According to a recent U.S. national survey conducted by Harris Interactive®, 38 percent of gay and lesbian adults report they are absolutely certain or very likely to take their vacations as planned this year, compared with 34 percent of their heterosexual counterparts. When asked whether they might decide to shorten their vacation, a slightly larger proportion of gays and lesbians, 18 percent, were absolutely certain or very likely to do so versus 15% of heterosexual adults.
In addition, one quarter of gays and lesbians said they were absolutely certain or very likely to take a vacation by air this year, while only 19 percent of heterosexuals would do so. With travelers facing record high gas prices this summer, when the question was asked whether this year’s vacation might be taken by car, nearly a third of gay and lesbian respondents were absolutely certain or very likely to take a car, while 28 percent of heterosexuals were absolutely certain or very likely to do so.
The new nationwide survey of 2,772 U.S. adults, (ages 18 and over), of whom 275 self identified themselves as gay or lesbian (which includes an oversample of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults), was conducted online between May 5 and 12, 2008, by Harris Interactive, a global market research and consulting firm, in conjunction with Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc., a strategic public relations and marketing communications firm with special expertise in the GLBT market.
“The strong appetite for travel often is highlighted among gays and lesbians,” said Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications. “Though gay consumers are not more affluent than others, they appear to consistently budget more discretionary dollars towards travel, even during downturns in the economy such as we face now.” Witeck added that similar research was conducted seven years ago after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and that survey also indicated that gays and lesbians had a higher propensity than heterosexuals to begin traveling again.
Jim Quilty, Vice President and Sr. Consultant for Travel & Tourism Research at Harris Interactive, noted that given this snapshot, “There are clear differentiators and market trends in gay travel that are especially important for destinations and travel suppliers to understand in the current economic cycle. This survey reinforces the resilience of lesbian and gay consumers when other travel spending is curtailed among other demographics.”
Quilty added that Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications are preparing to launch their second annual Gay and Lesbian Travel Survey, to build on their previous comparative findings in the first GLBT-heterosexual benchmark of leisure travel. More details on the upcoming survey may be found at www.harrisinteractive.com/services/glbt_travel.asp