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In light of the historic June 26 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges
legalizing same-sex marriage, operators now have a chance to fulfill penned up demand for wedding transportation.
This new market requires interested providers to present themselves as “gay-friendly” in marketing materials, websites, order taking, and service delivery while knowing how to attract clients from the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community.
Long Island, N.Y., operator Matt Silver advertises in community based LGBT publications and became a vendor member to organizations that represent them.
“I spoke to some of my longtime gay and lesbian clients giving them each 50 business cards and promising a free hour or two for recommending me to their friends in the LGBT community,” said Matt Silver, owner of Ultimate Class Limousine and Transport in Hicksville, N.Y., who has spoken at LCT trade shows about marketing to the LGBT demographic.
When it comes to money, statistics show same-sex couples generally earn more money than heterosexuals and have more disposable income. The two primary reasons are higher education levels and the lack of children. The Williams Institute, a think-tank associated with UCLA, used census data to derive demographics of same-sex couples. The study shows 3.4% of U.S. citizens identify themselves as members of the LGBT community.
Randy Allen, owner of James Limousine Service in Richmond, Va., speculates same-sex couples have more disposable income because they most likely have no kids. Silver echoes that sentiment from firsthand knowledge. He began his career in the 1980s driving two openly gay men who commanded clubs to stay open until daybreak with their wealth.
“This market doesn’t have (money issues) and they know how to spend on themselves, believe me,” Silver says.
Allen attended a seminar presented by Kathryn Hamm, publisher of GayWeddings.com, about a month before the historic ruling. Hamm discussed higher disposable income levels perpetuated by college educations, full time jobs and no kids to feed and clothe. In fact, Marketresearch.com pegs the buying power of the LGBT community at $2 trillion.
Virginia operator Randy Allen attended a seminar presented by Kathryn Hamm, publisher of GayWeddings.com, about a month before the historic ruling to learn more about the LGBT weddings market.
“The traditional wedding market has been shrinking for years and this opens a brand new market,” Allen says. According to a Pew Survey, 40% of single adults view traditional marriage as obsolete. With their wealth and higher incomes, same-sex couples tend to choose more lavish ceremonies and parties, which fits well with the luxury transportation market.
Respect & Dignity
Stephanie and Terri Fisher, a same-sex couple in Bakersfield, Calif., used a stretch limousine for their wedding but were apprehensive about calling various vendors, not knowing how their business would be received. “Same-sex couples want to be put at ease when they show up to transact business and be treated as any other couple,” Stephanie says.
Clients Stephanie and Terri Fisher at first were apprehensive calling limousine services for wedding transportation.
Thomas Xavier, an openly gay married man who owns Whirlwind Productions, an event planning company, says he does not specialize in same-sex event planning, but is considered a go-to-guy for such events. “Contrary to what people believe, there isn’t a big difference in events,” Xavier says. “We’re not throwing rainbows and unicorns all over the place.”
Xavier also became a wedding officiant due to a shortage of them willing to marry same-sex couples. Same-sex wedding ceremonies are mostly the same as those of heterosexual couples with a little rearranging of the wording of the vows.
Xavier says he gets annoyed with people who assume all gays within a community know each other.
“It’s as if people think we have some sort of directory,” Xavier says. Both couples stress they just want to be treated the same as any other loving couple.