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Gold in the pink market Novotel Siam Square

is facing a possible boycott from gay customers and the hotel is scrambling for damage-control measures, After the news spread that transvestite Sutthirat Simsiriwong was denied entry into the hotel's nightclub, Novotel Siam Square is facing possible cancellation of room reservations from the international gay community to voice their disapproval against discrimination. (See the updated story in the local news section today).

Different accounts of the case show that it's unclear whether the barring of Sutthirat was a result of a misunderstanding or prejudice against his sexual orientation.

We just hope that such a mishap was a misunderstanding rather than anything else, especially when prejudice can translate into not only a big loss in business revenue but also the loss of a career.

Last month, American TV star Isaiah Washington was kicked off the popular drama series "Grey's Anatomy" after he reportedly used a derogatory epithet about his gay co-star. That was enough to anger a legion of the show's fans, especially those who advocate gay rights.

Admit it, there are still quite a number of conservative people who are not comfortable with the third sex. But hey, if you are smart and want to stay the business, you will have to shunt such prejudice aside.

The gay market is attractive as its members are affluent, maintain brand loyalty and shop more frequently than heterosexual men.

Last year, Time ran a story on the gay market by citing a figure on Britain's gays - accounting for about 6 per cent of the population, or 3.6 million - who spend an estimated US$130 billion (Bt4.46 billion) annually.

This group of clients has a high disposable income. They like to go out to nightclubs and trendy restaurants.

They dress well and hang out in luxury spas.

The report highlighted a TV commercial for Italian designers Dolce & Gabbana which featured two handsome young men.

A 2006 Harris Interactive study for Viacom's new gay network LOGO also revealed that LOGO watchers attended film opening weekends twice as often as everyone else.

Gay consumers buy a lot of tickets, and not just to musicals. In fact, quite a number of popular TV programmes feature gay characters, such as "Will and Grace" and "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy".

To sum up, Time said, "It's cool to think pink."

Stay tuned for Novotel Siam Square's press conference today.



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