Xrtw. S U N D A Y , J A N U A R Y 18 1998 BUSINESS Gay travelers find Critical period for investments is next 3 weeks T he calendar says 1998 begins Jan. 1. However, the New Year didn't really get under way sign until Tuesday evening, after the mar-' kets closed. Why? Because that's when Intel reported its quarterly profit for the fourth quarter and ush- ered in the start of a crucial earn- ings-release season. These three-week in the travel periods, which occur every January, April, July The Associated Press and October, are always A merican Airlines has important five sales representa- But they will tives specifically mar- be especially keting to gay travelers, important in but the carrier won't 1966 as Wall Streetwise extend health benefits to gay employ- Street comes Lauren Rudd ees' domestic partners. to terms with St Maarten is trying to attract gay a slowdown in corporate-earnings visitors to its sandy beaches, while its growth. Caribbean neighbor, Grand Cayman, Traditional thinking holds that refused to allow a cruise ship carry- lower earnings are a bad omen. Yet, ing gay passengers to dock for the if the economy remains steady, day. stocks are very capable of moving Sought after for their tourist dol- higher even without the stellar earn- lars, gay and lesbian travelers find ings growth of the past three years. that in some circles they are still But regardless of the earnings trend, shunned for their lifestyle. keep in mind that Wall Street's reac- For instance, Sandals, which runs tion to a surprise earnings 10 couples-only resorts in Jamaica announcement is quite predictable. and other Caribbean islands, only A positive surprise usually trans- allows heterosexual couples as a lates to a higher stock price, while a matter of policy. negative surprise means the stock "I constantly remind myself where will most assuredly become a blue we've come and how fast weVe come light special. as a community," said John Which brings us to the question of d'Alessandro, president of the how are things going to turn out this International Gay and Lesbian reporting season? If Intel is any Travel Association. "We are no gauge, the future looks somewhat longer illegal. The. question of us better than many had feared but not being 'sick* has gone away complete- as good as some had hoped for. ly. But the fact is people grew up in In announcing its earnings for the an environment where we're not an fourth quarter, Intel reported dilut- accepted crowd. Today we are, but ed net income of 98 cents a share, its going to take people some time." down from $1.08 a share, but above The Cayman Islands this month Wall Street expectations of 90 cents refused to allow a cruise ship char- a share. Revenue rose to a record tered for about 850 gay men to make $8.5 billion from $6.4 billion. a one-day stop in port, saying "care- The Santa Clara, Calif-based com- ful research and prior experience pany also warned that its first quar- has led us to conclude fhat we cannot ter revenues would be flat when count on the group to uphold the compared to the fourth quarter. But . standards of appropriate behavior." what hit Wall Street the hardest was In contrast, the island of St. that the semiconductor giant unex- Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles pectedly forecast that its overall welcomes gay travelers and will be gross profit margin would be about advertising this year in Out maga- 55 percent of total revenues in 1996, zine. ,D«vU Alport, publisher of the gay travel newsletter "Out and About," says major tourism organizations and countries have come to realize In recent "plus or minus a few points." It was "We're looking at various niche ywr» th« dollar value of the gay market. 59 percent for the fourth quarter. markets and one of those niche mar- Nonetheless, Intel holds about 90 kets would be the homosexual mar- ket," said Regina LaBega, director of Gay-friendly airlines More big advertisers percent of the microprocessor mar- ket for personal computers and is marketing for St. Maarten. "They do Out & About, a newsletter for gay and lesbian travelers, recently rated expanding rapidly into the worksta- have the discretionary income, and they spend, and we havent had any airlines on their gay-friendliness. Only the foreign-based British Airways and Virgin Atlantic scored an 'A,' even though they don't offer health and seek thriving audience tion and server computer markets. With some 1,000 chip designers problems with homosexuals—or any other group — coming to the island." The 1GLTA estimates that gay and insurance benefits to gay employees. . in the gay press working on multiple design efforts, 4 Intel is likely to continue to outpace ' its competition. lesbians account for nearly 10 per- Alaska Airlines Continental TWA By Eric & Quinonfts Yet, at this time last year many cent of the $200 billion that El The Associated Press were losing faith in Intel. The com- Americans spend annually on busi- pany was facing its most serious ness and leisure travel. America West Airlines Delta United NEW YORK — The gay press was founded to give competition in years as Advanced With that sort of spending power, voice to an isolated community. Nearly 30 years later, Micro Devices increased both its the travel industry has increasingly Corporate America is increasingly wooing that commu- chip-design ability and its factory put out the welcome mat for homo- nity and its buying power. capacity in an attempt to go head-to- sexual travelers. .One result is that American Airlines Northwest US Airways Advertising in gay publications is soaring with an head with Intel's speediest chips. the IGLTA, founded in 1983 with 25 increasing number of huge companies pitching cars, However, manufacturing problems tour operators and travel agent mem- travel, computers, investments, drugs, clothings and curtailed production of AMD's K6 bers, reached about 600 members by more. New advertisers in 1997 included IBM, United microprocessor. Those problems 1902 and today boasts nearly 1,400 British Airways Souththwest Virgin Atlantic Airlines and American Express. still plague the company today and members, including the Avis and "In spite of the fact that a larger number (of gay pub- will continue to do so for the fore- National car rental chains, the lications) are free, we have a viable audience and they seeable future. Philadelphia Convention and Criteria considered includes transferability of frequent flyer awards, are brand loyal," said Bob Craig, publisher of Frontiers, AMD is beginning to sound like a Visitor's Bureau, the Australia same-sex spousal benefits, airline support fn the community, inclusion a biweekly gay newsmagazine that has served Los broken record and Wall Street is tourism council, and most of the of sexual orientation in a nondiscrimination policy, and training programs Angeles since 1982 and expanded to San Francisco in becoming weary of the tune. The major U.S. airlines, with the excep- covering sexual orientation and AIDS. 1994. inability of AMD to properly execute tion of Delta and TWA. Source: Out and About AP/Amy Kraru Readers of gay newspapers in 10 major markets have its business plan, within what is now "In the last five years, major an average individual income of $47,090, according to a diminishing window of opportuni- tourism organizations and countries Simmons Market Research Bureau. That figure is more ty, could prove fatal. have come to realize the dollar value Five years ago, none of the airlines my. The gay-friendly marketing cam- than twice the U.S. per capita income of $18,135 based on So where does Intel's stock go of the gay market," said David Alport, allowed a gay person to sign up their paign and the lack of domestic bene- Census Bureau figures. from here? Let's assume that earn- publisher of the gay travel newsletter partner for a lounge club program or fits are "two entirely different Simmons also found that 94 percent of the more than ings stay flat for all of 1998 at $.98 Out & About 'There's no question transfer a frequent flier award to a issues," she said. 735.000 readers studied are likely to buy a product or per quarter, or $3.92 for the year. that tourism is an economically dri- significant other. The lawsuit is "a broader issue of service advertised in a gay publication. With a P/E ratio of 20 the stock ven segment of the business world." Many of the airlines have since what a city can tell an airline to do in "In choosing somewhere, I'll go to a store that I know should be trading at about $78. But even while courting the niche changed those policies. terms of how it operates," Redar said. advertises in the paper," said Dallas resident Dennis Given that Intel probably deserves a market, some companies still wrestle "American may not offer every sort As for why American — and the higher P/E, having traded at a P/E of with their own issues involving gay of benefit for its gay employees, but other U.S. carriers — don't follow See ADVERTISERS, Page 6E 30 yi the past, it would appear that employees. they are doing so much more than the some major companies like most of the downside risk has been American Airlines added five vast majority of companies out there," Alport said. "Sometimes, rec- American Express Co and the Walt Disney Co. in offering domestic part Ads add up wrung out of the stock. Will earnings remain flat during employees to its 100-person market- ing department to focus solely on the ognizing the value of your employees ner benefit*, Rader said it has been The most widely advertised products and services in 1998? I doubt it. Intel is gearing up gay community. The airline is an is the last step a company will take." proposed by the airlines gay and les gay publications, based on percentage of ad space as to launch as many as 20 micro active member of the IGLTA, has Out & About, which has 10,000 sub- bian employees' group and was calculated by the Mulryan/Nash advertising firm: processors in 1998, compared with added sexual orientation to its scribers, recently rated several air- "being studied" 13 in 1997. The Pentium II micro lines on their gay-friendliness. Only There is no doubt that companies • Bars and clubs, 19.9 percent processor will spread from the high nondiscrimination policy, allows the foreign-based British Airways that appear gay friendly set them • Phone services. 16.6 percent end to all segments of Intel's product group discounts for people traveling to gay and lesbian conventions and and Virgin Atlantic scored an 'A,' and selves up for criticism by conserva- • Classifieds. 9.1 percent line Processor speeds are likely to donates money to organizations even they don't offer health and tives. • Gay events and meetings. 5.3 percent increase from 300 megahertz to 450 important in the gay community. insurance benefits to gay employees. Southern Baptist leaders have • Retail products and services, 4.1 percent megahertz Then in 1999. Intel is Despite the marketing effort that Indeed. American and United asked the church's 15 million mem • Business cards, 3.9 percent expected to launch its new chip line brings in about $150 million in new Airlines — the only U.S. airline to bers to boycott Disney, in part • Restaurants, 2.7 percent called Merced, which should ciis revenue annually, the airline still advertise in a national gay magazine because of the domestic benefits and • Medical/HIV. 2.7 percent tance it from its competitors even doesn't extend spousal travel privi with its "United with pride" ads — other gay friendly policies further Now that I have started your • Professional services (non-medical). 2.6 percent leges and pension programs to part joined a lawsuit filed on behalf of 25 American gets it from both sides train of thought, the next step is for • Theater, concerts and dance. 2.5 percent you to do your own research and ners of gay employees. In fact, no airlines last year that sought to block "We have been criticized by some family organizations for marketing to • Real estate, 2.3 percent draw your own conclusions. US. based airline does. a San Francisco law that would force airlines that fly into the city into gay and lesbian groups and by gay • Fitness, health and hygiene, 2.3 percent VMJ can write to financial cohimnfct "There's some measure of hypocrisy, but in reality, all progress adopting domestic partner plans and lesbian employees who would • Automotive, 2.2 percent Lauran Rudd c/o tht Savannah is made one step at a time." Alport American spokeswoman Andrea clearly like this matter to move more • Travel/out-of-town events. 2.2 percent Morning Nmvt, P.O. Box 1088, said. Rader doesn't see that as a dichoto quickly." Rader said • Movies, TV. radio, video. 2.1 percent Savannah, OA 31402.