How to Successfully Target the LGBTQ Luxury Travel Market

In recent years, the LGBTQ travel market has become one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors, especially for the luxury travel market. 

The main reason behind this is simple. Gay and lesbian couples have more money to spend on holidays than heterosexual couples, as they are less likely to have children and more likely to have a dual income. 

The proof is in the pudding (or statistics), with the overall industry in the U.K worth a whopping £6 billion. Not to mention 80% of gay or lesbian individuals have incomes above the national average, including 40% earning more than $100,000 per year in the USA. 

If you are a luxury establishment that wants to keep one step ahead of the game, then you will want to make this market a priority. If you are not sure where to start, here are a few of our top tips on how to successfully target the LGBTQ luxury travel market.

Offer memorable experiences

The more money a traveller has to spend on a holiday, the more they will be looking for unique and memorable experiences. This is true for all luxury travellers, regardless of their sexual orientation. 

The best way you can do this is by offering personalised experiences to your guests. This could include hand-written notes welcoming them to the hotel, a complimentary voucher for a spa treatment if you know a couple is celebrating their anniversary,  or a list of all the best restaurants in the area if you know your guests are foodies. 

Personalisation goes a long way, especially in the luxury travel market. We discuss this in more detail in one of our recent blogs, Top Luxury Travel Trends in 2020

Essentially, the more you are able to offer bespoke holidays to suit their needs, the more you will stand out as a hotel of choice amongst potential guests.  

By giving them a luxury experience they can’t get elsewhere, you are significantly increasing the likelihood that they will book again. Plus, you will likely have your guest recommending you to their family and friends.

Support the LGBTQ community 

Typically, as long as the destinations are safe to travel to, the LGBTQ community will be open to almost anywhere as a travel destination. 

If your area isn’t well known for supporting LGBTQ tourists, then be sure to show that you are gay and lesbian-welcoming by indicating this on your website and other communications. 

However, it’s important to remember that sometimes, luxury hotels try ‘too hard’ when it comes to promoting themselves as LGBTQ-welcoming. This can include ‘rainbow washing’, which is adding the rainbow flag to all communications, even when it’s not necessary.  

Furthermore, many hotels have a common misconception that the LGBTQ community all search for the same experiences. Remember that the travel needs of each person are influenced by their culture, gender, age and religion, as well as the laws on homosexuality back in their own country. 

So, rather than trying too hard, try catering to their specific needs and show that anyone is welcome in a more subtle way. These guests are just like any other guests and they will want to be treated as such.

Stay ahead of LGBTQ trends

In recent years, more people are identifying as LGBTQ and as a result, acceptance has grown and more and more countries are legalising same-sex marriage. There are now 28 countries where this is legal, including Ireland, where it was legalised just last year. 

Knowing that an ever-increasing percentage of gay and lesbian couples are married, around 17% of gay men and 16% of lesbian women according to the latest research, it is no surprise that the number of destination weddings and honeymoon bookings are soaring within this community. 

So, If you are a luxury hotel that caters to weddings, be sure to take advantage of this trend by updating your messaging to ‘same-sex’ instead of just ‘bride-groom’ language to be more inclusive.

Another trend that you will want to keep in mind, is even though same-sex couples are less likely to have children, this is changing as laws around adopting have relaxed significantly. In fact, in 2018/2019, adoption orders by same-sex couples represented 12% of all adoptions in England and Wales compared to just 7% just five years prior.

This growth in same-sex couples with families means that your hotel should consider nanny services or daycare so that it doesn’t discourage them from booking a luxury holiday with their family.

Take advantage of global trade associations & strategic partnerships

When it comes to your guests, their safety should always be a top priority. To show you are serious about creating a safe environment, join a global trade association, such as IGLTA and TAG

Both of these trade associations include hotels that are LGBTQ-welcoming by adhering to certain criteria, such as providing LGBTQ diversity and sensitivity training to all staff.

You could also consider joining a global LGBTQ consortium, allowing you to be recognised as an LGBTQ-welcoming hotel on the Global Distribution System (GDS). There are currently two GDS codes used by OTAs searching for LGBTQ-welcoming accommodations, more specifically GY1 and GAY.

Finally, you can take it one step further by forming strategic partnerships with high-end businesses (including wellness companies, restaurants or private chauffeur services) that are themselves LGBTQ-welcoming.

Enter the LGBTQ luxury travel market with World Rainbow Hotels

World Rainbow Hotels, a partner of Best Loved Hotels, are experts at bringing together a global community of gay and lesbian welcoming hotels.

They provide luxury accommodations unprecedented visibility and access to the LGBTQ market. Through a centralised platform, they connect hoteliers with over 24,000 agencies making GDS bookings worldwide.

So if you’re keen to tap into the LGBTQ luxury market and receive more bookings from gay and lesbian guests, find out more about their services or register your hotel today.