As Economy Lags, More Lesbians and Gays Plan Travel

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–According to a recent national survey conducted by Harris Interactive®, 38 percent of gay and lesbian adults report they are absolutely certain or very likely to take their vacations as planned this year, compared with 34 percent of their heterosexual counterparts. However when asked whether they might decide to shorten their vacation, a slightly larger proportion of gays and lesbians – 18 percent — were absolutely certain or very likely to do so while 15% of heterosexual adults similarly said they would do so.

In addition, one quarter (25%) of gays and lesbians said they were absolutely certain or very likely to take a vacation by air this year, while only 19 percent of heterosexuals would do so. Given the backdrop of record high gasoline prices this summer, when the question was asked whether this year’s vacation might be taken by car, nearly a third (32%) of gay and lesbian respondents were absolutely certain or very likely to take a car, while 28 percent of heterosexuals were absolutely certain or very likely to do so.

The new nationwide survey of 2,772 U.S. adults, (ages 18 and over), of whom 275 self identified as gay or lesbian (which includes an oversample of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults), was conducted online between May 5 and 12, 2008, by Harris Interactive, a global 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 GLBT market.

“The strong appetite for travel often is highlighted among gays and lesbians,” said Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications. “Though gay consumers are not more affluent than others, they appear to consistently budget more discretionary dollars towards travel, even during downturns in the economy such as we face now.” Witeck added that similar research conducted seven years ago also indicated that gays and lesbians had higher propensity than heterosexuals to begin traveling again after the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

Jim Quilty, Vice President and Sr. Consultant for Travel & Tourism Research at Harris Interactive, noted that given this snapshot, “There are clear differentiators and market trends in gay travel that are especially important for destinations and travel suppliers to understand in the current economic cycle. This survey reinforces the resilience of lesbian and gay consumers when other travel spending is curtailed among other demographics.”

Quilty added that Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications are preparing to launch their second annual Gay and Lesbian Travel Survey, to build on their previous comparative findings in the first GLBT-heterosexual benchmark of leisure travel. More details on the upcoming survey may be found at www.harrisinteractive.com/services/glbt_travel.asp.

Methodology

Harris Interactive conducted the study online within the United States between May 5 and 12, 2008, among 2,772 adults (ages 18 and over), of whom 2,340 indicated they are heterosexual and 275 self-identified as gay or lesbian (this includes an over-sample of GLBT adults). No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. A full methodology and data tables are available at www.harrisinteractive.com.

About Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc.

Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc. is the nation’s premier marketing communications and consulting firm, specializing in developing and implementing effective strategies reaching the gay and lesbian consumer market. With 15 years experience in this unique market, Witeck-Combs Communications not only serves as a bridge between corporate America and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender consumers (GLBT), but also provides counsel to countless non-profit organizations that aim to educate the public on gay and lesbian issues or to better reach their GLBT membership.

In April 2003, American Demographics magazine identified Bob Witeck and Wes Combs as two of 25 experts over the last 25 years who have made significant contributions to the fields of demographics, market research, media and trendspotting for their path breaking work on the gay and lesbian market, and in 2006 Bob Witeck and Wes Combs co-authored Business Inside Out: Capturing Millions of Brand Loyal Gay Consumers (Kaplan Publishing), considered the first-ever book on marketing insights, practical tips and strategies targeting the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender market. They have appeared in worldwide media outlets including Fortune, CNBC, CNN, Reuters, Associated Press, Ad Age, New York Times and Washington Post. For more information visit www.witeckcombs.com.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is a global leader in custom market research. With a long and rich history in multimodal research, powered by our science and technology, we assist clients in achieving business results. Harris Interactive serves clients globally through our North American, European and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms.