How to Be a Welcome Marketer at LGBT Weddings
Congratulations! Mazeltov! Happy Wedding! There are all kinds of ways for travel, hospitality and more marketers to be welcome at nuptial celebrations, and same-sex marriages seem no different. That's even truer now that the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear cases from Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Indiana.
On Monday, the court declined to hear arguments from those states that were opposed to the marriages, in effect bringing the total of states allowing same-sex nuptials to 24. CNN reports that the number of states could jump to 30, because West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming are covered under the same circuit appeals courts that struck down the prohibitions fought by Oklahoma and the other four states.
The Human Rights Campaign cites a study saying lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans had $790 billion in buying power in 2012. When New York legalized same-sex marriage in 2011, the state senate released research showing wedding revenue and tourism, marriage license fees and hotel occupancy taxes would bring in $311 million by this year (opens as a PDF).
1. Market Locations That Welcome LGBT Tourists. Locations Tell LGBT Tourists They're Welcome. Safety and legal protections are still concerns for gay tourists, quotes Reuters of Charlie Rounds, of the Florida-based International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) Foundation.
This year, LGBT Americans will spend $56.5 billion on travel, Reuters reports, citing figures from Out Now Business Class that predate Monday's court decision.
2. Expand on Prior Relationships. Reuters says major hotel chains, airlines and cruise lines are already specifically marketing to LGBT consumers. Why not offer wedding promotions to engaged couples? The Caribbean Wedding Association provides the following suggestions to market to the betrothed:
- Post honeymoon and wedding information on your website
- Make use of church/synagogue bulletins and local advertising
- Buy databases of engaged couples for your mailings
- Befriend tourism boards that focus on the wedding market
- Use the Internet to your advantage by joining like-minded groups. (On the Book More Brides Blog, Stephanie Padovani suggests spending the ad budget on Facebook, where members post a relationship status of "engaged" or "in a relationship.")
- Make the most of the search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo)
- Participate in bridal shows
3. Specifically Say 'Same-sex Couples Welcome' in All Channels, writes Kathryn Hawkins on July 27, 2011, for Intuit QuickBooks. Further, put that advertising in LGBT media sources and sponsor a gay-themed event, she suggests.
4. Don't Just 'Show Up,' Do Research on What Marketing Works, according to Community Marketing and Insight's "Three Steps to Gay Market Success."
"You need to rise above the noise," according to CMI. "Take a look through popular LGBT publications to see how other companies, perhaps including your competition, are representing themselves. Then do better."
What are marketers doing well regarding marketing to engaged same-sex couples?
Please respond in the comments section below.