Travel companies keen to appeal to the entire family market need to recognise the importance of the lesbian and gay sector, according to Hoseasons boss Simon Altham.

He spoke after Hoseasons agreed a 12-month strategic marketing partnership with worldwide LGBT news and lifestyle website Gay Star News, which has 90,000 Twitter followers and more than half a million Facebook likes.

Hoseasons will sponsor the site’s family section and advertise across all its channels, while its logo will appear on 20,000 bags distributed at Pride events across the UK in a “substantial investment” by the operator.

The move comes after Altham urged the industry to “get educated” on diversity after the travel sector failed to feature in Stonewall’s 2016 Top Employers list of gay-friendly employers earlier this year.

Managing director Altham said: “Statistics will tell you this is a growing market. In 2014, there were 84,000 same-sex co-habiting couple families in the UK [Office for National Statistics].

“People will be surprised by this figure. Yes, it’s small in comparison to the number of overall British households, but my gut feeling is businesses will not necessarily realise there are so many same-sex families and assume LGBT couples will not have children.

“This is a market that will only grow; there is an opportunity for businesses, particularly in travel, to signal they are aware of this.”

Altham said it had taken 12 months for Hoseasons to find the right partner as part of its “inclusion” strategy to attract more families to its brand.

He added: “This is a statement about our inclusive nature. We are a family brand, welcoming all families. I am convinced other companies will do the same within five years. It’s a realisation there is a bigger market than people think.”