A study conducted by the AH&LA, which quantified the travel and spending power of African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics, LGBT, and females, shows that these top five multicultural groups are already generating significant travel in this country and for the U.S. lodging industry. Some of these markets, such as the Hispanic and Asian-American segments, are forecast to grow significantly in size over the next decade, creating major growth opportunities for U.S. lodging companies.
“The Power and Opportunity of Multicultural Markets” provides a snapshot of the size and potential economic impact for hoteliers who target these important segments.
“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 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 study reveals that the female market is very large and active in travel, and that women travelers have the highest share of leisure trips among the five markets.
It also found that 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. African-Americans generated 10 percent of U.S. hotel person-trips and 9 percent of U.S. hotel person-nights in 2010. The Hispanic population, already the largest ethnic group in the nation, is expected to increase by 34 percent over the next 10 years. With total domestic travel spending of $71 billion in 2010, they are second only to women among the five groups. At 47 percent, Asian-American domestic travelers have the highest share of hotel stays among the five markets and the population is forecast to grow by 31 percent between now and 2020.
The LGBT market is a fairly large niche market, active in travel, and responsive to efforts by the travel industry to serve its needs. This market accounts for 5 percent of total domestic travelers, but 10 percent of total spending on domestic travel or $63 billion.
The study also sheds light on differences in media usage, leisure travel activities, and attitudes toward travel among the five groups. Hotels that have been successful in attracting and serving the markets give tips in accompanying case studies.
The project was requested by the AH&LA Multicultural & Diversity Council and funded by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation. Dr. Suzanne Cook, president of Suzanne Cook Consulting, LLC, conducted the study with assistance from David Sheatsley, research director, and Tien Tian, vice president and chief economist for the U.S. Travel Association.