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National Survey Reveals Gays and Lesbians are Frequent
and Discerning Business Travelers
New Online Poll By Witeck-Combs Communications/Harris Interactive
Also Confirms That Gay Consumers Consider Cost, Location
and Fair Treatment Most When Choosing Travel Accommodations
Rochester, NY - June 18, 2003 - According to the most recent
consumer research study by Witeck-Combs Communications and
Harris Interactive®, gay, lesbian and bisexual (GLB)
± individuals tend to take more business trips than
their non-gay counterparts. In addition, gays, lesbians
and bisexuals list cost, location and fair treatment as
the most important factors when choosing a hotel for either
business or pleasure trips.
NOTE: Full tables with the sample data are available upon
request, or may be found by visiting the newsroom at www.witeckcombs.com.
"These findings are not surprising," said Wesley
Combs, president of Witeck-Combs Communications. "Because
only 20% of GLB households have children, it may be that
GLB employees have fewer conflicts when it comes to business
travel. Given this assumption, they may more readily volunteer
or might possibly be asked to take more business trips."
GLB consumers report taking an average of seven business
trips a year, compared to the two business trips reported
by their non-gay counterparts. Eleven percent (11%) of GLB
consumers indicated taking between three and five business
trips in the last year, while six percent indicated taking
more than ten. Fifty-seven percent (57%) of GLB consumers
reported taking no business trips at all in the past year,
compared to 65 percent of their non-gay counterparts.
When choosing travel accommodations for business or pleasure,
GLB consumers overwhelmingly indicated that cost and location
are the most important factors in deciding where to stay.
In addition, one in five GLB business travelers (22%) said
that one of their top three concerns when choosing a hotel
is fair treatment of guests 'like me,' while 30% of GLB
pleasure travelers also named fair treatment as one of their
top three concerns.
"It is increasingly important for hotels to create
a welcoming and respectful environment for all of their
guests, including GLB customers," added Combs. "In
a competitive travel market, it is apparent that those who
focus on customer service and who sensitively and professionally
include GLB guests will earn their share of this trackable
According to Rick Cirillo, American Airlines' global sales
manager for the gay and lesbian community, the new research
"mirrors our experience and underscores why the gay
business traveler is so highly sought after. We have learned
the benefit of American's gay-friendly policies and practices,
which welcome these discriminating travelers who have many
choices in air travel."
When GLB consumers were asked about their future international
travel plans, one in ten (10%) indicated plans to travel
to Europe in 2003 for personal reasons or for pleasure.
When asked where in Europe they would like to travel, 21
percent of GLB consumers indicated that the British Isles
are their European destination of choice, while 13 percent
preferred Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Five percent
(5%) favored Eastern European countries, such as Romania,
Hungary and the Czech Republic, while only two percent (2%)
mentioned Italy or Greece.
These are a few highlights of a nationwide Witeck-Combs
Communications/Harris Interactive study of 3,462 adults,
of whom five percent (5%) self-identified as gay, lesbian
or bisexual. The survey was conducted online between May
19 and 25, 2003 by Harris Interactive, a worldwide market
research and consulting firm, in conjunction with Witeck-Combs
Communications, Inc., a strategic public relations and marketing
communications firm with special expertise in the GLB market.
This study was conducted online within the United States
between May 19 and 25, 2003, among a nationwide cross section
of 3,462 adults. Of those adults surveyed, 184, or approximately
five percent, self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual
(GLB). Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and
income were weighted where necessary to bring them into
line with their actual proportions in the population. "Propensity
score" weighting was also used to adjust for respondents'
propensity to be online.
In theory, with a probability sample of this size, one
can say with 95 percent certainty that the results have
a statistical precision of plus or minus two percentage
points (for the overall sample) and plus or minus ten percentage
points (for the GLB sample) of what they would be if the
entire adult population had been polled with complete accuracy.
Unfortunately, there are several other possible sources
of error in all polls or surveys that are probably more
serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error.
They include refusals to be interviewed (non-response),
question wording and question order, interviewer bias, weighting
by demographic control data and screening (e.g., for likely
voters). It is impossible to quantify the errors that may
result from these factors. This online survey is not a probability