LGBT travel start-up ‘expects £1m turnover in first three months of trading’

LGBT travel start-up ‘expects £1m turnover in first three months of trading’

A travel website that arranges high-end holidays for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples expects to turn over £1 million in its first quarter of trading.

OutOfOffice.com went live last month, arranging gay-friendly flights, hotels, transfers and excursions.

It has profited from the rise in same-sex marriages, both in the UK and overseas, which has created a growing market for honeymoons.

The business was set up as a joint venture between former ITV News journalist Darren Burn, and the founders of £80 million-turnover golf holidays business, YourGolfTravel.com, Ross Marshall and Andrew Harding.

OutOfOffice.com uses YourGolfTravel.com’s booking systems and is protected by Atol

“We were predicting revenues of £50,000 in our first month and we made £250,000,” said Burn, who came up with the idea after he and his boyfriend were unable to check into a hotel in Egypt because they intended to share a bed.

“There have been gay travel companies before, but they are often seedy, and that’s not what you want if you are going on honeymoon or want a romantic holiday,” he told The Telegraph.

There are currently 200 itineraries on the site, spanning 40 countries, and the company will have 500 different trips within a few months.

Customers booking through the website know that they will not be offered twin beds on arrival, and that hotels and resorts will be gay-friendly, Burn said.

“Other travel companies may say they are gay-friendly but when you look at the website, there are no gay couples holding hands, for example.”

Customers are booking trips from all over the world, he claimed.

“We booked a private jet for one client in the Middle East, where it’s highly illegal to be gay,” he said. “He came to us because he wanted the jet and the resort he stayed in to be gay friendly.”

While the site is targeted at LGBT travellers, a rising number of heterosexual couples are now booking trips on the site.

“Straight people also like to stay in gay-friendly resorts,” said Burn.

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