Word of Mouth Marketing Attracts Gay Travelers

New York City and London are once again the top domestic and international destinations among American gay and lesbian travelers, mostly due to the cities' gay-friendly vibes, reports the 12th Annual Gay & Lesbian Tourism Survey, conducted by Community Marketing, Inc. The top-ranked U.S. cities, which also include Las Vegas and San Francisco, all have either an active visitor's bureau LGBT marketing campaign or host a very large LGBT event. After London, which hosts Pride and the London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, Puerto Vallarta and Paris claimed the top international spots. The majority of the 7,561 respondents, 6,764 of which live in the U.S., said they choose these destinations based on recommendations from friends.

"Clearly, when destinations show gay and lesbian visitors a good time, that is the best advertising investment they can make," said Jerry McHugh, a senior research director with Community Marketing, Inc. "Word of mouth marketing is very powerful among the gay and lesbian community."

Large numbers of LGBT visitors are particularly helpful to smaller destinations like Fort Lauderdale, FL and Palms Springs, CA, which respectively ranked fifth and sixth in the domestic survey, having an even greater impact on the area's tourism than in a larger city, McHugh added.

On average, respondents took five overnight trips in the 12 months prior to the survey, which took place September 5 through October 1. Ninety-four percent spent at least one night in a hotel during the past year and 86 percent traveled by commercial airline.

Full survey results will be released at Community Marketing, Inc.'s eighth International Conference on Gay & Lesbian Tourism, to be held December 2-5 in Fort Lauderdale. Visit [www.communitymarketinginc.com]. (JM)


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