LGBTQ+ travel has been one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors worldwide for a few years now, and it doesn’t look like that will change in 2020. The gay travel market is currently worth £6bn in the United Kingdom and is predicted to include 180 million LGBTQ+ travellers by 2030.
At World Rainbow Hotels, we bring together a global community of gay and lesbian welcoming hotels, providing them unprecedented visibility and access to the LGBTQ+ travel market. As such, we experience the changes occurring in the LGBTQ+ community – whether in terms of demographical shifts, preferred holiday destinations or travel motivators – first hand.
So without further ado, what LGBTQ+ travel trends can we expect to see in 2020?
(1) LGBTQ+ demographics will change
In recent years, people have become more accepting of same-sex relationships. A 2016 study found that 63% of Americans thought that homosexuality should be accepted by society, compared with 51% in 2006. As such, the number of people that are coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans is on the rise.
In the UK, the latest statistics show that 2% of the population (1.1 million people) identify as LGBTQ+, up from 1.8% in 2015. As there is less social stigma attached to a person’s sexual orientation, we predict this upward trend will continue in 2020. Targeting LGBTQ+ travellers through your hotel’s brand identity will thus become more important than ever before.
Similarly, the idea of raising a family is becoming more popular amongst same-sex partners. It is currently estimated that between 2 and 3.7 million children have an LGBTQ+ parent, while 200,000 of them are being raised by LGBTQ+ couples. If your hotel is located in an LGBTQ+ friendly family destination, expect to see more same-sex families amongst your guests next year.
(2) LGBTQ+ honeymoon trips will increase
More and more courts worldwide are passing landmark rulings to grant people that identify as gay and lesbian the right to marry. It comes as no surprise then that same-sex marriage, and LGBTQ+ honeymoon trips, are becoming more norm. In fact, the global growth in gay and lesbian honeymoons is one of the hottest growth trends in the LGBTQ+ market, having a profound impact on the tourism industry.
Statistics show that today, 17% of gay men and 16% of lesbian women are married. In the last five years, LGBTQ+ honeymoon bookings have increased tremendously – by 279% to be exact. So if you’re located in a top honeymoon destination for LGBTQ+ travellers, your hotel should focus on offering special honeymoon packages for 2020. Just make sure that your marketing efforts aren’t overshadowed by ‘rainbow washing.’ Being subtle in your promotion will work just as well. Here are some tips on how to promote your hotel’s LGBTQ+-friendly reputation.
(3) Safety will be more important than ever
Despite having made significant progress in the last year, over 70 countries still criminalise same-sex relationships. As such, choosing an inclusive holiday destination that is accepting of gay travellers is crucial. The LGBTQ+ Danger Index was created by ranking the 150 most-visited countries using different factors such as whether same-sex marriage had been legalised. Sweden was named the most LGBTQ+-friendly country in the world, with Canada, Norway, Portugal and Belgium following closely behind.
Unfortunately, there are still cases of LGBTQ+ travellers facing wide-spread discrimination and threats while abroad, as the recent case of an LGBTQ+ tour operator receiving death threats after launching a holiday to Ethiopia has shown. LGBTQ+ travellers are advised to keep safety top of mind while travelling in 2020, especially when using dating apps like Grindr and Scruff. 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.
(4) Expect an increase in LGBTQ+ luxury travel
A US study has found that married same-sex couples tend to have a higher income. In fact, the household income of a partnered gay man tends to be $13,400 higher than that of a partnered heterosexual man.
What’s more, through their DINK status (dual income, no kids), gay travellers tend to have a more disposable income, and spend more on holidays, than heterosexual couples. In fact, research has shown that gay men devote up to 12% more to non-essentials (such as travel) annually than heterosexual men do.
As a result, many LGBTQ+ guests look for luxury offerings at hotels, especially when paired with a restaurant dinner or spa visit. Luxury hotels that are able to customise their offerings to LGBTQ+ customers will see a particular increase in bookings and RevPAR in 2020.
Target the LGBTQ+ travel market in 2020
Join the World Rainbow Hotels community to stay ahead of LGBTQ+ travel trends and welcome more LGBTQ+ guests at your hotel in 2020.