New Booking.com Research with LGBTQ+ Travellers Reveals Both Significant Barriers and Opportunities for Everyone to #TravelProud
- Half of UK LGTBQ+ travellers (53%) report that they have experienced some form of discrimination when travelling
- More than half (55%) have had less-than-welcoming or uncomfortable experiences at a property where they were staying
- Booking.com introduces Proud Hospitality program to support accommodation providers in delivering more inclusive and welcoming experiences for LGBTQ+ travellers
LONDON, 4 AUGUST 2021 - Leading digital travel platform Booking.com released new research revealing that half of LGBTQ+ travellers (53%) in the UK have experienced some form of discrimination when travelling. Conducted with 3,052 LGBTQ+ 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.
LGBTQ+ Travel Today
According to the research, 68% of the LGBTQ+ travellers in the UK say they have to consider their safety and wellbeing as an LGBTQ+ traveller when picking a destination and almost two thirds (63%) believe that travelling as part of the LGBTQ+ community means that some destinations are off limits. These extra considerations for LGBTQ+ people extend across the entire planning and travel journey for more than half of those surveyed:
- 58% believe being LGBTQ+ impacts the decisions they make when planning a trip, with 50% saying that it has affected their destination bucket list.
- Over half (54%) report that being LGTBQ+ impacts who they choose to travel with.
- 57% indicate that travelling as an LGTBQ+ person impacts how they behave with their significant other when travelling together.
- Over half (54%) believe being LGTBQ+ impacts how they present themselves during their trip (e.g., clothing, makeup choices, etc).
While these insights expose the concerns that weigh on many LGBTQ+ travellers’ minds, there are also more promising signs and green shoots of progress in the industry. 87% of LGTBQ+ travellers surveyed believe that the majority of the travel experiences they’ve had so far have been welcoming.
Spotlight on the Stay
According to the research, LGBTQ+ travellers report having had a mix of welcoming and awkward encounters when it comes to the accommodation experience during their trips. In fact, more than half (55%) have had less-than-welcoming or uncomfortable experiences at a property where they were staying, including:
- One in four (25%) have had staff assume they would need separate rooms or beds when checking in as a couple.
- 24% have experienced staff or accommodation owners at check-in incorrectly assuming their relationship to their travel companion/companions.
- 23% have felt uncomfortable to ask for LGTBQ+ friendly local tips or recommendations.
- Interactions with other guests account for the most often reported source of less-than-welcoming or uncomfortable experiences, reported by over a quarter of those surveyed (26%).
Despite these negative experiences, it’s heartening to see that over half of LGTBQ+ travellers have felt welcomed most of the time (58%) during their stays, with those surveyed highlighting that interactions with staff throughout their stay (57%) and the check-in experience (47%) are the most important factors in creating a comfortable, welcoming stay. Other positive accommodation experiences revealed by the research include:
- One in three (36%) have experienced a great first impression on arrival such as welcome drinks and/or friendly staff.
- Nearly a third (32%) have had friendly and informative correspondence with the property ahead of arrival/check-in.
- 26% have received guidance/information to the local area during their stay, with 25% being offered this at check-in.
- 24% have been offered LGBTQ+ specific advice or guidance on the area during their stay, with almost one in four (23%) receiving this at the time of check-in.
More Welcoming Stays for Everyone
As evidenced by this research with LGBTQ+ 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 LGBTQ+ travellers - and ultimately for everyone.
To that end, today Booking.com is announcing its Proud Hospitality training programme 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.
“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 Arjan Dijk, CMO and Senior Vice President at Booking.com. “As a gay traveller myself, I share some of these same concerns, but also equal amounts of optimism for a better future. One in five LGBTQ+ 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.”
*Note to editors:
Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 3,052 LGBTQ+ travellers from the UK (500), the United States (500), Canada (400), 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 travellers 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.