PHOENIX — Destination resorts across Arizona are broadening their marketing strategies since same-sex marriage became legal last month.
Hotels in Phoenix, Sedona and elsewhere are offering discounts or tweaking their advertising to lure same-sex couples, reports the Arizona Republic.
Michael McFall, publisher of Pride Guide, said he has been inundated with calls from Arizona businesses since the Oct. 17 ruling. Based in Phoenix, Pride Guide prints LGBT-oriented guides in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada and New Mexico. Most of the business owners calling want to revise their ads or purchase an ad for the first time.
“We’re seeing a lot of thinking outside the box or, as I like to call it, thinking outside the closet,” McFall said.
Daniel Carrillo, sales director at Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa, said the 72-room resort is excited to broaden its appeal to more people as a wedding or honeymoon site.
“Now, I can market it not only as a gay-friendly place to stay, but I can market it as an open venue for you to do your service, your wedding, your reception, your rehearsal dinner,” Carrillo said.
U.S. District Judge John Sedwick last month struck down a 1996 state law and a 2008 voter-approved constitutional amendment that outlawed gay marriage. Sedwick’s decision came after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling Oct. 7 that gay marriage prohibitions in Nevada and Idaho violated the equal-protection rights of same-sex couples.
Attorney General Tom Horne said the state would not challenge the federal court decision. His announcement immediately led to numerous same-sex couples lining up to wed at a courthouse in downtown Phoenix.
While Las Vegas tourism officials and hotels along the Strip touted the ruling on social media, Arizona tourism bureaus have been a little more understated. The Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau appeared to be the only tourism office that called attention to the ruling on its Facebook and Twitter accounts with the message, “Scottsdale is proud to celebrate marriage equality. Love is in the air.”
Some hotel owners are also reaching out to same-sex couples but with little fanfare. Dawn Delaney and Lisa Carlson, the married owners of the Prescott Pines Inn, are offering a 32 percent discount – a nod to the number of states that now allow gay marriage – for same-sex newlyweds through Nov. 7. However, they are not actively promoting the discount online or elsewhere.
“It’s a little bit scary,” Carlson said. “We want to celebrate, and we want to be out there. But on the other hand, there’s a lot of people out there that are not happy this went through.”
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