In a few weeks it will be legal in New York State for all members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) community to get married. There will be a surge in weddings and honeymoons. Are you poised to participate and develop a profitable revenue stream to this ‘must buy’ niche? The buying power of this market is tremendous, and below is a review of the LGBT leisure traveler.
According to Forrester Research, this market of more than 7 million consumers generates more than $41 billion per year on their personal and leisure travel. They also tend to be more engaged with online travel booking than straight travelers. In comparison to the rest of the travel population, the incidence of rental cars and flights is much greater, but to successfully sell to LGBT travelers you must understand that your success depends on offering the right travel content – in the right way.
The Right Content, in the Right Way, is Key to LGBT Travel Success
Getting your content right is the most important element in developing a successful LGBT leisure travel business strategy. It is more important than social media, more important than mobile and more important than marketing. Why, because next to content, everything else is window dressing.
Travel firms that lack relevant content have nothing distinct to sell to LGBT travelers. I would also like to add that this goes for the rest of the population. In developing your content remember to keep the following in mind:
Sell both LGBT and general travel products. Forty-nine percent of LGBT leisure travelers take trips to visit family and friends, so provide easy access to and promote your mainstream message and content.
Make it clear why a destination or hotel is LGBT-friendly.
LGBT leisure travelers have unique concerns. For example, is it acceptable for same-sex couples to hold hands in public? Are there LGBT-friendly neighborhoods, restaurants or clubs?
Will hotel check-in be pleasant or awkward? These are not unimportant details as 31 percent of LGBT travelers avoid cities/destinations where they feel the welcome mat has been rolled up and 32 percent avoid hotels where written or visual copy fails to make them feel welcome.
This is about business--$41 billion worth, to be exact--not politics.
There are some destinations and service providers that have benefited from this alliance, such as Philadelphia whose VisitPhilly.com site includes a link to LGBT content, Kimpton Hotel & Restaurants and Expedia to name a few.
Do make sure your LGBT content is ‘upfront’ and visible, not hiding behind pages of other things: preferably starting out on the ‘home page.’
Some Key Demographics to Keep in Mind About LGBT Travelers
Average Age: 42 years
Household Income: $77,325.00
Married/partnered: 49 Percent
Vacation of Four to Seven Days: 7 Percent
Vacation of Eight or More Days: 26 Percent
I am in the process of featuring all hotels and travel suppliers who focus on this market segment on www.marrycaribbean.com. Caribbean hotels and suppliers, please do not hesitate to send me relevant information on your company/hotel for inclusion.
For more information please do not hesitate to contact me: [email protected] or [email protected].
Jacqueline Johnson is President/CEO of Global Bridal Group, LLC, a media marketing company that provides comprehensive bridal and honeymoon guidance through interactive-target marketing utilizing the following websites: www.MarryCaribbean.com, www.CaribbeanWeddingAssociation.com, www.GlobalWeddingResource.com. For more information on the bridal market, write to her at [email protected].