Exploring the travel tendencies of the European LGBTQ+ community
Pride month, celebrated each year over the course of June, is a time to recognise the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals have had on history, and the struggle that many within this community continue to face at present. As we close this celebratory month, it is worth exploring the travelling tendencies of the members and allies of this community.
Travellyze, ITG’s travel analytics tool, provides a wealth of information on European travellers who value LGBTQ+ factors when deliberating on their choice of holidays. From this group, we can explore key demographics, looking into who makes up this group, what they look for when travelling, where they ideally would like to spend their holidays, to name a few.
Who is the European LGBTQ+ friendly traveller?
They are mostly female, making up 54% of the segment, 22% are within the ages of 25-34 and 35-44, whilst the vast majority have a vocational level of education. Around a quarter have a household income of €18,000-35,999, whilst 34% are looking to spend €1,000-2,999 throughout the year during their holidays. 45% also replied saying that their holiday budget will be the same as last year.
From which sources do they get their inspiration for their travels?
According to data harvested from Travellyze, family and friends make up the most important source of inspiration for European LGBTQ+ friendly travellers, with 65% of this segment claiming them as favourites. Social media networks also play a very important role, with Instagram, Facebook and YouTube making up 40%, 33% and 32% of traveller inspirations respectively. Indeed, online content is very important for this cohort, with search engines such as Google and Bing, and online reviews sites including TripAdvisor continuing to make up the top five most important sources.
However, some offline sources do play an important role. This is primarily made up of TV, with travel programmes making up 31% and TV advertising 26%, with the latter seeing a 29% rise since 2020 levels. Furthermore, despite the trend amongst travel agencies to go online, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic, physical travel agency stores are said to influence 28% of European LGBTQ+ friendly travellers, 4% higher than online travel agencies (OTA’s).
What factors play a role in their holiday decision-making?
Considering the impacts of the pandemic, cleanliness, health and hygiene standards and easy access to health and medical facilities all make up the top factors for this segment of travellers. An International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association poll at the end of 2021 found that 73% of respondents had plans to go on their holidays by the end of last year, and executives at several LGBTQ+ travel companies had seen increased bookings (Skift, 2021). These are promising indicators following the pandemic. However, and despite destinations re-opening and restrictions loosening in most European destinations, many of these travellers continue to be worried about the virus when travelling. It is of great importance that destinations continue providing the appropriate measures to satisfy these needs.
The other profile we can identify with this cohort is that of an “active tourist”. A desire for “active” holidays is a growing trend, with said tourists looking for activities carried out mostly in natural environments, requiring some level of physical exertion. In this regard, 41% of European LGBTQ+ friendly travellers look for nature/outdoor experiences. Furthermore, a similar 41% share concerns regarding the environment and sustainability. They can also be said to look for new and exciting experiences of the destination’s attractions, with 42% looking for new experiences.
How do these travellers book their holidays?
34% claim to use price comparison sites such as Momondo, Trivago and Skyscanner. Booking accommodation directly via its website also proves to be a highly popular option, amassing 33%, followed by booking separate flights and hotels online via different booking portals / travel agencies. OTAs also continue to be equally as popular with another 33% stating to use them.
Where would they like to visit, and where have they had the most positive experience?
One destination that overwhelmingly stands out amongst this segment is Spain. Out of the 130 destinations in the Travellyze index, it comes 3rd in destination image. A destination’s image is made up of a comprehensive algorithm taking into account a destination’s perception, experience and awareness. Regarding awareness, answering how much a segment knows about the destination’s offering, Spain comes first, whilst internal Spanish destinations such as Madrid and Girona make up the top six most popular destinations in terms of the perception of the destination by those who are yet to visit.
Meanwhile, regarding the experience of those who have already visited, Spain again does the best out of all other destinations. It is also the country that most travellers have already visited (receiving 60%, 10% more than any other destination).
This should not come as a surprise. Spain has largely been heralded as a prime destination for the LGBTQ+ community, with progressive laws and liberal attitudes being a motive for this community.
Darren Burn, the CEO of OutOfOffice.com, a luxury tour operator specialising in LGBTQ+ travel, reported to Skift that this demographic “remains one of the most loyal and lucratively rewarding in terms of revenue per passenger” (Skift, 2021). Speaking to National Geographic, John Tanzanella, president of the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association also stated that “this is a loyal community that loves to travel multiple times a year and spends a lot every time”. Coupled with the right marketing campaigns and data to supply them (such as that provided by Travellyze), LGBTQ+ travellers represent a key opportunity for destinations that they should look to capitalise on.