According to a new study by Booking.com, the leading online travel booking platform, 85 % of French LGBTQ + travelers had unpleasant experiences during their stay. Concept “ trip should evoke positive experiences, adventures and fun, but for many LGBTQ + travelers around the world, the reality can often be very different.
This new survey on travel within the LGBTQ + community, the most in-depth that Booking.com has ever conducted, sheds light on respondents’ travel experiences, concerns and aspirations. Carried out among LGBTQ + travelers in 25 countries around the world, the study shows that negative experiences are significantly more common in public space, for 32 % of French respondents.
The reality of LGBTQ + travel today
The study reveals the barriers to inclusivity that still exist for LGBTQ + customers when they travel. For 48 % of the surveyed French LGBTQ + persons, raise rhymes on rest and relaxation. But in reality, their entire travel experience is affected by a number of additional considerations that people outside the LGBTQ + community do not have to think about.
According to the study, 61 % of French LGBTQ + travelers have experienced discrimination during their travels, in particular by being exposed to stereotypes (30 %) or be the subject of insistent glances, teasing or insults from other travelers (21 %) or the local population (20 %). Clearly, LGBTQ + customers face additional difficulties when choosing destinations or activities:
- 55 % of respondents believe that affiliation with the LGBTQ + community influences the planning of their stay.
- 66 % of French LGBTQ + people say that they should think about their safety and well-being when planning their trip.
Promising signs of progress and a positive attitude
Although there are many barriers to inclusive travel, the experience of LGBTQ + travelers remains overwhelmingly positive. 85 % of them believe that the majority of their travel experiences have been positive so far, with homosexuals most agreeing with this impression (90 %).
Another plus point, 82 % of respondents feel safe enough to explore the destinations of their choice.
The local LGBTQ + community is a significant factor
Booking.com’s surveys also reveal that a destination’s LGBTQ + community is central to many decisions made by LGBTQ + travelers who value what the local community has to offer during their stay:
- 55 % of LGBTQ + travelers are more likely to travel to a destination that pays homage to their local LGBTQ + community and history.
- 1 out of 2 respondents (50 %) are more likely to choose a trip that allows them to learn more about the history of the LGBTQ + community at their destination.
If LGBTQ + travelers want to connect with the local LGBTQ + community to enrich their travel experiences, they are also looking for inclusive brands. So 48 % of respondents are more likely to search for attractions or activities designed for LGBTQ + customers. 52 % also research accommodations, brands and experiences before booking to understand their role in supporting the LGBTQ + community. This study leads to 58 % of respondents to book more with brands engaged in these issues.
A more inclusive travel experience for everyone
Although there are positive developments and aspects in LGBTQ + travel, the tourism sector needs to make travelers’ experiences from this community even more positive and inclusive in order to meet their needs and expectations. When LGBTQ + travelers were asked about their expectations of travel companies, the results were clear:
- 40 % of French respondents would like to receive recommendations that better suit their preferences and areas of interest.
- 24 % of travelers surveyed would like more information about the situation of the LGBTQ + community at the destination, including local laws, religious sensitivities, dress codes and hate crime statistics LGBTQ + people.
- 26% would also like to see filters that allow them to identify establishments that provide a positive experience for LGBTQ + travelers.
Booking.com recognizes the important role that properties play in providing a more inclusive experience. The company is taking steps in this direction, especially through its Travel Proud initiative. The Proud Hospitality training program was launched in August 2021 and is available in French, English, German and Spanish and is aimed at Booking.com partners worldwide. Today, more than 10,000 companies in 95 countries and territories have obtained the Proud Certified Certificate, including more than 2,300 companies in France.
The goal of the 75-minute Proud Hospitality online training (developed in collaboration with HospitableMe) is to help hospitality professionals understand the challenges and barriers the LGBTQ + community faces when traveling. During this session, these professionals develop skills and techniques that they can immediately apply in practice in their company. This training is available free of charge to all Booking.com partner properties. It includes access to additional resources, such as the Travel Proud Guide, which Proud Certified properties are encouraged to make available to their customer-facing staff. The latter can use it to answer questions more securely from LGBTQ + travelers and make them feel more welcome.
After completing this online course, Proud Certified partners commit to providing a more inclusive experience and receiving a Travel Proud badge, which is displayed on their property page. The latter indicates to potential customers that they can expect a more inviting experience and assures LGBTQ + travelers that the companies in question are obliged to offer a more inclusive experience to their customers. Selected cities with multiple Proud Certified properties are also featured on a dedicated Travel Proud page, where travelers can learn more about the initiative and book stays at Proud Certified properties.
At Booking.com, we believe that everyone should always be able to explore the world while being themselvesexplains Arjan Dijk, CMO and Senior Vice President at Booking.com.
Travelers from the LGBTQ + community want to do the same as everyone else: relax and learn about other cultures. The travel industry must provide positive experiences to all categories of customers, regardless of gender they identify with, sexual orientation or origin. As a gay traveler, I myself have been exposed to barriers and discriminatory behavior during my travels, but I have also witnessed positive changes over the years. By taking steps to pave the way for a more inclusive industry, we hope to be part of a broader development that will improve travel conditions for all.
This study was commissioned by Booking.com and conducted independently with a sample of 5,514 LGBTQ + travelers from the following countries and territories: Argentina (100), Australia (300), Belgium (100), Brazil (250), Canada (402), Colombia (150), Croatia (101), Denmark (100), France (500), Germany (502), Hong Kong (100), India (201), Israel (101), Italy (300), Japan (200), Mexico (151), The Netherlands (250), New Zealand (100), Spain (200), Sweden (102), Taiwan (100), Thailand (100), Great Britain (502), USA (502) and Vietnam (100) . This survey was conducted online in April and May 2022.
Booking.com was founded in 1996 in Amsterdam and has grown from a small Dutch start-up to one of the world leaders in digital travel. Part of Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), Booking.com’s mission is to make it easier for everyone to experience the world when it’s safe to do so again. By investing in technology that helps take the friction out of travel, Booking.com seamlessly connects millions of travelers with memorable experiences, a variety of transportation options and great places to stay – from homes to hotels and more. Booking.com is one of the largest travel platforms in the world and serves both large groups and individuals. It enables institutions of all sizes around the world to reach out to international clients and develop their business. Booking.com is available in 44 languages and offers more than 28 million accommodations, including more than 6.4 million houses, apartments and other unique homes. Regardless of your destination and your wishes, Booking.com simplifies your travels and guarantees you assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.