The Gay gap in hotels

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.

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Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.

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