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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

"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 market."

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 sample.

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