The New York Times recently reported on the spike in same-sex marriage-themed travel deals since the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA.) The JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square hotel immediately began offering a ‘Love is Love is Love’ package, and “Orbitz began a photo contest in which participants could win flights to destinations that recognize same-sex marriage, including New York City, Seattle, Buenos Aires and Paris”.
In its online brochure, Discover Los Angeles specifically references the decision, announcing that, “the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on June 26, 2013 has paved the way to restore marriage equality in California. With its gorgeous weather, world-class hotels and spectacular scenery, Los Angeles is the perfect city to host an unforgettable wedding.”
So why are travel-related companies jumping at the chance to attract same-sex couples? It’s big business, as the Times explains. Gay couples are more likely to travel to places they perceive or understand to be welcoming to same-sex couples – like San Francisco and New York. Many also have disposable incomes.
New gTLD applicants seem to have also capitalized on the business potential of the LGBT community and could, once the new gTLDs are launched, benefit from the marriage industry’s boom as well. Four applicants are competing for .GAY. One of the four is a community application that proposes restricted registration, but includes the promotion of commerce as one of its purposes.
Only one application was submitted for .LGBT by Afilias; it is not a community application. Three applicants are competing for .WEDDING (which of course could be used for sites such as, say, samesex.WEDDING).
I asked Taylor Frank, a native of Los Angeles and V.P. at FairWinds, if he thought companies could and would use the new gTLD space to reach the LGBT community in even more numerous and innovative ways. “Absolutely,” he said. “In fact, companies, non-profits, and individuals looking to communicate with any community of any race, gender, orientation, religious or political affiliation have a wide open opportunity to use new gTLDs. New gTLDs are new territory – for innovative expression and business models of all kinds.”