$50 Billion…yes, with a B!
This number reflects the annual spending habits of African-Americans on travel and tourism.
The hotel and travel industry is a huge business and Black travel has clearly become a phenomenon. Don’t believe me?
I would encourage you to do an Instagram search for the term(s) “travelnoire” “black and abroad” or “black girls travel.”
You’ll see photos of African Americans renting villas in the Italian Dolomites, sailing the Croatian coast during yacht week, parasailing in Peru, checking into their 7-star hotel in Dubai, and relaxing under the amazing sunset in Santorini.
Surprisingly (or not), the domestic and international travel industry, either, haven’t taken notice, or don’t care…or both.
If you travel with SkyTeam into and out of Europe, there’s a good chance that you have visited Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. It is a major hub for SkyTeam.
This week KLM (a member of Skyteam) opened their new flagship Crown Lounge at Schiphol and these are the photos that were used by marketing.
Anything missing? Where is the diversity?
The truth is that the travel industry spends very little effort or money marketing to the Black community in comparison to how aggressively they spend targeting any other group.
I write this blog not in an effort to bash KLM but in an effort to bring awareness to the entire travel industry.
Despite the efforts to ignore the movement, social media, has created opportunities to level the playing field.
Ultimately, the industry needs airline seats filled, hotel rooms booked, drinks ordered in the lounge, because this determines profitability. Black travelers are among the last growth target for profitability.
As someone who spends far too much time in airport lounges I am disappointed by this (and many other) travel advertisements. Among the chaos at many airports, I enjoy the respite found within lounges. But I have to ask…what is the message I should receive from your advertisement?
I can remember a few years ago when I would search various hashtags on Instagram trying to find someone like me…simply, Black and traveling. Everyday I would search in hopes that I would stumble across someone so I could immediately follow them.
Today, the combination of tech-savvy millennials, and the increase in entrepreneurship, income and education is culminating in what’s being called the Black Travel Movement. All sectors of the travel industry should take notice and make the conscious decision to connect with this demographic.
This is a call to the industry to understand two points:
1) …having a multicultural department isn’t enough. True diversity starts with creative, senior leadership.
2) …embracing stories of color does not in turn alienate your base audience. It creates a platform where everyone is inspired and hopefully able to experience everything this wonderful world has to offer.
Were you aware of the “Black Travel Movement?” Why do you think there is such a disparity between the amount of money spent on “Black Travel” and travel for any other demographic?