Metro Weekly

Gay travel survey finds leisure trips up, New York City a big draw and free WiFi important

Key_West_Southernmost_Point.jpgFor the 18th year, San Francisco-based Community Marketing, Inc. (CMI) has released key findings from its annual LGBT travel survey.

Here are CMI’s top ten research findings for 2013:

  • There was a modest increase (5%) in LGBT leisure travel over the previous year. However, the trend towards a decrease in business travel continued from recent years. 
  • LGBT travelers identified Hilton as the large brand and Kimpton as the boutique brand doing the best jobs of outreaching to the LGBT community during the past year. 
  • Among LGBT Americans who traveled to another destination and spent at least one night in a hotel, New York City remains the number one most-visited destination by LGBTs, with Chicago and San Francisco tied for second. 
  • When selecting a hotel, free WiFi is a major motivator for over 70% of LGBT community members. Only a hotel’s price rated higher (at over 80%).
  • Among LGBT parents, researching and selecting a hotel that is “child-friendly” becomes more important than selecting a hotel that is “LGBT-friendly,” although both are important. 
  • Over 70% of LGBT travelers consider themselves to be a “planner” when arranging a vacation, with fewer than 15% considering themselves as “spontaneous” in their travel choices. 
  • Over 75% of LGBTs under age 45 use their mobile devices for travel information. And among those who use their mobile devices, over 80% are using them to find local restaurants, and nearly 60% use mobile devices to research local attractions. 
  • For survery participants who had taken a honeymoon, there is no clear favorite same-sex honeymoon destination. Responses varied widely across the United States, Canada and Europe. The destination with the highest number participants was Hawaii, but the honeymoon destination only represented 7% of couples. This may improve with Hawaii’s recent recognition of marriage equality. 
  • Pride events continue to play an important role in motivating LGBT travel. And younger LGBTs are even more likely to travel to another city for a Pride event than older LGBTs.
  • The LGBT media and mainstream media play an equal role in influencing the travel decisions of gay men and lesbians.

More than 3,000 members of the LGBT community from across the United States participated in CMI’s study conducted in the autumn of 2013. The research was presented at CMI’s 14th Conference on LGBT Tourism & Hospitality held in Fort Lauderdale last month, and the complete report is now available at

Troy Petenbrink is Metro Weekly's contributing writer for food and travel. He can be reached at