Effectively targeting gay travel markets explored at World Travel Market


Lesbian and gay travelers have the same wide demographic segments as the straight traveling population. A retired lesbian couple will have very different expectations about their ideal vacation to a 21 year old gay backpacker, yet the traditional view about these travelers within the travel industry has been that there is a single “gay market”.

The industry misperception that gay travelers form a homogenous target market group will be explored and challenged at World Travel Market’s (WTM) Out Now Gay and Lesbian Masterclass on Wednesday November 12 at ExCeL London. For the third consecutive year, WTM has invited leading gay travel marketing experts, Out Now, to present their research and findings on the gay travel market at WTM. This year Out Now will examine the essential knowledge the industry needs to capitalize on the much homogenised, but financially lucrative segment of the international travel industry.

Gays and lesbians account for around 6% of the global population and around 10% of total travel expenditure. WTM’s Out Now Gay Marketing Masterclass will be moderated by Out Now founder and CEO, Ian Johnson. This year’s Masterclass titled Homosexual, not Homogenous – The importance of market segments when selling travel to the lesbian and gay markets, will take an in-depth look at the various different sub-markets within gay travel groups, exploring how to best target each individual sub-category.

According to Johnson, “Most of the travel industry is yet to realize that when targeting the gay travel market effectively, one size rarely fits all. Gays and lesbians are a very diverse group and within the overall market, there are many different identifiable segments of gay and lesbian travelers,” said Johnson. “Out Now has identified important lucrative gay travel cluster segments. We are looking forward to presenting our findings and strategic implications of our work on how to maximize travel revenues and effectively understand how to market to these gay travel segments at WTM. You would not expect a Generation X traveler to share the interests of a retiree or a honeymooner in the mainstream market, and nor should you when it comes to gay and lesbian travellers. There is not a single ‘gay market’, there are many sub-market segments. Our job as market specialists is to help the industry understand which of these segments make the most commercial sense to develop, and to devise and implement strategies that increase revenues by targeting gay travelers.”

Forming the panel for the Masterclass, various gay market experts will provide practical insight into the critical role that market segmentation must play when it comes to marketing to gay travelers effectively. Speakers include Kim Watson, Media Director of Europe’s largest gay media publisher, Millivres Prowler, who will explain how segmentation affects media buying and strategy in the gay media market. Carlos Kytka, the European Ambassador for the peak gay travel industry body, IGLTA (International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association), who will discuss the importance of understanding the diversity that exists in the supply chain of organizations wanting to target gay travelers and Dick Stroud, MD of 20plus30 Consulting, who will cover facts on how older gay travelers differ from younger generations and will discuss the resulting implications for the travel industry.

During the Masterclass, several key gay market segments will be highlighted as case studies including the gay+grey market, the youth market, the lesbian market and the growing market for gay honeymoons. Additionally, the latest value of total gay and lesbian travel spend figures will be discussed along with new research findings about the growing value of gay honeymoons.

WTM Chairman Fiona Jeffery commented, “The gay and lesbian travel segment continues to grow and evolve within the travel industry. WTM continually provides new insight into this rising market and now with more regions and countries officially recognizing gay and lesbian partnerships, the honeymoon and gay travel potential will be key for the industry to understand and capitalize on.”