million children are thought to have at least one LGBTQ parent.
LGBT millennials are at the forefront here, with 77% saying they are either already parents or are considering having kids in the future.
And with the number of LGBT families increasing, holiday destinations are receiving more and more bookings from same-sex couples with children.
There are a number of destinations that are particularly popular amongst LGBT families. To see if your hotel is located in one of them, have a look at our post on the best LGBT family holiday destinations.
A demand for diverse experiences means travel companies should think outside of the box
A further trend to watch out for is that LGBT travellers are increasingly booking with tour operators that offer diverse experiences in unique destinations.
Gay and lesbian travellers aren’t always looking to visit top LGBT travel destinations, such as San Francisco or the Greek island of Mykonos.
They often crave unique and immersive experiences just as much as heterosexual travellers, as long as the destinations are safe to travel to.
For example, while Las Vegas is not as well-known for having specific LGBT offerings as other locations, it is very popular among gay travellers because of the LGBTQ pool parties hosted by hotels in the city.
As the demand for more immersive trips continues to increase, we advise LGBT travellers to keep safety top of mind while travelling, even while using dating apps like Grindr.
Even in countries where gay rights are protected, ‘gay-bashing’ can be an issue so it’s best to turn off any location feature on apps and only meet strangers in public places.
Be part of the future of LGBT travel with World Rainbow Hotels
As more and more hoteliers and travel companies are updating their strategies to target an LGBT audience, the LGBT travel market is set to have a competitive future.
At World Rainbow Hotels, we bring together a global community of gay and lesbian welcoming hotels, providing them with unprecedented visibility and access to the LGBT market.
We’re experts at marketing hotels to LGBT travellers and are proud to offer our very own LGBT consortia programme.