Safety is among the most important factors in holiday destination choice for LGBTQ+ travelers, according to a newly published research report by MMGY Global.
Titled “Portrait of LGBTQ+ Travelers in America”, the study maps the group’s travel behaviors, sentiments, and attitudes, and is the result of a research sampling of more than 3,000 LGBTQ+ travelers from the United States with supportive input provided by a steering committee of professionals from LGBTQ+ organizations focused on travel, tourism and empowerment of the LGBTQ+ community.
According to the study’s findings, half of LGBTQ+ travelers said that the safety of a destination is a concern when deciding where to go with 52 percent responding that state politics, related to their LGBTQ+ identity, greatly impact their decision to travel.
Thirty-nine percent of respondents said that any negative perceptions locals and other tourists may have of the LGBTQ+ community make them uncomfortable and impact the destinations they choose.
Furthermore, 33 percent said these perceptions impact how they present themselves while traveling in a destination.
The study also found that representation in destination marketing materials is “very/extremely important” to LGBTQ+ travelers with 43 percent saying it would make them feel more confident that the destination they plan to visit is inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community.
MMGY Global’s research found that US LGBTQ+ travelers are on average younger, more likely to be employed and have a lower household income than the average US traveler. The average age of an American LGBTQ+ traveler is 39, compared to 49 for US travelers.
Also, more than 60 percent of American LGBTQ+ travelers fall within the Millennial or Gen Z generations.
Trip Planning and Spending
LGBTQ+ travelers are more likely to travel solo and less likely to travel in pairs than other Americans, with 50 percent of LGBTQ+ respondents saying they travel solo and only 33 percent noting they travel in pairs with the wider US traveler group marking 40 percent in both cases.
However, a nearly equal percentage of both groups report traveling with children (12 percent of LGBTQ+ travelers and 14 percent of U.S. travelers).
On average, U.S. LGBTQ+ travel parties spent 461 dollars on each vacation in 2021 – slightly more than U.S. travel parties (455 dollars).
LGBTQ+ travelers are most motivated by the desire to unwind, relax and explore new places, with more than 8 in 10 respondents citing these as the main motivators for them to travel. Four in 10 are motivated by specific LGBTQ+ events and attractions.
Hotels are the accommodation of choice for U.S. LGBTQ+ overnight travelers (47 percent), but at a significantly lower percentage than U.S. overnight travelers (55 percent). Another 23 percent of U.S. LGBTQ+ overnight travelers stay in non–paid accommodations, typically at the homes of friends/relatives.
MMGY Global is the world’s leading integrated marketing company specializing in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry representing multiple agency brands including travel intelligence. It represents more than 400 travel and tourism marketing experts across the globe.