The World Travel Market

November 06, 2006 04:00 ET

World Travel Market: Tied in Knots!

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 6, 2006) -

ExCeL, London, Monday 6 November

UK GOVERNMENT estimates of gay and lesbian civil partnerships have tied completely the wrong knot!

Nearly 60 couples a day are registering their "wedded" union and that is at least seven times more than projected.

In the first four months alone, almost 14,000 people were legally registered - making a mockery of official predictions of a maximum of 22,000 by 2010.

Research indicates that 60 per cent of the 3 million gays and lesbians in the United Kingdom are in current relationships and as many as 274,000 will enter civil partnerships over coming years.

It means a boom in the weddings and honeymoon and holiday market, with a potential spend of Pounds Sterling 600 million.

But sections of the travel and tourism industry are in danger of missing out on this business bonanza, it was revealed by Out Now Consulting at World Travel Market today (Monday, November 6) at ExCeL London.

"There are some real horror stories out there, which is the reason why we are working with Out Now Consulting", said Fiona Jeffery, World Travel Market's managing director. "It's clear that the travel industry desperately needs the appropriate kind of training to overcome prejudices and perhaps even ignorance about this potentially expanding revenue stream."

"The civil partnerships market should hold an irresistible appeal to big brands, but sadly many couples are badly treated and shown no respect, "said Ian Johnson, managing director of Out Now Consulting, a gay market specialist agency with offices throughout Europe.

"This is why we are launching GayComfort at World Travel Market, a new online gay sensitivity programme that provides practical guidance to staff working in hotels, venues, airlines, car hire companies, catering firms and other travel and hospitality outlets.

"At hotels, making the customer feel welcome and relaxed from the moment that they check in creates a positive opinion of their stay and couples are much more likely to recommend that particular hotel or its chain.

"Repeat business is big business in the travel market.

"Some of the experiences of discrimination, direct or indirect, from travel industry staff are passed on to us.

"For example, one gay man always makes his partner wait around the corner out of sight as he collects the key from reception for their double room because he is fed up with the frosty attitude of check-in people.

"Another common complaint is that, although couples may not seem obviously gay, the mood changes as soon as it's noticed the booking is for a double bed.

"Some travellers say 'I can't stand it. I'm always holding my breath at check-in when they see two women with a double booking.'"

Johnson adds: "These people don't want anything special, just professional, courteous, respectful treatment - the same as everybody else.

"This year gay and lesbian people in Britain will collectively earn a pre-tax pay packet of more than Pounds Sterling 70 billion. They will take two to three holidays annually. That is a highly attractive target audience.

"But in the UK marketplace, where hotel staff turnover can exceed 25 per cent each year, gay and lesbian couples often encounter an atmosphere of unease and cannot be sure of what sort of welcome they will get.

"Our GayComfort programme is designed to encourage better training, to show how to avoid stereotyping and to give staff very practical guidance on the Do's and Don'ts. At the end of the day, both staff, and customers feel much more comfortable. A true 'win-win' result."

NOTE: Will then need boilerplates re Out Now (eg below), WTM info, the gay travel workshop and we must mention the data source as per our agreements with the data source UK media clients.

Data source: 2005 Out Now Diva and Gay Times Readers Surveys.

6% of UK adults are believed to be lesbian or gay. Source: Whitehall, December 2005.

Established in 1992, Out Now Consulting is a leading source for gay marketing research and strategy, and is a global gay market agency relied upon by organisations involved with lesbian and gay people. Services include market research, training, advertising, public relations and strategy development.

Out Now clients include Barclays Bank, IBM, Toyota, German National Tourist Office, Qantas Airways, British Tourist Authority, Lufthansa, South African Tourism and Citibank.

For further information on the above, key concepts and themes during World Travel Market, exhibitor activity and events, please refer to www.wtmlondon.com.

Contact Information

  • Out Now Consulting
    Ian Johnson
    Managing Director
    UK mobile: +44-7906 553 990 or BE landline: +32-2-514 6443
    BE mobile: +32-4737 60886
    Website: www.OutNowconsulting.com
    or
    World Travel Market
    Press Office
    +44 (0) 1580 201178