Time.com Highlights 'Ultra-Gay Hotel' Trend
With a brief 8-paragraph article, Time.com's David Kaufman today approvingly explored the trend of 'ultra-gay hotels":
In January, Fort Lauderdale's Royal Palms will reopen after expanding from a 12-room gay-friendly guesthouse to a 62-room boutique hotel that caters to an all-male clientele who prefer a clothing-optional environment. With a spa, café, bar and gym, Florida's Royal Palms Resort and Spa is marketing itself as North America's biggest "full-service" gay retreat, but it won't retain that title for long. Later in 2011, Manhattan will usher in the Out NYC, a massive, 90,000-sq.-ft. (8,400 sq m) "urban resort" close to Times Square.
From W to Wynn, Marriott to Kimpton, major hotel chains have been targeting lesbian and gay travelers for more than a decade. But now it's gay hoteliers' turn to court their own community. And why not? The LGBT travel market is worth an annual $63 billion in the U.S. alone, according to consumer-research firm Community Marketing Inc. "There have always been gay inns and B&Bs," says Lords founder Brian Gorman. "This is the time to take this concept to a far larger scale."
At no point did Kaufman find a critical voice from a social conservative perspective, although he did find a businessman concerned that such a niche business plan was dicey in today's economy:
As additional LGBT megaresort brands like G Worldwide prepare to open in New York City and Florida next year, Jan Freitag, vice president of Smith Travel Research, warns that the properties' financial success — and, with it, expansion to new locations — could prove challenging. "These hotels are cutting out a majority of travelers," Freitag observes. "Nongay travelers may feel uncomfortable staying there, so these will always be niche businesses."