AH&LA Studies Spending Power of Multicultural Groups

Multicultural groups are a large and growing market for hoteliers, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), which this week released the results of a new study into the travel and spending power of the top five multicultural markets: African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT) individuals and females.

"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."

Survey highlights, according to AH&LA:

• 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 10 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.