Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Olivia Travel: Will They Become the Lesbian AARP?

(Link) The cruise line of choice for affluent lesbians toys with the idea of starting retirement resorts for women. "Hey! You straight kids! Get off my lawn!"

1 comment:

LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:
By Angela D’Amboise

(San Francisco, CA) – Olivia Travel, long known for its lesbian cruises and outdoor events, has announced plans to focus on resort retirement communities for gay and lesbian seniors in the coming year.

According to MSNBC, the San Francisco-based travel company has looked at three locations in Palm Springs for its first retirement community and is now looking for a real estate developer to build it.

“Now we're a travel company, but what I really think we are is a lifestyle company,” said Amy Errett, Olivia’s CEO. “We see ourselves as becoming the gay AARP.”

Errett told MSNBC she anticipates strong demand for the Palm Springs community.

“Without going out and marketing, we have close to 600 people who said, ‘Sign me up, wherever you do it, whatever you do, we're coming,’” Errett announced at an Association for Corporate Growth luncheon in San Francisco on September 15. “The hospitality nature of our business translates very well into a resort retirement community.”

The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force estimated there are more than 1 million gay seniors in the United States when it launched its “aging initiative” six years ago to address retirement, health care and other issues facing older gay Americans.

“That number will explode when large numbers of out-of-the-closet baby boomers reach retirement,” an NGLTF executive said at the time. The affluent segment of the gay and lesbian community is a market niche that's generating a lot of buzz among those planning retirement communities. "What happens with aging, is that your safety, community and ability to fully be who you are is at risk," Errett said. She also believes retiring boomers will seek retirement communities promoting active living rather than those focused on assisted living.

Olivia, which currently generates about $20 million in annual revenue primarily by chartering cruises for affluent gay women, is also eying the cruise and travel business targeting gay men. "We have looked at making a handful of acquisitions,” Errett said. “The only way we'd move into the gay men's travel market is if we had another brand or acquired another brand.”