Frager Factor

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Gay Marriage and GEO gTLDS To Benefit From Emerging $9 Billion Destination Wedding Industry (with Bruce Turkel)

If same-sex marriage was legalized, both the wedding and divorce industry could receive a $9.5 billion boost from the nearly 800,000 same-sex couples currently living together."

“Gay marriage is literally the only thing that has the potential to change the size of the wedding industry.”

We Talk to Destination Marketing Expert Bruce Turkel

Last year’s high-dollar geo-domain sales — among them, $230,000;, $175,000;, $100,000 plus $11,000 in acquirer’s stock; and, $28,000 —raise on very big question: are these high five- and even six-figure prices for geo-domains realistic in terms of the value they can generate for owners?

Yes — if you understand that their main value is not in the revenue that the domains can generate through traffic and clicks but rather in the hotel bookings, restaurant and entertainment revenue and taxes that result from the real world tourist activity promoted through these domains.

==> One geo domain, many markets.
Segmentation is another advantage of a great domain name over traditional advertising. That one powerful domain can be talking to multiple demographic markets at once in a way no single print ad, radio spot or billboard could ever hope to. Look at how the Stockholm Visitors Board is maximizing return on its $175,000 investment in Separate pages promote Stockholm as a destination for children, art lovers, romantics, gays and more.

“Don’t forget the sub-domain factor,” counsels Turkel. “I know of dozens of large cities ramping up their budgets to reach the Dual Income No Kids (DINKs) recession-immune audiences.” This might help move domain negotiations that previously lacked justification or sense of urgency to buy. Sub-domains extend the reach of the domain by enabling you to present different faces to different demographic groups.

Part of what makes the domain so valuable is the time and circumstance, the ability to reach target communities with money to spend. Stockholm is a popular gay spot with rainbow flags hanging proudly in every district of the city and has become a hot tourist destination for transgender travelers."
==> Gays: A large, sometimes hidden, market – Easy to reach on the Web.
Consider the gay market. According to Community Marketing, the San Francisco-based research and marketing firm, the LGBT travel industry accounts for almost $70 billion in spending in the U.S. each year. Some places report that gay travelers spend double the amount per trip as straight visitors. And that’s not even factoring in the growing number of states moving toward legalizing gay marriage, which one day could bring in millions of dollars for destination wedding locations.

Bruce keynoted the LGBT travel convention in San Francisco. “The day after New York State legalized gay marriage we were advertising in The New York Times inviting straight and gay newlyweds to honeymoon in Miami.” Says Turkel excitedly.

“Stockholm is a popular gay spot with rainbow flags hanging proudly in every district of the city and has become a hot tourist destination for transgender travelers.

One reason for its popularity is because of the Swede’s progressive view of sexual orientation issues,” adds Turkel, who often addresses the destination industry on the opportunity for gay travel marketing . “When you look at these kinds of pages on (or linked from) the VisitStockholm site, you can begin to see the end-user value that may have been hiding from the domainers.”

==> What’s next for Domainer’s Holding The Cards: The Legalization of Gay Marriage.
Carley Roney, co-founder and editor in chief of, told The Daily Beast. “Gay marriage is literally the only thing that has the potential to change the size of the wedding industry.”

According to the Daily Ticker, "From an economic perspective, many favor the idea of marriage equality. If same-sex marriage was legalized, both the wedding and divorce industry could receive a $9.5 billion boost from the nearly 800,000 same-sex couples currently living together. Municipalities would increase revenue because of wedding licensing fees; New York City received a reported $250 million in revenue after lifting their ban on gay marriage. Companies like Tiffany’s (TIF), Marriot (MAR), and Williams-Sonoma (WSM) are just some that would feel the impact of this boom."

According to Huffington Post "Economists have followed gay marriage's impact on the wedding industry and local economies since Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex unions in 2004. The Williams Institute found that from May 2004 to September 2008, the Massachusetts economy enjoyed a $111 million boost as a result of gay marriage legalization."

"And in July, CNN Money reported that the legalization of gay marriage in New York boosted New York City's economy by $259 million in just one year."

But business in general benefits from same-sex marriage, argues John Taft, CEO of RBC Wealth Management-U.S.

“Companies who create an environment where employees are free to be authentically and completely who they are have more engaged employees and that translates into client and customer satisfaction,” says Taft. “I can tell you that if you do not extend benefits to same-sex partnerships, you are not competitive in the business world right now. The bottom line for excluding that population set from your benefit policy is going to be compromised not helped.”

Many business leaders have come out in support of same-sex marriage.

Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz made headlines just this week when a shareholder questioned whether the company’s support of marriage equality was hurting its bottom line. “If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it’s a free country,” Shultz replied. “You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.”

Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs (GS), recorded a commercial supporting marriage equality last year stating. “America's corporations learned long ago that equality is just good business and is the right thing to do,” he said in the ad.

“The economic benefits of same-sex marriage have been recognized by businesses around the country for years,” Taft says. “In many ways the corporate community is ahead of where we are socially because the largest corporations in the United States already recognize partnerships and same-sex marriages in their humans rights and benefits policies.”

The Supreme Court is expected to release its rulings on DOMA and Prop 8 this summer.

==> How To Capitalize On The Opportunity:
Something else we’ve talked about in the past is our belief that the best way to sell a great domain name is to demonstrate its value by building it out and beginning to monetize it yourself.

If you’re not prepared to do that, then the next best way to sell it is to proactively market it to the types of people, businesses or organizations you think could put it to best use.

Says Turkel, “People aren’t going to buy things you don’t sell. And while it’s easy to say, ‘I’m not a marketer,’ or ‘I’m not a salesman’ nothing happens until somebody sells something. All marketing is, is a way of getting people interested in what it is you have to sell. But more importantly, savvy marketers understand the power of building a brand. If you’ve already got a business, if you’ve already done most of the operational things you can do, then the only place to build value in your company, the only way to make your company more valuable, is to build your brand.”

If you’re a domainer seeking a share of those big destination marketing budgets but lacking the talent or ability to build a brand on your own, Turkel advises enlisting the aid of industry experts such as his agency in order to build the most convincing business case and achieve succeed. Each destination will have its own relevant and brandable “X” factor that will be hiding in plain sight.

More of our interviews with Bruce can be found HERE and HERE

As CEO of the successful brand management firm TURKEL, Bruce has been creating valuable brands for over 25 years. Some have said Bruce is a branding expert because of the great brands he's worked with. Others have said he's been hired by great brands because of his expertise. It was finally decided that everyone was correct. Bruce has used social media and vanity domains to transform Miami, the Orlando area, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and other destinations into must-see vacation hot spots. And his presentation to GEO domainers, “Putting Heads In Beds” on was the most watched and best received ever.

Bruce's books include: "Building Brand Value," "Brain Darts," and "New Design Miami." He has been featured in "The New York Times," "Communication Arts," "Advertising Age," "Ad Week," "USA Today," and "Graphic Design USA." And he has appeared on CNN, ABC, CBS and NPR. An accomplished and enthusiastic musician, Bruce also can be seen fronting the Miami rock and blues band, Black Star. He is a graduate of the University of Florida

About The Author: Owen Frager is an Internet marketing expert ready to help take your company to the next level.

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