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09/03/2008

Manchester's bank book: Will banking on bias put it in the red?

by Jeremy Hooper

 Good As You Images Picture-18-31Is the internal brass within the Manchester Financial Group worried that the pro-gay boycott of their two San Diego hotels, the Manchester Grand Hyatt and The Grand Del Mar, will come at a hefty cost? Well if an email recently obtained by The San Diego Union-Tribune is any indication, then the answer is a resounding yes. The paper got hold of a correspondence sent to Doug Manchester by his chief financial officer Paul Wilkins, wherein Wilkins reportedly warns that the boycott, brought about because of Manchester's hefty donation to the anti-gay Proposition 8 campaign, could cost millions or even tens of millions of lost revenue.

The Union Tribune has more:

Manchester executive is troubled by boycott [SD Union-Tribune]

For his part, Doug Manchester is remaining gung-ho about his donation and his stance. He proudly declares to the paper that Wilkins' predictions have not come true, saying that they have "picked up lots of business since the boycott began.” And ya know, it's totally fine if he wants to keep that attitude. But here's a real deal: This writer and his partner stayed at the Manchester Grand Hyatt a year ago and had a really great time. The room was nice, the pool area was relaxing, the location was ideal, the top floor bar was appropriately swanky, and the breakfast buffet was both filling and pleasing. We spent a fair amount of dinero on our stay, and had every plan to stay there again when back in SD.

Fast forward to 2008: My partner has to return to San Diego later this month. And guess what? My family and my friends would sooner sleep in the rental car than give Mr. Manchester a dime! Because in addition to the forthcoming SD business trip, my partner and I are also planning a Golden State wedding for next year. So neither we nor anyone in our lives would even consider supporting someone who is trying to put the kibosh on our California dream! This year, instead of giving the hefty room cost, the room service fees, the impromptu mini bar charges, the breakfast buffets tabs, and the gift shop purchase tallies to Doug Manchester, we have made every effort to find a San Diego hotel that is dedicated to our equality. And that will be the case for every SD pilgrimage from here on out, regardless of Prop. 8's future. We just can't lay our heads to rest in a room where we feel so unwanted!

And we're far from alone in that. There are scores of gays and allies who every day make the pointed decision to avoid Doug Manchester's properties. So while Mr. Manchester may be putting up a steadfast public front, he is absolutely losing business for his choice to side with the forces of bias. Gays like luxury hotels. Gays like to travel. Gays like California. Gays like being treated with fairness. It's true that Mr. Manchester's unfortunate donation may bring him some increased business from social conservatives. But by drawing the line in the sand, he has alienated a key market with very large memory banks. To NOT be worried would be as short-sighted as standing in the way of civil equality!

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Your thoughts

I think even better is that at least one large company is likely to be moving conferences away from the hotel. Several conferences have already been moved.

Posted by: David | Sep 3, 2008 11:26:51 AM

Does anyone know if travel agencies or online agents (like traveolicty, expedia, or orbitz) have joined in this boycott?

Posted by: Raphael | Sep 3, 2008 11:39:25 AM

If homophobes want business licenses and the public's business, they better get used to serving ALL of the public.

Discrimination sucks.

Posted by: Chino Blanco | Sep 3, 2008 11:51:03 AM

Raphael: As far as I know, they have not. One interesting thing, however, is that in some of their ads that run in gay publications, Hyatt corporate removed San Diego from their list of gay-welcoming cities:

http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2008/07/pro-gay-hyatt-n.html

Posted by: G-A-Y | Sep 3, 2008 11:55:22 AM

You are right about the long memory. I haven't bought ExxonMobil in years either. I would rather push the car 10 more miles to another gas station than subsidize their non-support od DP benefits.

Posted by: Ed | Sep 3, 2008 3:04:44 PM

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