MMGY Travel Intelligence released results from the first phase of The Black Traveler: Insights, Opportunities & Priorities report. The study analyzed the responses of some 4,800 U.S. Black leisure travelers and 200 members of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals (NCBMP).
The report reveals that Black U.S. leisure travelers accounted for $109.4 billion in travel spending in 2019, which was generated by 458.2 million traveler stays — or 13.1% of the U.S. leisure travel market. Other findings include that in 2019, Black leisure travelers took an average of three overnight vacations with a stay of 2.5 nights for each trip and spent about $600 on each overnight stay.
To all of those who have fought to warm cold hearts to our community’s importance or cried in the middle of night after your work was overlooked, this report says, ‘We see you and we hear you.’
Data on Black meeting professionals shows that this group plans an average of 7.5 meetings per year and typically spend an average of more than $900,000 annually. The average spend per meeting is more than $120,000, with 57% of planners indicating that they typically plan off-site events for attendees.
Why It Matters
Black American travelers spend significantly when it comes to travel — and we should imagine how much more they would spend if the travel industry better catered to them. According to the research, Black meeting professionals “encounter hardships when organizing events for Black groups,” with 42% of respondents saying that attendees have felt unwelcome in a destination in which they have attended a meeting in the past.
These findings of the U.S. market, as well as additional data from the international report to be published in January, will become our calling card to destination management organizations and travel brands as we work to increase Black representation at all levels of the travel industry.
Therefore, Black meeting professionals — and likely Black travelers at large — heavily rely on word of mouth and on a destination’s transparent commitment to diversity, with “77% looking for representation in the destination’s marketing materials as a key indicator of receptivity, and 80% analyzing the diverse racial composition of the destination,” according to MMGY’s report.
- The report’s second and final phase is scheduled to be released in January 2021 and will share results from a new survey that analyzes “current opinions and attitudes of Black leisure travelers globally.”
- The next survey will dive deeper into the decision-making process for vacation planning. It also aims to highlight the barriers and experiences that Black leisure travelers encounter across global markets, including the U.S., France, Germany, the U.K., Ireland and Canada.
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- Survey questions were developed with oversight and input from a panel of diverse industry experts from Black Travel Alliance (BTA), the NCBMP and the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers.
What They Are Saying
"We have long suspected the amount that U.S. Black travelers spend on leisure travel was undervalued,” said Martinique Lewis, president of Black Travel Alliance. “So, it is great to get confirmation through these two reports as a part of The Black Traveler study. These findings of the U.S. market, as well as additional data from the international report to be published in January, will become our calling card to destination management organizations and travel brands as we work to increase Black representation at all levels of the travel industry.”
"The results of this report are emotional for many of us, and validate that the Black meetings and tourism industry matters,” said Jason Dunn, chairman of NCBMP. “To all of those who have fought to warm cold hearts to our community’s importance or cried in the middle of night after your work was overlooked, this report says, ‘We see you and we hear you.’”
“It is vital for travel industry executives to better understand the needs, behaviors and concerns of underrepresented traveler communities,” said Clayton Reid, CEO of MMGY Global. “The findings from the report should be a call to action for travel professionals and are an important step in both underscoring the value of Black travelers and identifying solutions to better serve this important travel audience.”