Proud Experiences sellout underscores luxe interest in LGBT travelers

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Jeri Clausing
Jeri Clausing

Luxury and upscale brands are showing a strong and growing interest in marketing to the LGBTQ community.

Proud Experiences, the new LGBT-focused travel show sponsored by Reed Exhibitions, the same company behind the International Luxury Travel Market portfolio, says it sold out exhibitor slots for its 2019 show three months ahead of its New York opening.

Organizers say its more than 90 confirmed exhibitors mark a 50% increase over its inaugural event in London last year.

"We had high expectations following the great success of our debut show in London last year, and selling out over three months in advance has definitely exceeded them," said event director Simon Mayle. "This affirms our role at Reed Travel Exhibitions as pioneers in creating a one-to-one travel show for the LGBTQ+ B2B community, and we couldn't be prouder to see so many travel brands from all over the world wanting to be part of something that's important to both business and society."

Mayle said he continues to get new inquiries daily and has already begun taking applications for 2020.

While not a luxury-specific show, Mayle said the bulk of exhibitors are "premium-plus." They include some of the world's leading luxury brands, including Peninsula, Rosewood, Belmond, St. Regis, Uniworld, Crystal Cruises and Ritz-Carlton, to name a few. Other exhibitors include concierge companies, destinations and travel services, Mayle said.

The early sellout, he said, confirms the travel industry's strong interest in the LGBTQ community, which according to the consultancy firm Out Now, spent $218 billion in 2017.

The show will take place June 18 to 20 at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

As a one-to-one show, PROUD Experiences will welcome an equal number of buyers to exhibitors.

In addition to appointments between buyers and sellers, the show will feature a series of "master classes" on a variety of topics including emerging destinations and travel issues, the segments within the LGBTQ travel niche, growing revenue from this market and hands-on sensitivity training.

The show will also feature an onstage interview Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, the first openly gay prince in the world and face of the #FreeGayIndia movement. Travel Weekly is a media partner. 

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