CommunityPam's House Blend

Where the gay travel dollars go

More interesting data on the gay market, this time on travel habits and demographics, from Community Marketing, Inc., a San Francisco-based firm.

This information is from the organization’s annual Gay & Lesbian Community Survey, which analyzed responses from over 24,000 gays and lesbians.

It highlights why the travel industry can’t afford to buckle to the pressure from the right. It’s bad for business.

* 98% of respondents indicated that a destination’s gay-friendly reputation influenced their decision to visit there.

* 59% said gay welcoming hotels were very important.

* Gay and lesbian travelers took an average of six overnight trips in the last 12 months, including an average of three short (three or fewer nights) and two long (four or more nights) trips for leisure, and one trip for business.

* 96% of respondents took at least one short leisure trip in the last year, compared to 56% of mainstream travelers. 33% took five or more short trips.

* 87% took at least one long leisure trip; 16% took five or more long trips.

* 55% of respondents took three or more overnight trips in the last 12 months where they traveled to the destination by air. 33% took five or more.

* October, September, and February (in that order) were the top vacation months chosen by survey participants, demonstrating the non-peak seasonal preferences of gays and lesbians.

* 15 is the median number of hotel nights. Five was the median for car rentals in the last year.

* 51% of respondents had taken a cruise vacation. 31% had cruised in the last two years.

* 28% extended a business trip for leisure; 25% traveled for a pride festival; 22% took a casino vacation.

* Top US destinations: 30% visited New York; Las Vegas 25%; San Francisco 24%; Los Angeles/West Hollywood 24%.

* 36% had visited Canada in the last year. 33% had visited Latin America or the Caribbean. The most visited other North American destinations: Toronto 9%, Puerto Rico 9%, Puerto Vallarta 9%, Montr?Šal 8%,Vancouver 8% US Virgin Islands 7% and Cancun 7%.

* 29% visited Europe in the last 12 months. Top European destinations: United Kingdom 12%, France 9%, Italy 8%, Germany 7%, Netherlands 7% and Spain 6%


* Median household income of US respondents is $87,500; 2000 US Census indicates a $41,994 household income.

* Median age of US respondents is 44 years. Median age of Americans (from the 2000 US Census) is 35.

* 84% of US respondents hold a valid passport, as of CMI’s 2003 report (national average is 23%).

* 73% belong to a frequent flyer program, up from 67% in 2003. National average is about 27%.

* 53% spent $5,000 or more per person on vacations in the past year.

* 72% are college/university graduates (national average is 29%); 34% continued on to achieve post-graduate degrees.

* 24% of the population had obtained a bachelors or higher degree, according to 2000 US Census.

* 76% of those who took the 2005 survey are gay men, 20% are lesbian.

* 62% are in a committed relationship; 6% have children at home; lesbians are almost three times as likely as gay men to have children at home. 33% of all US households have children under 18, according to the 2000 US Census.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding