A few months ago I spoke with a colleague on a press trip. He told me that he did not like the hypocrisy of the hotels that used the gay public for more profit. Are LGBTQ’s the new money machine in the sector and why are they so important?
In 2014 GETA (Gay European Tourism Association) and Grayling did a survey. The first ever research into the size and value of the gay tourism market in Europe shows that gay Europeans spend a staggering 50 billion Euros every year on tourism. The research estimates that the number of out gay people in the 50 states of Western, Central and Eastern Europe is over 26 million, or 2.6% of the total population of 844 million. The European Commission estimates that the direct tourism industry in the Europe Union, which accounts for the majority of European tourism, is worth 5% of GDP, or some 632 billion Euros. This puts gay spending at around 8% of that total. The total gay market for hotels, resorts and other tourism companies in Europe are far greater than this. Europe remains the most popular overseas destination for gay American tourists who are estimated to spend over $64 billion annually on tourism. Add to this the increasing number of gay tourists from South America, Asia, and Australia and GETA estimate the total spend by gay travelers globally is around $200 billion each year. It’s a lot of money… for the travel industry.
The gay traveler
Do LGBTQ’s travel different than straight people? No! They also love culture, going to the beach with their friends or spending a nice weekend in a bungalow or hotel. But they like to be felled welcome because they are gay. And sometimes that’s the problem.
What is the difference then? The way of living! A normal gay couple without children and both with a good job can have a monthly budget between 3000 and 4000 euro (some even more). A lot of gays loves traveling, luxury, party, culture, a good restaurant. They just like a good life. They do not have the costs of families with children (some have it of course). That’s why this group is so important for the travel industry.
The ‘gay friendliness’ of the travel industry
Last year I was on a networking event and talked whit a lady of a 5 star Greek hotel group. She told me that she only spoke with bloggers who represent people with money… so yes, she wanted to talk to me! This is not the first time I hear such a story.
Cruise companies as Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises and Celebrity Cruises offer gay-friendly cruises. In their daily program, they organize ‘social hours for LGBTQ’s’ on board. It’s just a social talk, but a lot of gays love this. They not like ‘only gay cruises’ with a lot of party’s. They just want to enjoy the ship and their partner. And that’s why those cruise companies are showing their gay-friendliness. Gays who want to do a gay cruise can choose between a lot of cruises of Atlantis, RSVP, La Demence, gay sailing, etc. The market is growing fast! Cruises are fully booked and they use ships of Royal Caribbean and Holland America Lines.
A second group is the hotels. They love to have LGBTQ’s in their hotel. Berlin, for example, has the Pink Pillow Hotels. A large group of hotels show their gay-friendliness and give that little extra when u comes in the hotel like a gay map. Other groups of hotels are investing in ‘adult only hotels’ and they are sponsoring big gay events in the city.
Air companies are buying advertisements in gay magazines or online to show that LGBTQ’s are welcome on board. These are small examples of how the travel industry use the group of LGBTQ’s.
LGBTQ’s like that. Why should they go to a hotel or destination that is gay-unfriendly? They can spend their money anywhere!
Hypocritical or not?
Let’s be honest! City’s use of words like ‘diversity’ and ‘fight for your rights’ if they organize a gay pride. But what only counts is the money! The world pride of New York will receive more than 1 million people. Knowing the amount of spending, the city realizes how important this is for their economy! Even a country as Russia knows how important LGBTQ’s are for the economy. You may not show you are gay in the street, but u still can go to a party. Moscow and Sint-Petersburg have a modern gay scene with bars, disco’s and so much more. As long the gays spend their money there, it’s ok!
The travel industry always looks for new markets. They realize that the market of LGBTQ’s is big. They understand the big opportunities in the future. But they also have to realize that it is big business. If you miss the boat, it’s too late!
The question stays: is it hypocritical? Yes of course! A lot of LGBTQ’s get the feeling they are a marketing product. But the most just think…. How more, how better!