Home TRAVEL From Planning to Personas: Booking.com Research Reveals How Canadian LGBTQ+ Travellers Are...

From Planning to Personas: Booking.com Research Reveals How Canadian LGBTQ+ Travellers Are Taking Control of Their Trips


Building on its mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, Booking.com’s latest LGBTQ+ travel research reveals that travellers continue to face significant challenges. More than half (63%) of Canadian LGBTQ+ travellers have experienced discrimination when travelling. Canadian LGBTQ+ travellers expect some form of discriminatory behavior from both their fellow travellers (51%) and locals at their chosen destinations (56%). In parallel, 55% agree that being LGBTQ+ has made them more insecure and self-conscious as a traveller. This is of even greater concern for those who identify as transgender (64%), intersex (57%) and non-binary (56%).

Despite these challenges, LGBTQ+ travellers are taking ownership of their lived reality. From thoughtful destination decision-making to creating alter egos, LGBTQ+ travellers are taking control of their trips more than ever before to safely navigate different challenges and to find the best experiences.  

Since launching in 2021, Booking.com’s Travel Proud program provides free inclusive hospitality training for accommodations to help them gain a better understanding of the specific challenges faced by LGBTQ+ travellers, as well as what can be done to make every guest feel more welcome, regardless of where they come from, who they love or how they identify. There are now more than 67,000 Travel Proud-certified properties globally on Booking.com across 133 countries and territories and in 12,645 cities and destinations.

Destination deliberations

Likely reflective of the current economic uncertainties affecting many people, accommodation that fits their budget is the primary concern for 68% of Canadian LGBTQ+ travellers. After those primary financial considerations, more than half (59%) believe that being able to be their authentic self on their trip is their next most important factor. 

Among all Canadian LGBTQ+ travellers:

  • 55% consider a destination’s local legislation regarding LGBTQ+ human, equality and marriage rights an important factor.
  • 51% consider whether the destination is more, or less accepting of LGBTQ+ people than their home country. 
  • 51% consider what they have heard or read in the news about experiences for foreign LGBTQ+ travellers.

These concerns have had a clear influence on LGBTQ+ travellers’ perceptions and decision making, with 43% of Canadian respondents cancelling a trip within the past year after seeing a destination being unsupportive of its LGBTQ+ residents. This is most common among Canadian LGBTQ+ parents (48%) compared with non-parents (40%), but even more so amongst transgender (59%) and intersex (56%) travellers. On the flip side, more than half (54%) of Canadian LGBTQ+ travellers have booked a trip in the past 12 months to a destination seen as supportive of residents who identify as LGBTQ+, with millennials most likely to be inspired to travel there (62%) and senior citizens the least (21%). 

When presented with the choice, 59% say they prefer to visit destinations where LGBTQ+ tourism is already well established, compared with 49% who would rather consider locations where their presence could contribute to broadening social awareness and acceptance. The zeitgeist is also playing a part in decision making: nearly two-thirds (63%) of Canadian LGBTQ+ travellers say they are more likely to book travel experiences inspired by LGBTQ+ pop culture with millennials (70%) the most likely.

Pre-flight preparations

Once the destination has been decided, Canadian LGBTQ+ travellers are taking additional proactive steps to mitigate concerns about potential discrimination while flying. Over a quarter (27%) have had a negative experience with a fellow flight passenger directly related to their identity, while 35% expressed apprehension at the idea of being seated next to a stranger in fear of their reaction or behavior towards them as an LGBTQ+ individual. The latter is most common among those who are transgender (57%), intersex (48%) or non-binary (44%). 

Code-switching and travel personas

LGBTQ+ travellers are actively adopting personas to protect themselves on their trips. 37% of Canadian LGBTQ+ travellers say that they modify aspects of their appearance and behavior to avoid potential discrimination or unwanted attention, while 48% have created an alter-ego to navigate different environments when travelling. The main reason for travellers in creating an alter-ego was to protect themselves and feel safe (45%), with 36% doing so to adapt to cultural sensitivities that may exist at a destination.

Travel industry allies

Beyond their own decisions, Canadian LGBTQ+ travellers recognize progress within the travel industry, with 74% saying increased inclusivity has made them feel more comfortable when travelling. This is most true among those who are out (76%,) but also 65% of those who are not. 

Travelling to destinations that have adequate legislation in place facilitates feeling included and this is reflected in interactions with those that work in the travel industry: 81% of Canadian LGBTQ+ travellers feel comfortable when arriving to check in at their accommodation, 80% when having correspondence with accommodation hosts and airlines, and 79% when interacting with hospitality professionals at their destination such as tour guides, flight attendants and taxi drivers. Additionally, when asked what features LGBTQ+ travellers would like to see from travel companies to improve their future travel experiences, 29% referenced filters that would facilitate identifying properties that offer a welcoming experience. This is of particular importance for transgender (49%) and genderfluid (40%) travellers.  

“At Booking.com, we passionately believe that everyone should be able to travel and experience the world in their own unique way,” says Arjan Dijk, CMO and Senior Vice President at Booking.com. “As a gay man, I unfortunately know first hand the challenges that persist in many parts of the world, including sadly with travel alerts already being issued ahead of Pride events this year. Despite all this, I am incredibly inspired to see LGBTQ+ travellers resiliently embracing their lived experiences, both at home and during their trips. While real and tangible progress is being made, we must remain vigilant and do our part to make it truly easier for everyone to Travel Proud.” 

In addition to the company’s global partnership with IGLTA, the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association, Booking.com is now also exceptionally proud to be one of the newest partners of two organizations that help underscore Booking.com’s dedication to making the world more inclusive for everyone, everywhere: 

  • Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center: Located in Greenwich Village in the heart of New York City, this landmark center, opening on June 28, 2024, preserves, advances and celebrates the legacy of the historic Stonewall Rebellion and serves as a living monument to the advocates and pioneers who came before us and educates on the events that shaped the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement.
  • Global Equality Fund. This unique public-private partnership brings together like-minded governments and private sector entities dedicated to advancing and defending the human rights and freedoms of LGBTQ+ people around the world. Through the GEF, governments, companies and foundations work collaboratively with human rights defenders and civil society organizations working to protect and empower LGBTQ+ movements and people.


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