Study Illustrates Business Case for Marketing to and Serving U.S. Multicultural Markets

AH&LA Commissions Study of Multicultural Markets  The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) has released a study quantifying the travel and spending power of the top five multicultural groups – African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT), and females. The Power and Opportunity of Multicultural Markets provides a snapshot of the size and potential economic impact for hoteliers who target these important segments.

The survey includes data points on each market’s propensity to travel, frequency of travel, number of domestic travelers and hotel users, nights spent in hotels, travel-related expenditures, estimates of the size and economic value of each segment to the U.S. travel industry and specifically to the hotel industry, and a brief profile of travel activity.

The survey reveals:

· The female market is very large and active in travel; women travelers have the highest share of leisure trips among the five markets.

· African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans are now of sufficient size to be meaningful and will grow much faster in size than the dominant non-Hispanic white population over the next several decades.

· The LGBT market is a fairly large niche market, active in travel, and responsive to efforts by the travel industry to serve its needs.

· The Hispanic population, already the largest ethnic group in the nation, is expected to increase by 34 percent over the next ten years. With total domestic travel spending of $71 billion in 2010, they are second only to women among the five groups.

· The LGBT market accounts for 5 percent of total domestic travelers, but 10 percent of total spending on domestic travel or $63 billion.

· At 47 percent, Asian-American domestic travelers have the highest share of hotel stays among the five markets and the population is forecasted to grow by 31 percent between now and 2020.

· African-Americans generated 10 percent of U.S. hotel person-trips and 9 percent of U.S. hotel person-nights in 2010.

In addition to quantifying the size and economic value of the markets, the study also sheds light differences in media usage, leisure travel activities and attitudes towards travel among the five groups. Accompanying case studies of hotels that have been successful in attracting and serving the markets give tips on how to most effectively market to each of the groups.

“In the current competitive environment there is a growing need for travel companies to differentiate themselves by targeting these unique audiences,” said Steve Joyce, CEO of Choice Hotels International and chair of the AH&LA Multicultural & Diversity Council. “These market segments represent a significant opportunity for the development of new business and the need for a diverse workforce to ensure continued growth and customer satisfaction.”

The project was requested by the AH&LA Multicultural & Diversity Council and funded by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation. It was conducted by Dr. Suzanne Cook, president of Suzanne Cook Consulting, LLC, with assistance from David Sheatsley, research director and Tien Tian, vice president and chief economist for the U.S. Travel Association. Survey data sources include TNS Travel and Leisure, Community Marketing, Inc., the U.S. Travel Association, Ypartnership, and the U.S. Department of Census.

To view the report, click here.

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