With 92% of Indian LGBTQ+ travellers having experienced discrimination while travelling, Booking.com is taking action to pave way for everyone to Travel Proud.
India – The term ‘travel’ and its connotations should denote positive experiences, adventure and enjoyment. Yet for many LGBTQ+ travellers from around the world, the reality of travelling can often paint a very different picture. The most extensive LGBTQ+ travel research from leading digital travel platform Booking.com to date shines a light on attitudes, concerns and travel preferences, as well as past stay experiences, current realities and hopes for a more inclusive travel future. Conducted amongst LGBTQ+ travellers across 25 countries around the world, the study shows that negative experiences are most common while travellers are out and about in public, with LGBTQ+ travellers from India followed by Denmark and Mexico indicating that they are experiencing this most frequently.
The reality of LGBTQ+ travel today
With more than 92% of Indian LGBTQ+ travellers having experienced discrimination while travelling, through being subjected to stereotyping (41%) being stared at, laughed at or verbally abused by other travellers (27%) and/or locals (26%), it’s not surprising that LGBTQ+ travellers face the added complexity of navigating a trip from selecting a destination all the way through to the activities they take part in. 67% of Indian LGBTQ+ travellers say that being part of the community impacts the decisions they make when planning. For example, when selecting a destination, 70% of Indian LGBTQ+ travellers report they have to consider their safety and well-being as an LGBTQ+ traveller. 63% of the Indian LGBTQ+ travellers feel that the destinations on their ‘bucket list’ have been affected by being part of the community, while 71% of Indian LGBTQ+ travellers believe being a member of the LGBTQ+ community impacts who they choose to travel with. 73% indicate it impacts the activities they participate in when away.
Promising signs of progress and positivity
While there are many obstacles to inclusive travel for those who identify as LGBTQ+, there are still significant areas where travellers are having positive interactions and experiences. It’s refreshing that over 72% of Indian travellers report that being part of the LGBTQ+ community actually makes them feel more confident as a traveller, with 77% of Indian travellers saying that they do have the confidence to explore the destinations they want to visit.
Community Connection is key
The research from Booking.com also reveals that the LGBTQ+ community of a destination sits at the heart of many LGBTQ+ traveller decisions, and a passion to experience all that this community has to offer is prevalent among the findings where 70% of Indian LGBTQ+ travellers are more likely to travel to a destination that celebrates its local LGBTQ+ community and history. 73% of Indian travellers are more likely to choose travel that allows them to learn more about the historical aspects of the LGBTQ+ community in their chosen destination. While LGBTQ+ travellers want connection with the LGBTQ+ community to enrich their travelling experiences, they also look to brands to support and recognize the community too, with 73% of Indian LGBTQ+ travellers more likely to seek out attractions or activities that are tailored to the LGBTQ+ community.
A more inclusive travel experience for everyone
While LGBTQ+ travellers want a connection with the LGBTQ+ community to enrich their travelling experiences, they also look to brands to support and recognize the community too, with 73% of Indian LGBTQ+ travellers more likely to seek out attractions or activities that are tailored to the LGBTQ+ community. 72% of Indian LGBTQ+ travellers also research accommodations, brands and experiences ahead of booking to understand the role they play in supporting the LGBTQ+ community, and that research leads to 75% of Indian LGBTQ+ travellers being more likely to book with brands that are making an effort to do so.
Booking.com recognizes the important role properties play in providing a more inclusive experience and is taking action to pave the way for everyone to Travel Proud. Launched in August 2021, Booking.com’s Proud Hospitality training program is available in English and French, for its accommodation partners globally There are now also more than 10,000 Proud Certified properties across 95 countries and territories on its platform. Available free of charge to all Booking.com property partners globally, the goal of the training session is to help hospitality professionals understand the challenges and barriers that the LGBTQ+ community face when traveling, providing them with practical skills and techniques that they can immediately put into practice at their property.
“At Booking.com, we believe everyone should be able to experience the world as themselves, always,” says Arjan Dijk, CMO and Senior Vice President at Booking.com. “From taking the time to unwind to experiencing different cultures, travellers from the LGBTQ+ community ultimately want the same as everyone else when it comes to travelling and the industry needs to make welcoming experiences the norm for everyone – no matter who they love, how they identify or where they come from. As a gay traveller myself, I’ve faced barriers to travel and discrimination but have also witnessed progressive change over the years. By taking action to pave the way for a more inclusive industry, we hope to set the stage for wider change that will up the standard of travel for everyone.”