VEGAS INC coverage
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority may look at an opportunity to market Southern Nevada as a honeymoon destination for same-sex couples getting married in New York when marriages can be performed in that state next month.
Mya Lake Reyes, director of diversity marketing for the LVCVA, said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signing of the Marriage Equality Act last Friday was still too recent for the agency that markets Southern Nevada tourism to develop a strategy for, but “I’ve already started talking about it with my colleagues.”
Reyes was one of three panelists who addressed marketing to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities with the Luxury Marketing Association on Wednesday.
New York became the latest state to legalize issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples, joining Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia. Rhode Island, New York and Maryland recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
Same-sex marriage was banned in Nevada in 2002 by a statewide vote, but the Nevada Legislature in 2009 passed and overrode Gov. Jim Gibbons’ veto of a bill recognizing domestic partnerships in the state.
Las Vegas is widely recognized as the “Marriage Capital of the World” because of the relative ease in obtaining a wedding license, and the LVCVA widely markets wedding chapels and the city as a honeymoon spot.
In her presentation to the association, Reyes said LVCVA estimates 83,000 room nights have been booked in Las Vegas by gay couples this year. At an average daily room rate of $129 a night, she said, lodging revenue would be $10.7 million. Other travel expenses boost spending by gay travelers in Las Vegas to an estimated $25.9 million.
Panelist Thomas Roth of San Francisco-based Community Marketing Inc., which specializes in consulting companies on reaching gay consumers, said one of the biggest mistakes companies make is projecting a gay-friendly image while discouraging employment benefits policies for workers.
“You need to do the ‘inreach’ before you do the outreach,” Roth said. “The community isn’t going to be fooled. They know that tourist destinations are going to be inviting, but it gets around if the workplace doesn’t have gay-friendly policies.”
Roth listed American Airlines, Wells Fargo, Absolut and the U.S. Census Bureau as having outstanding gay-friendly work environments. Reyes said several Las Vegas companies market well to gay travelers, including MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, Wynn Las Vegas, the Tropicana and Maverick Aviation.
Several of those resort companies have developed websites specifically marketing to gay consumers. Reyes also noted that the Nevada Tourism Commission earlier this week unveiled a new website specifically geared to gay travelers and spotlighting events of interest to them.