Research Shows Half of LGBTQ+ Travellers Have Experienced Discrimination
Research by Booking.com has revealed half of LGBTQ+ travellers have experienced discrimination whilst travelling. With a sample size of over 3,000 LGBTQ+ people from three continents, the research forms part of the wider discussion about what it means to be LGBTQ+ whilst travelling - for work, pleasure, or otherwise.
When asked, 65% of LGBTQ+ travellers surveyed said that they have to consider their safety and wellbeing when picking a destination and over half (58%) believe that traveling 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:
- 56% believe being LGBTQ+ impacts the decisions they make when planning a trip, with 51% saying that it has affected their destination bucket list.
- Over half (55%) report that being LGTBQ+ impacts who they choose to travel with.
- 57% indicate that traveling as an LGTBQ+ person impacts how they behave with their significant other when traveling together.
- Over half (52%) believe being LGTBQ+ impacts how they present themselves during their trip.
These experiences may echo your own, or considerations you've had before even opening up a webpage to look for destinations to visit. However, 87% of LGTBQ+ travelers surveyed believe that the majority of the travel experiences they’ve had so far have been welcoming, which suggests that when LGBTQ+ people do travel, it is overwhelmingly positive, even if there are some instances of discrimination.
Other findings include:
- One in five (20%) have had staff assume they would need separate rooms or beds when checking in as a couple.
- 20% have felt the need to change their behavior - and 16% 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.
- 17% have experienced unwelcoming or uncomfortable experiences while dining at hotel or accommodation restaurants.
- 17% have felt uncomfortable to ask for LGTBQ+ friendly local tips or recommendations
- Accommodation staff or owners have mistaken or incorrectly assumed pronouns or gender for 13% of travelers in correspondence ahead of arrival and for 12% 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 (24%).
- One in three (36%) have experienced a great first impression on arrival such as welcome drinks and/or friendly staff.
- Nearly a third (30%) have had friendly and informative correspondence with the property ahead of arrival/check-in.
- 28% have received guidance/information to the local area during their stay, with 25% being offered this at check-in.
- 21% have been offered LGBTQ+ specific advice or guidance on the area during their stay, with almost one in five (18%) receiving this at the time of check-in.
For Booking.com, these results paint a picture, but also an opportunity to make the industry more inclusive and welcoming for all people, regardless of their identity. Launching the Travel Proud initiative, Booking.com will be providing it's Proud Hospitality Training to accommodation partners. Over the course of a 75 minute training session, put together with help from HospitableMe, accommodations will be able to list that they are Proud Certified to support LGBTQ+ travellers. The aim of the training is to help these accommodations understand travelling from the LGBTQ+ perspective, to better equip them and their staff to support LGBTQ+ travellers with things such as practical techniques and tips.
“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 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.”
The training will be provided free of charge and is rolling out globally.