Photo Credit: Uriel Mont
Booking.com Survey Reveals Travel Barriers And Concerns Of LGBTQ+ Travelers
Travel website Booking.com recently conducted a study of LGBTQ+ travelers to research their travel experiences. The study was based on information provided by 3,052 travelers across North America, Europe, and Australia who identify as LGBTQ+.
The study found that half of those surveyed have experienced discrimination when traveling. More than half said that being LGBTQ+ has an impact on their decision-making when planning for travel and affects who they choose to travel with and what locations they choose to visit.
“According to the research, 65% say they have to consider their safety and wellbeing as an LGBTQ+ traveler when picking a destination and over half (58%) believe that traveling as part of the LGBTQ+ community means that some destinations are off limits,” said the Booking.com press release.
This concern for their safety affects every aspect of their travels, including things like their clothing and makeup choices and how they behave and interact with their significant other during their travels.
More than half of respondents have felt uncomfortable at accommodations they were staying in.
Reasons for their discomfort have sometimes been due to staff assumptions about their gender or pronouns, assumptions about their relationship to a travel companion, or assumptions about them needing separate beds or rooms.
Other reasons have included feeling unwelcomed at a hotel’s restaurant, negative interactions with other guests, and feeling uncomfortable to inquire about recommendations for local LGTBQ+ friendly places or activities.
However, despite having negative experiences, the research shows that 87% of the LGTBQ+ travelers surveyed have found most of their travel experiences welcoming; 57% have felt welcomed the majority of the time at their accommodations and 36% have received great first impressions from friendly and helpful staff while checking in.
While these are positive findings, overall the survey revealed the need for improvement in the travel and hospitality industry with regard to making LGTBQ+ travelers feel welcomed and comfortable. To work towards this goal, Booking.com created the Proud Hospitality training program for its accommodation partners as part of its Travel Proud initiative.
Through the program, Booking.com accommodation partners can become Proud Certified and receive a Travel Proud badge they can display on their property. Booking.com customers will be able to search for accommodations that are Proud Certified.
The first step in this process is having their staff take a free 75-minute Proud Hospitality training that’s been developed in partnership with HospitableMe, a global leader in inclusive hospitality. The training aims to show different perspectives and teach practical skills to hospitality professionals that will aid them in providing a more inclusive experience. The training also includes access to the Travel Proud Customer Toolkit, which can further assist properties in supporting LGBTQ+ travelers.
“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 Booking.com CMO and Senior Vice President Arjan Dijk.
“As a gay traveler myself, I share some of these same concerns, but also equal amounts of optimism for a better future. One in five LGBTQ+ travelers 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.”
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