After two abysmal years for the travel market, things are starting to look up. Hawaii, which saw the number of hotel room nights purchased there plummet, has started to record a sustained uptick for the past six months. Other destinations, from Berlin to Washington, D.C., are starting to see visitors return, room nights increase, expenditures on food, attractions, souvenirs, etc go up. This is all good news.
Even the gay travel market suffered its first year-over-year decreases in 2008 and 2009 from the prior years. This was a shocking revelation since even during other recessions, including the period right after 9/11, this market showed its resiliency, bouncing back after a only cutting back on travel. No incompetent shoe bomber was going to deter us from heading to Provincetown for July 4!
It’s because of the gay market’s sustained then increased demand for travel that many destinations started to market to this segment in an intentional and thoughtful manner. Hell, if travel was down, and little green men were coming to your destination, you’d probably roll out the Martian carpet.Still, LGBT marketing efforts took root and from that point till this day many hospitality-related companies continue to market aggressively to lesbian and gay travelers.
Statistical and anecdotal evidence suggest that the gay market, as well as its mainstream counterpart, is finally showing signs of sustained life. Tour operators are reporting hugely increased bookings; guesthouses are booking iup; and at least one major Atlantiis cruise is already appearing as ‘sold out’ in their website. Prices haven’t shot up which is good news for consumers and an indication of the perceived fragility of this uptick in business. Nonetheless, it’s a sign that hope indeed springs eternal.