New Booking.com research reveals barriers and opportunities for Australian LGBTIQ+ Travellers to #TravelProud
- Half of LGBTIQ+ travellers (46%) report they have experienced some form of discrimination when travelling
- Half have had less-than-welcoming or uncomfortable experiences at an accomodation
- Booking.com introduces Proud Hospitality program to support accommodation providers in delivering more inclusive and welcoming experiences for LGBTIQ+ travelers
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, 31 AUGUST 2021 - During a week that prior to lockdowns would have seen thousands of Australians head to Winter Pride in New Zealand, today leading digital travel platform Booking.com has released new research revealing that half of Australian LGBTIQ+ travellers have experienced some form of discrimination when traveling.
With travel restrictions resulting in this year’s Winter Pride in New Zealand cancelled, and this key moment of travel and celebration put on hold for LGBTIQ+ communities, it’s more important than ever to reflect on the challenges they face. Whilst we can’t come together physically to celebrate pride, that doesn’t mean the conversation stops too.
Conducted with 3,052 LGBTIQ+ travellers across three continents*, the new study shines a light on attitudes, concerns and travel preferences, as well as past stay experiences, current realities and hopes for a more inclusive travel future.
LGBTIQ+ Travel Today
According to the research, 66% say they have to consider their safety and wellbeing as an LGBTIQ+ traveller when picking a destination and over half (57%) believe that travelling as part of the LGBTIQ+ community means that some destinations are off limits. These extra considerations for LGBTIQ+ people extend across the entire planning and travel journey for more than half of those surveyed:
- 61% believe being LGBTIQ+ impacts the decisions they make when planning a trip, with 52% saying that it has affected their destination bucket list.
- Over half (60%) report that being LGBTIQ+ impacts who they choose to travel with.
- 61% indicate that travelling as an LGBTIQ+ person impacts how they behave with their significant other when travelling together.
- Over half (59%) believe being LGBTIQ+ impacts how they present themselves during their trip (e.g. clothing, makeup choices, etc).
While these insights expose the concerns that weigh on many LGBTIQ+ travellers’ minds, often before they’ve even booked a single aspect of their trip or arrived at their destination, there are also more promising signs and green shoots of progress in the industry. 89% of LGBTIQ+ travellers surveyed believe that the majority of the travel experiences they’ve had so far have been welcoming. Despite the barriers and challenges that remain, this underscores an underlying optimism amongst LGBTIQ+ travellers and a growing opportunity for the travel industry to do even better to create more welcoming experiences for everyone.
Spotlight on the Stay
Central to their wider travel experience, according to the research, LGBTIQ+ travellers report having had a mix of welcoming and awkward encounters when it comes to the accommodation experience during their trips. In fact, almost half (48%) have had less-than-welcoming or uncomfortable experiences at a property where they were staying, including:
- One in five (22%) have had staff assume they would need separate rooms or beds when checking in as a couple.
- 27% have felt the need to change their behavior - and 15% to change their appearance - to avoid judgement or awkward interactions with accommodation staff or owners.
- 19% have experienced staff or accommodation owners at check-in incorrectly assuming their relationship to their travel companion/companions.
- 15% have experienced unwelcoming or uncomfortable experiences while dining at hotel or accommodation restaurants.
- 17% have felt uncomfortable to ask for LGBTIQ+ friendly local tips or recommendations
- Accommodation staff or owners have mistaken or incorrectly assumed pronouns or gender for 12% of travelers in correspondence ahead of arrival and for 13% of those when arriving at the desk.
- Interactions with other guests account for the most often reported source of less-than-welcoming or uncomfortable experiences, reported by nearly a quarter of those surveyed (23%).
Despite these negative experiences, it’s heartening to see that over half of LGBTIQ+ travellers have felt welcomed most of the time (54%) during their stays, with those surveyed highlighting that interactions with staff throughout their stay (53%) and the check-in experience (53%) are the most important factors in creating a comfortable, welcoming stay. Other positive accommodation experiences revealed by the research include:
- One in three (34%) have experienced a great first impression on arrival such as welcome drinks and/or friendly staff.
- Nearly a third (28%) have had friendly and informative correspondence with the property ahead of arrival/check-in.
- 24% have received guidance/information to the local area during their stay, with 28% being offered this at check-in.
- 22% have been offered LGBTIQ+ specific advice or guidance on the area during their stay, with almost one in five (18%) receiving this at the time of check-in.
More Welcoming Stays for Everyone
As evidenced by this research with LGBTIQ+ travellers, and despite some positive signals, a substantial portion of the global population doesn’t feel like they can show up as themselves when they travel. Booking.com believes this presents the industry with a real opportunity to make the travel experience easier, more inclusive and more welcoming for LGBTIQ+ travellers - and ultimately for everyone.
To that end, today Booking.com is announcing its Proud Hospitality training program for its accommodation partners. The core of the Travel Proud initiative and the first step for an accommodation provider to become a Proud Certified property on the Booking.com platform is a 75-minute online Proud Hospitality training session that the company has developed in partnership with HospitableMe.
Focusing on the unique challenges and barriers that the LGBTIQ+ community faces when travelling, the goal of the training is to help hospitality professionals see things from a potentially different perspective and provide some practical skills and techniques that they can immediately put into practice. After completing the online course and making a commitment to deliver a more inclusive experience, Proud Certified partners will receive a Travel Proud badge on their property page to show potential guests that they can rely on a welcoming experience. Cities with multiple Proud Certified properties will also be showcased on a designated Travel Proud page, where travelers can learn more about the initiative, as well as find and book properties that are Proud Certified.
“Everything we do at Booking.com is about enabling smoother and more enjoyable travel experiences for everyone - no matter where they come from, who they love or how they identify,” said Tracey Foxall, Regional Manager Oceania at Booking.com.
“One in five Australian LGBTIQ+ travellers say they are hopeful about being able to travel without restrictions or limitations in the next five years. We firmly believe we can get there together and that everyone should be able to experience the world as themselves, always.”
The training is available free of charge to Booking.com property partners and includes access to additional resources, such as a Travel Proud Customer Toolkit, which Proud Certified properties are encouraged to make available to all guest-facing staff, so that they can confidently answer questions and support LGBTIQ+ travellers more fully.
The program is now available in English and rolling out to partners in the United States, Canada, the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, with new territories and languages being added over the course of 2021 and into 2022.
*Note to editors:
Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 3,052 LGBTIQ+ travellers from the United States (500), Canada (400), the UK (500), the Netherlands (251), Germany (501), France (500), Australia (300) and New Zealand (100). The survey was taken online and took place in June & July 2021.
Part of Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), Booking.com’s mission is to make it easier for everyone to experience the world whenever it’s safe to do so again. By investing in the technology that helps take the friction out of travel, Booking.com seamlessly connects millions of travelers with memorable experiences, a range of transportation options and incredible places to stay - from homes to hotels and much more. As one of the world’s largest travel marketplaces for both established brands and entrepreneurs of all sizes, Booking.com enables properties all over the world to reach a global audience and grow their businesses. Booking.com is available in 44 languages and offers more than 28 million total reported accommodation listings, including more than 6.6 million listings of homes, apartments and other unique places to stay. No matter where you want to go or what you want to do, Booking.com makes it easy and backs it all up with 24/7 customer support.