Guest Post: Hospitality excludes $568.5BN in revenue by not targetting LGBT travellers

Guest Post: Hospitality excludes $568.5BN in revenue by not targetting LGBT travellers

Jamie Love, CEO and founder of marketing agency Monumental shines a light on why this market stands out for its 'immense potential'

When we look at travel, one market stands out for its immense potential: the LGBT community. Yet, despite wielding a staggering $183 billion in spending power, only 32% of marketers consistently engage with this lucrative audience. 

The numbers don't lie. The LGBT travel market is booming, with an annual spend of $218 billion and projected growth to $568.5 billion by 2030. Seventy-two percent of LGBT individuals prefer brands that authentically represent and support them, driving home the importance of genuine connection in today's marketplace.

But it's not all sunshine and rainbows. More than half of LGBT travellers report uncomfortable experiences at hotels, while a staggering 95% of LGBTQ+ business travellers hide their sexuality on work trips. It's time for the hospitality industry to step up and create safe, welcoming spaces for all travellers.

Research from the United Nations World Tourism Organization confirms what we already know: LGBT travellers are frequent flyers with above-average spending habits. Brands that prioritise transparency and authenticity not only boost their bottom line but also earn lifelong advocates.

Where’s the gap?

The gap is authenticity, consistency and continuity - and here’s why:

  • Authenticity

Simply adding a Pride flag isn't enough to be inclusive. You have a chance to define what diversity, inclusion, and equity mean to your brand. Taking a clear stance is the first step toward creating a welcoming environment. Just saying "we are diverse" isn't enough. This sets the stage for better communication both internal and external to your organisation, giving your diversity efforts a real purpose and clear direction.

  • Consistency

The major error brands make is treating this as merely a checkbox task. Often, it's reduced to a single Pride month post, mistakenly assuming that this satisfies diversity efforts for the year. LGBT travellers desire ongoing engagement, not just during designated months. It doesn't have to be flashy or stereotypical; seamlessly integrating inclusive messaging across digital and traditional channels can engage these audiences across various touchpoints and throughout their stay at your venue.

  • Continuity

Inclusive experiences do not stop when a booking is made, they continue even well after the guests have checked out. However, how is the guest experience tailored to welcome diversity? Take same-sex couples for example. From my own experience, I’ve often been asked whether I’d prefer a twin room upon checking in with a same-sex partner. Inclusive experiences drive belonging. Belonging drives brand advocacy. 

How to successfully engage diverse audiences

First and foremost, this is not an HR exercise, nor is it a nice-to-have. The economic business case for diversity speaks for itself. If your hotel is in a position to truly authentically and consistently engage with the community with real continuity then this should be treated as the untapped revenue opportunity that it is.

It will require commitment and some hard conversations. Some companies are well-versed in these situations and can support the development of the business case, diversity foundations, engagement plan and finally the execution to successfully communicate with minority audiences. 

Through work with hotels of all types from hostels to luxury resorts, there has to be a unique understanding of developing a diversity marketing strategy that delivers impact. That’s the real difference between tokenistic diversity and true diversity. Embracing true diversity delivers bottom-line results. It isn’t just good ethics - it’s good business.