Gay-friendly staff important to UK tourism, research says

According to research commissioned by the UK’s luxury gay travel companion, Les Deux Messieurs, gay-friendly hotel staff are ‘very important’ to LGBT travellers when making their hotel and holiday choices.

The research conducted by Out Now Consulting, a marketing agency that provides specialised gay marketing services to large companies by researching gay lifestyles and using the information to develop strategies to target gay and lesbian consumers, found that 92 percent of respondents across the UK, Europe and the US cited that gay-friendly staff were a consideration when booking a stay away. According to 54 percent of respondents, whether the hotel staff was gay-friendly played a ‘very important’ part in choosing holiday accommodation.

Knowing a hotel to be gay-welcoming is key, according to Hugh Wright, editor at Large at les Deux Messieurs. ‘If there’s one thing we’ve learned from our travels, it’s that knowledge is key. Because, despite what the law says, gay couples are not always welcome. We hope that recent rulings against two different B&Bs at opposite ends of the UK, and action taken by a major hotel chain following an incident in one of their London hotels will see hoteliers take a more considered approach to same-sex guests.’

And when it comes to holiday travel, gay-friendliness is not just about the welcome by hotel staff. Gay couples consider whether they will feel comfortable at all stages of their stay, not just at check-in.

‘The hospitality industry should take note. Welcoming gay travellers makes absolute sense and needs to be reflected right across the holidaying experience. Gay travellers shared some horrific tales with us when we were conducting our research; behaviour that just isn’t acceptable. It’s one thing to be greeted warmly at reception, but if the room service attendant makes you feel awkward (or vice versa) that good work is undone,’ Wright said, adding, ‘Where’s the joy in staying in a gay friendly hotel in the country if the moment you step outside for a pint, the locals start hurling abuse at you or glower like you don’t belong? Knowing how you’ll be treated, as well as what the area has to offer, matters.’

The research also revealed how important LGBT travellers are to UK tourism.

The poll, which surveyed 560 people in the UK and US, found that the UK is a top destination for gay travellers. In the UK, 71 percent of respondents said that they intend to enjoy UK breaks more than once during 2013, with 28 percent planning to holiday in the UK at least three times. Some travellers from the US said they also had plans to visit the UK more than once this year.