The company began focusing more on the LGBT segment last year, training 10 LGBT travel specialists, following the TTG LGBT Conference, held in July, which was aimed at educating those who attended the on how to sell travel to the LGBT market.
Mark Duguid, vice-president commercial and product management at Kuoni, told TTG that the company was now assessing whether to increase its number of specialists. “We thought long and hard about it and wanted to do it carefully to avoid pink washing,” he said, adding, “The heart of what we do in this area is less about product and more about the customers and their comfort levels, and the advice we can give them.” He said Kuoni would reassess the situation in the second quarter of the year.
“We will see where we are and look to see how many more we need – maybe even the same number again,” he explained. “Many gay and lesbian couples already book with Kuoni, so this is really about stepping things up and making sure the sales team are knowledgeable about the legal and cultural positions of the destinations Kuoni sells.”
While it is difficult to establish firm statistics on general travel trends for same-sex couples across all Kuoni products, he said, it was possible to capture data on same-sex honeymoons. “That’s grown 279 percent in five years and we’ve seen a 76 spike spike just in the past two years since the legalization of same sex marriage here. There is real growth opportunity in the market.” He identified The Maldives, Thailand and the USA as the top three honeymoons for same-sex couples.
At about the same time that Kuoni announced its plans to expand its LGBT marketing team, Trulia—it is a San Francisco-based an online residential real estate site for home buyers, sellers, renters and real estate professionals—took the occasion of Gay Pride Month to list the Top Ten Gay and Lesbian neighborhoods in the U.S. For each ZIP code in the U.S., Trulia calculated the share of households that are same-sex male couples and same-sex female couples, based on the 2010 Census. Then, it combined the Census data on where gay people live with median price per foot of listed homes in each ZIP code on Trulia over the past year.
Overall, the Census reports around 646,000 same-sex households in the U.S., which is just 0.6 percent of the country’s 117 million households. Of the same-sex households, 51 percent are female couples and 49 percent are male couples, which means that 0.3 percent of all households are male couples and 0.3 percent of all households are female couples. But, as Jed Kolko, chief economist for Trulia pointed out, many neighborhoods have a concentration of same-sex couples more than 10 times that national average.
Top 10 Gay Neighborhoods in USA—Male
|ZIP Codes with highest concentration of same-sex male couples||Share of Households|
|94114 Castro, San Francisco, Calif.||14.20%|
|92264: Palm Springs, Calif.||12.40%|
|02657: Provincetown, Cape Cod, Mass.||11.50%|
|92262: Palm Springs, Calif.||11.30%|
|33305: Wilton Manors, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.||10.60%|
|90069: West Hollywood, Los Angeles, Calif.||8.90%|
|94131: Noe Valley/Glen Park/Diamond Heights, San Francisco, Calif.||7.40%|
|75219: Oak Lawn, Dallas, Texas||7.10%|
|19971: Rehoboth Beach, Del.||7.00%|
|48069: Pleasant Ridge, suburban Detroit, Mich.||6.80%|
Top 10 Gay Neighborhoods in USA—Female
|ZIP Codes with highest concentration of same-sex female couples||Share of Households|
|02657: Provincetown, Cape Cod, Mass.||5.10%|
|01062: Northampton, Mass.||3.30%|
|01060: Northampton, Mass.||2.60%|
|02130: Jamaica Plain, Boston, Mass.||2.40%|
|19971: Rehoboth Beach, Del.||2.40%|
|95446: Guerneville, north of San Francisco, Calif.||2.20%|
|02667: Wellfleet, Cape Cod, Mass.||2.20%|
|94619: Redwood Heights/Skyline, Oakland, Calif.||2.10%|
|30002: Avondale Estates, suburban Atlanta, Ga.||1.90%|
|94114: Castro, San Francisco, Calif.||1.90%|
Note from the researchers: The U.S. Census doesn’t ask sexual orientation, of course, so the only way to measure gay neighborhoods is based on where couples live. The Census data requires some corrections and adjustments. Finally, ZIP codes don’t line up perfectly with neighborhoods, but we did our best to use the closest neighborhood names that correspond to the ZIP codes in our analysis. (Also, check out Trulia’s original article on the subject: http://www.trulia.com/blog/trends/gayborhood-watch/)