Conde Nast Traveler

« Airlines Haven't Totally Given Up On Edible Food | Main | Photo of the Day: Bicycling in Paris »

April 17, 2009

Chasing Rainbows: What Do Gay Travelers Want?

The Marriott's "OUT in New York" package includes breakfast for two and a charitable donation.
Courtesy of

by Sara Tucker

Now that pink is the new green, gay and lesbian travelers, whose vacation spending boosts the U.S. economy by an estimated $70 billion a year, are being courted as never before. Even New York City, "birthplace of the gay rights movement" and the niche's undisputed grande dame, is out on the street, shakin' her booty with the competition.

Not everyone is amused. When state legislators got wind last summer that South Carolina was being touted abroad as a gay-friendly destination, an international flap ensued and the offending ads were pulled. "Nothing like Southern hospitality," commented Gay Agenda. More recently, Congressman Steve King warned Iowans their state could become a "gay marriage Mecca" if they don't watch out. (Best comeback, from a Political Ticker reader: "Oh my! We can't have gays come to Iowa. That might lead to . . . dancing!!")

Possibly more disturbing, from a marketing perspective, is the growing suspicion that non-heterosexual travelers are an awful lot like heterosexual ones.

In other words, not so easy to target. The notion of a GLBT travel niche is one that marketers in Philly and San Francisco were already calling outmoded ("so nineties") two years ago. The non-heterosexual population is so diverse, they say, that "gay South Carolina" is hardly more useful as a marketing tool than, say, "straight Seattle." Destinations have got to try harder. But how?

For the record: There is some dispute over whether the "pink dollar" actually exists. That said, those wishing to capture some of the much-coveted cash might begin by studying the following partial list:

Things Gay People Like:
* Cruises
* Concierges
* Coffee
* Cowboys
* Beaches
* Food
* Spas
* Traveling with the kids
* Dancing


click to post a comment >

About this blog
The editors at Conde Nast Traveler answer questions and share travel secrets, tips, and dispatches

Twitter: CNTraveler
Email: Daily updates



Featured in Alltop

Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

EXPRESS SIGN-UP Sign up for one of our exciting panels and receive the latest news, travel offers, and event invitations from Condé Nast Traveler and our valued advertising partners.
Traveler Magazine




I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its User Agreement, Privacy Policy, and Mobile Terms and Conditions.

iPhone App:

Create personalized postcards out of your favorite travel photos!

Learn More ›
Subscribe to our free RSS feeds:

Get the latest destinations picks, hot hotel lists, travel deals and blog posts automatically added to your newsreader or your personalized homepage.

Learn More ›

Special Advertisement

Contests, Sweepstakes & Promotions