5 Travel Brands That Do LGBT Marketing Right


The LGBT community has quickly become one of the most targeted groups for travel marketing today. With LGBT issues of equality constantly in mainstream media, DMOs and travel brands are making sure that this community knows they are welcomed. In addition, it’s also known that gays and lesbians tend to have a higher disposable income than their heterosexual counterparts and also travel more. This makes it important for brands to not only focus on marketing to the LGBT community, but to do it effectively. The following five travel brands are some that stand out among the rest.

Pink Iceland

Pink Iceland is an LGBTQ-focused tour company based in Reykjavik, Iceland. Founded in 2011, Pink Iceland is gay owned and operated, offering their travel expertise to visit their small but captivating country. They offer and arrange day tours, luxury travel, tailor made trips, and group travel. Their brand is all about LGBT tourism from their travel services to their logo, which is a pink triangle representing their target community inside a larger triangle to form a snowcapped mountain representing the natural beauty of their destination. Pink Iceland also goes beyond travel to concentrate on other queer-centered services such as weddings, international events and festivals. Iceland is a very gay-friendly country with marriage equality and a generally accepting atmosphere and Pink Iceland is the perfect complement to show all the country has to offer to the larger LGBT community.

Atlantis Events

Atlantis was founded over 20 years ago and is best known for its gay focused cruises and resorts. Based in Los Angeles, this company offers cruises and resort vacations all over, especially in Europe and around Mexico. From their first event back in 1991 with 300 attendees, they now have around 20,000 guests at their events each year. While they are a gay centered company they specifically focus on gay men, though a small percentage of their guests are women who are welcomed as well. It is clear that they use young, attractive and fit men to market their brand which works well for them as this is the typical type of guest they have, though it’s not the only of course. While this marketing strategy may work for Atlantis, it doesn’t work for everyone so brands should be cautious when considering their approach. Using men with model-like looks to advertise a brand can often be criticized for alienating the larger community. However, this seems to be working well for the Atlantis demographic.

Visit Britain

Visit Britain is the national tourism agency promoting Britain around the globe. They work with private and public sector partners in their marketing and also use major events to promote Britain including the Ryder Cup, Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and the Grand Depart of the Tour de France. One of their priorities for 2015 is to continue to promote their “Love is Great” campaign. It promotes travel within the gay and lesbian community using multiple media partners including gay magazines and websites largely focusing on the US market. The campaign also highlights Britain as a destination with increasing equality and also as a destination with many great Pride events in various parts around the region.

Air Berlin

Air Berlin is a popular airline based in Germany that offers flights worldwide to around 150 destinations. It’s the second largest airline in the country and seventh largest in Europe. The airline also sponsors LGBT various organizations, events, and programs each year. Some of which include the pink corner at ITB Berlin and gay-friendly events such as Tunte Lauf, a drag show in Dusseldorf. Their online presence even features a microsite for LGBT travelers to discover Air Berlin flights to some of the most gay-friendly destinations worldwide.

Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale in Florida is just 23 miles north of Miami and a popular tourist destination for its seemingly never-ending sunshine and average yearly temperature of 75°F (24°C). In addition to the seasonal snowbirds, it’s also a well known spot for its large LGBT presence and gay-friendly hotels and businesses. It markets itself as a destination for weddings, LGBT events and general leisure. In February, the Love is Love campaign was launched in Fort Lauderdale to celebrate marriage equality in Florida with Lance Bass as its ambassador. Nearly 100 same and opposite-sex couples were married or renewed their vows during a sunrise beach wedding. Moreover, their convention and visitor bureau has one of the largest budgets dedicated to LGBT tourism. Not surprisingly, Fort Lauderdale is also one of the only cities with a transgender travel initiative with an aim to encourage trans tourism to their destination, an incredible approach considering the T in LGBT is often forgotten.

At the moment, these are some of the most well recognized DMOs and travel brands working for the LGBT community. Their methods may differ depending on the destination and goals, but they all recognize the potential of LGBT tourism and are, to their benefits, taking advantage of that market.

Author Bio:  Auston Matta lived in Chicago for 4 years before he sold everything and went on a round-the-world trip in 2012. He started the blog Two Bad Tourists with his husband David during the adventure, and after traveling for a year, he moved to Spain, which he now calls home. When he’s not traveling or writing about events, festivals or LGBT destinations, he enjoys the warm and sunny days and vibrant nightlife in Madrid. You can follow them on Facebook or Twitter for the latest updates on everything LGBT travel. You can learn more about marketing to the LGBT community in Auston’s professional development session at TBEX Europe 2015.


  1. Rick Hurlbut says

    It’s a misconception that the LGBT travel market has an overall higher ‘disposable income’, mainly because those in the industry and the press alike misunderstand the concept of ‘disposable income’. Here’s the correct definition: Income – Tax = Disposable Income. What they really mean is ‘discretionary income’: Income – Tax – Basic Living Expenses = Discretionary Income.

    While the situation is improving, LGBT consumers have traditionally been denied certain tax deductions – specifically dependent spouses and children of that spouse – and so pay higher taxes and correspondingly low ‘disposable income’. It’s only those without dependents, specifically children and their associated costs, that provide for higher ‘discretionary income’.

    There is also plenty of poverty within the LGBT community, especially youth disowned by their families and lesbian who suffer the same income disparities of all women. Yes, there is a visible, monied LGBT constituency; but they are hardly representative of the average LGBT consumer.

    There are still plenty of travel marketing opportunities within every income bracket, including budget accommodation, staycations and camping. The mistake is to assume every LGBT consumer had more money than brains, and so miss out on alternatives. If you avoid drinking the “rich homo” Kool-Aid and focus on real demographics, you’ll be much better off.

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