Just had a note sent to me asking me why it is that I think it is a good thing for Southwest to make more of a public effort at courting the gay traveler. I have to assume that either he is questioning the decision based on personal issues, or he is not aware of just how valuable the gay travel market segment is.
Ah, but the answer is an easy one. The gay travel market is one of the highest disposable income travel markets. As a demographic group gay men and women tend to travel more often (what Southwest is interested in) and when they do travel, they tend to spend more money than most other demographic groups (what hotels and restaurants are interested in.)
Or to put it another way, this is not the “Winnebago and hot dog” crowd we used to see roll into New Orleans for certain Sugar Bowl contests. (I’m going to be nice and not mention any football affiliations directly.) You know — the type who come into town and raid the A&P for toilet paper, Miller Lite, and luncheon meat. Or hot dogs. Then, when they finally do “eat out,” they don’t leave a tip.
Bad. Bad tourists.