Kimpton leads hotel brands among gay travelers

UNITED STATES Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants is the lodging brand that has done the best job promoting itself to gay and lesbian American travelers, according to the 15th annual Gay & Lesbian Tourism Study by Community Marketing Inc.

As a write-in, unprompted question, survey respondents were asked which destination, hotel brand and airline have done the best job promoting themselves to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. American Airlines, and Las Vegas remain the top airline and destination brands, while Kimpton moves to the top position for hotels.

Kimpton is named by 13% of respondents as the best-marketed hotel brand to the LGBT community. Also drawing significant mention are W Hotels (11%), Hilton Hotels & Resorts (9%), Hyatt Hotels & Resorts (7%) and Marriott Hotels & Resorts (7%).

The complete report can be downloaded for free.

For the second year in a row, LGBT travelers report an overall decease in travel. However, the decrease was not as steep as the decline for the 12-month period preceding October 2009. From November 2009 to October 2010, LGBT leisure travel decreased only 1% to 3%, but business travel and cruise travel continued significant declines. Staycations saw a second consecutive year of significant increases.

Participants in the survey expressed strong interest in travel in 2011, and indicated that purchasing a delayed major vacation was more important than purchasing other items like cars, furniture or clothing.

For the first time, Washington, D.C. has moved into the number one destination ranking for LGBT business travel. With its concentration of tech companies, cultural facilities, tourism companies, LGBT advocacy organizations and home to many LGBT conferences and business events, business travel to the nation’s capital is strong.

In keeping with ongoing trends, gays and lesbians prefer to travel in a “gay-friendly mix.” Fewer and fewer gay men and lesbians are looking for an “all-gay” environment. However, about a third of LGBT respondents still prefer to travel in an “all-LGBT” environment, and that group trends older in age.

Price and food and beverage offerings tend to trump LGBT-specific incentives for hotel purchases, such as passes to gay events, donations to LGBT non-profits, and LGBT magazine subscriptions.

Approximately 12% of LGBT survey respondents traveled with pets during the last year, involving at least one overnight hotel stay. Lesbians are far more likely to travel with pets than gay men (18% compared to 10%). Almost all pet-inclusive travel involves a dog (87%).