The Gay Gap in Hotels.
By Vijay Dandapani
Tuesday, 15th April 2008
The New York Times reports on how competition has spurred strong interest among "wedding sites, hotels, resorts and inns as the travel industry" as they have realized, somewhat belatedly that "same-sex ceremonies can draw scores of guests, who turn these destinations weddings into weekend stays".

The Times notes that when"Vermont enacted same-sex civil union legislation in 2000, it was the first state to do so, and gay and lesbian couples who came to Vermont found only a smattering of florists, wedding planners, inns, resorts and other vendors for civil unions". Since then "Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and New Hampshire have legalized same-sex civil unions or marriages".

Allowing same-sex unions results in a state being perceived as more gay friendly but hotels in states, like New York, that still do not permit, can still go after that market by marketing to that consumer base by enhancing the perception of acceptance that market.

The Times reports that "according to an analysis last year by Community Marketing, a research firm, an overwhelming majority of gay and lesbian travelers say gay-friendliness is the most important factor to them in choosing a hotel".

That may be a cue to the few remaining hotels with banquet halls in New York's competitive hotel market where they face intense pricing pressure from stand-alone event spaces for them to roll out initiatives that attract same-sex couples to a city that is friendly to their needs even if the law is yet to catch up with other areas in the region.

Vijay is Chief Operating Officer and part-founder of Apple Core Hotels- a chain of 5 midtown Manhattan hotels offering value and comfort in the heart of the city.Member of the board of Directors - Hotel Association of New York. www.vijaydandapani.com

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