Booking.com reveals the challenges LGBTQ+ travellers still face
Booking.com has released its most extensive LGBTQ+ travel research to date, revealing that 71% of LGBTQ+ travellers have experienced less than welcoming, or uncomfortable, experiences while on holiday.
Conducted among LGBTQ+ travellers across 25 countries around the world, the study shines a light on attitudes, concerns and travel preferences, as well as past stay experiences, current realities, and hopes for a more inclusive travel future – one where they will be choosing to spend with businesses who support LGBTQ+ owned businesses or those that are shown to be community-friendly, and inclusive. In fact, 62% of LGBTQ+ travellers were more likely to book with brands that are making an effort to support the community.
With nearly half (46%) of LGBTQ+ travellers having experienced discrimination while traveling, through being subjected to stereotyping (26%) being stared at, laughed at or verbally abused by other travellers (13%) and/or locals (16%), it’s not surprising that LGBTQ+ travellers face the added complexity of navigating a trip from selecting a destination through to the activities they take part in. 54% of LGBTQ+ travellers say that being part of the community impacts the decisions they make when planning. When selecting a destination, 61% report they have to consider their safety and wellbeing as an LGBTQ+ traveller and nearly half (43%) feel that the destinations on their ‘bucket list’ have been affected by being part of the community, while 47% indicate it impacts the activities they participate in when away.
As a result, the LGBTQ+ community is increasingly looking to travel with brands that clearly communicate where travel is inclusive and listen to the needs of the community – such as indicating when businesses are LGBTQ+ owned. More than half of LGBTQ+ travellers (48%) are likely to seek out attractions or activities that are tailored to the LGBTQ+ community. The same number (48%) also research accommodations, brands, and experiences ahead of booking to understand the role they play in supporting the LGBTQ+ community.
Booking.com’s study suggests that the opportunity does not end once a trip is booked. LGBTQ+ travellers are eager to connect with the LGBTQ+ community, history, and attractions when on holiday. Showcasing where vibrant communities exist and LGBTQ+ history is celebrated and accessible is a relatively untapped area of the market. Indeed, 65% of LGBTQ+ travellers are more likely to travel to a destination that celebrates its local LGBTQ+ community and history. Over half (51%) are more likely to choose travel that allows them to learn more about the historical aspects of the LGBTQ+ community in their chosen destination.
Personalization is one way the industry can better respond to the LGBTQ+ traveller’s needs. Of those surveyed, 31% would like more tailored recommendations for their preferences and interests. A further 36% would like additional information shared on the LGBTQ+ status of the location, including local laws, religious sensibilities, clothing mandatories, and LGBTQ+ hate crime stats. Three in 10 (33%) would like to see filters that allow them to identify properties that offer a positive experience for LGBTQ+ travellers.
Booking.com Travel Proud
Booking.com recognizes the important role properties play in providing a more inclusive experience and is taking action to pave the way for everyone to Travel Proud. Launched in August 2021, Booking.com’s Proud Hospitality training program is available in English, French, German and Spanish for its accommodation partners globally, and now has more than 10,000 Proud Certified properties across 95 countries and territories on its platform, including more than 1,400 in the UK.
The goal of the 75-minute online Proud Hospitality training session (developed in partnership with HospitableMe) is to help hospitality professionals understand the challenges and barriers that the LGBTQ+ community face when traveling, providing them with practical skills and techniques that they can immediately put into practice at their property. The training is available free of charge to all Booking.com property partners globally and includes access to additional resources, such as a Travel Proud Customer Toolkit, which Proud Certified properties are encouraged to make available to all guest-facing staff so that they can confidently answer questions and provide an even more welcoming experience to their LGBTQ+ guests.
Upon completion of this online course – and the commitment to deliver a more inclusive experience – Proud Certified partners receive a Travel Proud badge on their property page to show potential guests that they can rely on a more welcoming experience – putting LGBTQ+ travellers at ease in the knowledge that the properties they are selecting have committed to making more inclusive hospitality their standard. A selection of cities with multiple Proud Certified properties are further showcased on a designated Travel Proud page, where travellers can learn more about the initiative, as well as find and book Proud Certified properties.
Arjan Dijk, CMO and Senior Vice President at Booking.com said: “At Booking.com we believe the industry is uniquely placed to support everyone in experiencing the world as themselves, always. From searching and booking accommodation to planning trips and looking to support local LGBTQ+ owned or supportive businesses, there’s an opportunity for the industry to enable, inform and support the LGBTQ+ community to travel the world and experience different cultures. The potential is largely untapped. And as a gay traveller myself, I’ve faced barriers to travel and discrimination but have also witnessed the progressive change over the years. By taking action to pave the way for a more inclusive industry, we hope to set the stage for wider change that will up the standard of travel for everyone.”
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