The research sampled more than 3,000 American LGBTQ+ travelers and was devised with input from a steering committee of professionals from LGBTQ+ organizations focused on travel, tourism and empowerment of the LGBTQ+ community.
Among the key findings, personal safety and state politics significantly impact LGBTQ+ travelers’ decisions about where to travel, but cost of travel is the top deciding factor.
One of the key takeaways from the study is that representation in destination marketing materials is “very/extremely important” to this group, with 43% saying it would make them feel more confident that the destination is inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community. Travel marketers should also be aware of additional concerns LGBTQ+ travelers have that influence their decision to travel to a destination, such as:
• Half of LGBTQ+ travelers said that the safety of a destination is a concern when deciding where to go.
• Fifty-two percent of respondents said state politics related to their LGBTQ+ identity greatly impact their decision to travel.
• Thirty-nine percent of respondents said that any negative perceptions locals and other tourists may have of the LGBTQ+ community make them uncomfortable and impact the destinations they choose. Additionally, 33% said these perceptions impact how they present themselves while traveling in a destination.
The following are additional key findings from MMGY Global’s Portrait of LGBTQ+ Travelers in America:
• American LGBTQ+ travelers are on average younger, are more likely to be employed and have a lower household income than the average U.S. traveler. The average age of an American LGBTQ+ traveler is 39, compared to 49 for U.S. travelers.
• More than 60% of U.S. LGBTQ+ travelers fall within the Millennial or Gen Z generations.
Trip Planning and Spending
• LGBTQ+ travelers are more likely to travel solo and less likely to travel in pairs than other Americans, with 50% of LGBTQ+ respondents saying they travel solo and only 33% noting they travel in pairs. This can be compared to only 40% of U.S. travelers going solo and 40% traveling in pairs. However, a nearly equal percentage of both groups report traveling with children (12% of LGBTQ+ travelers and 14% of U.S. travelers).
• On average, U.S. LGBTQ+ travel parties spent $461 on each vacation in 2021 – slightly more than U.S. travel parties ($455).
• LGBTQ+ travelers are most motivated by the desire to unwind, relax and explore new places, with more than 8 in 10 respondents citing these as the main motivators for them to travel. Four in 10 are motivated by specific LGBTQ+ events and attractions.
• Hotels are the accommodation of choice for U.S. LGBTQ+ overnight travelers (47%), but at a significantly lower percentage than U.S. overnight travelers (55%). Another 23% of U.S. LGBTQ+ overnight travelers stay in non–paid accommodations, typically at the homes of friends/relatives.