Posted by Abe Sauer on January 7, 2010 02:07 PM
Spain-based Axel Hotels specializes in meeting the needs of gay hotel guests. The brand operates hotels in Barcelona, Buenos Aires, and Berlin. Among other unique offerings and amenities, visitors can choose from the traditional "do not disturb" signs and more adventurous "please disturb" versions.
The gay travel market is booming, with data showing lesbian, gay, and transgendered tourists are worth about $70 billion per year in the US alone. Axel Hotels, not surprisingly, sees ample opportunity for its brand in the United States. But where to build its debut hotel in America? Why, New York City, of course.
The New York location, planned for 2011, makes sense on many levels. Not only does the city boast a large, prominent gay community, it is also a popular destination for gay tourists. Furthermore, New York City proactively courts the gay tourism dollar, pound, mark, and franc. Recently, New York crafted an ad campaign worth nearly $2 million to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
Though ostensibly Axel appears to be a "gay" hotel brand, it chooses to define itself according to a different standard:
"Two men, two women or a man and a woman, any type of customers are equally welcome, without prejudice to their sexual orientation. We do not want to define AXEL HOTELS as gay, we introduce a new term: heterofriendly."
However, the brand also does not discourage any perception that most of its guests are gay. Nor should it. Brands that try to be all things to all people are rarely strong. Axel has crafted its brand perfectly to meet a specific demographic, and it benefits greatly from positive word of mouth among gay travelers. And, sure, it may never be as big as a Hilton or Holiday Inn, but its brand might be just as strong.
Axel reports that it also plans hotel extensions in Los Angeles, Miami, and San Francisco.