Gay Travel Statistics
The comprehensive and respected 14th Annual Gay and Lesbian Tourism Study in 2009 was compiled by Community Marketing, Inc. In the year 2009 alone, CMI collected and analyzed over 100,000 gay and lesbian survey responses.
This comprehensive and respected report, which offers valuable insights into the spending power of gay men and lesbians is frequently quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, USA Today and other leading media. The stats below reflect the findings of the CMI in 2007 and 2009:
“Gay men and lesbians travel more, own more homes and cars, spend more on electronics, and have the largest amount of disposable income of any niche market.”
“Lesbians and gay men are a dream market for the tourism industry.”
• Based on tourism industry data, the annual economic impact of LGBT travellers is approximately $63 billion in the US alone.
Gay People have higher disposable Incomes:
• For gay men and women, the average household income is $81,500 per year, almost 80% above the average U.S. household income of $46,326.
• 40% of gay men reported household incomes in excess of $100,000 per year. 36% of lesbians reported household incomes in excess of $100,000 per year.
• Gay men and lesbians with household incomes of $250,000+ travel more, spend more and cruise more than other gays and lesbians and indicate they prefer places that are restful, luxury oriented, and either mostly LGBT or exclusively gay.
• Over 55% of gay men and 65% of lesbians are partnered or live with a significant other.
Higher Incomes = More Travel:
• 83% of U.S. lesbian and gay men have a current passport, compared to 34% of all adult US citizens.
• 85% of lesbians and gay men are more likely to purchase products and services from companies that advertise in the LGBT Media.
• 81% of gay travellers purchased an airline ticket online.
• 77% of gay travellers purchase their accommodations online.
• Gay men and lesbians travel more widely than their mainstream counterparts both domestically and internationally and those with higher incomes travel even more frequently, especially for leisure purposes.
• Last year’s top US destinations are: New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles/West Hollywood. Other top US destinations include: Washington DC, Fort Lauderdale, San Diego, Orlando, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, Palm Springs, Atlanta, Miami, Dallas, Denver, Phoenix/Tempe/Scottsdale and New Orleans.
• Top Canadian destinations for gay US travellers are Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
• Top European destinations for gay US travellers are England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, especially for the higher income gays and lesbians. The United Kingdom and France are of even more interest to those with household incomes of $250,000+
• London is now widely recognized as “the gay capital of the world.” due to its aggressive marketing to the LGBT community abroad, and its support of LGBT issues.
2009 Travel Trends
It is interesting to note that whilst the survey was taken in an economic downturn the largest percentages of respondents reported that compared to the previous year, their overall travel in the past year had remained the same (39%), as had their leisure travel (42%).
More than half of respondents (59%) indicated that their business travel decisions were influenced by their preferences and loyalties as an LGBT consumer.
What motivates gay and lesbian booking patterns?
Gays and lesbians are primarily booking their travel directly via airline and hotel websites (56%) or through online travel agencies such as Travelocity or Orbitz (34%). Direct booking is significantly more important than web-based travel services and so travel suppliers having an LGBT “microsite” with dedicated content is a positive motivator for LGBT consumers.
What are the top motivations for gay travellers?
• The top motivations for choosing a hotel are: its reputation for gay-friendliness and the availability of online information when planning a trip. In considering which hotel they would select when making a hotel reservation for leisure travel, over half (52%) of respondents said they would consider the price of the hotel very motivating. About one-third of participants also thought they would be relatively highly motivated by the hotel’s location near tourist attractions (36%) or a review on the Internet (35%), and by the reputation of the hotel as LGBT friendly (30%).
• The top motivations for choosing a destination are: recommendation from friends (72%), unique attractions, and destinations known for their gay-friendliness.
“Clearly, when destinations show gay and lesbian visitors a good time, that is the best advertising investment they can make.”
“Word of mouth marketing is very powerful among the gay and lesbian community.” (Jerry McHugh, Senior Research Director at Community Marketing)
Permission to publish this data has been kindly granted by:
Community Marketing.Inc, based in San Francisco, California.
Tourism, travel and hospitality leaders interested in obtaining a copy of the latest gay travel data compiled in the CMI’s 14th Annual Gay and Lesbian Tourism Study 2009 may download an order form by visiting: Community Marketing.Inc
For further information or to order the full-report, please contact:
Community Marketing, Inc.
584 Castro St. #834
San Francisco, CA 94114-2512
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