As consumers look to dating apps to fulflil diverse needs for connection, Grindr explores travel services that extend beyond one-night stands. Olivia Palamountain reports

Grindr, the king of gay dating apps for men, is looking to enhance the appeal of its service by introducing new features focused on long-term dating, travel and professional networking.

Despite navigating a rollercoaster journey since its public debut in November 2022, CEO George Arison remains optimistic about its future and has a slew of new ideas to buoy growth.

Inspired by Uber’s diversification into food delivery, paid features are now in the pipeline, joining the likes of dating app Tinder, which launched an invitation-only premium membership worth US$499 a month last year.

These include premium “à la carte travel services”, catering to users’ interests in travelling to events such as Aspen Gay Ski Week and New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro.

Additionally, Grindr is testing innovative features such as Teleport, allowing users to pin their profile in a new location for an hour to connect with others ahead of a trip.

In line with expanding Grindr’s offerings beyond casual hookups, Arison also cited a survey Grindr conducted last year that found that while 88 per cent used the app for casual interactions, roughly half said they also used it for dating and long-term relationships.

SplitMetricsLifestyle Report finds many app users are craving for meaningful relationships and want to find a soulmate, with mobile publishers are now adapting to these changes.

Some of them are strengthening their discretion policy by setting boundaries between dates. Others create niche apps to satisfy the emotional needs of different users. Some apps in the dating category are going further and offer setting up friendly connections alongside romantic relationships.

Echoing these findings, in summer 2021, Globetrender reported on the launch of Bumble Brew, a “safe space” cafe for real-life meet-ups in the city of New York by Bumble – the only app where women make the first move.

Despite its strides, Grindr faces challenges in redefining its brand perception, with some users questioning Grindr’s ability to evolve beyond its hookup reputation.

“As you get older . . . you kind of want something more meaningful,” Ayodeji Rotinwa, a 33-year-old Nigerian native who has been an on-and-off Grindr user for seven years told The Financial Times. Even so, he said, “the belief is that you cannot find that on Grindr”.

That said, by catering to a larger spectrum of user needs, Grindr is reflecting a commitment to innovation and adaptation in a dynamic landscape.