The Market Mercifully Scotches Women-Only Hotel Floors

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Sometimes the free market really does work for the betterment of society. One such example is Marriott's recent decision to scrap plans for a women-only floor at a luxury hotel the chain will open in September in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Marriott took note of the surge in female business travelers (now more than 40 percent of the business travel market) and thought it would mimic the setup it launched 2 1/2 years ago in Bloomington, Minn.

There, female travelers pay an additional $30 per night for tighter security, makeup mirrors, fresh flowers, and chocolates.

Surprisingly, no one complained about the setup in Bloomington.

But after word of the Grand Rapids plans got out, there were comparisons with white-only floors for members of the Ku Klux Klan. Marriott backed off.

Wisely so. Last time I checked, men liked to be secure in their hotel rooms, too. And critics of the plan were quick to point out that as soon as gender-based segregation is approved in one form at a public accommodation, other forms (male-only floors for corporate CEOs is one possibility) are sure to follow.

Marriott's idea seems more like a cheeky marketing creation to enlarge its share of the growing female business traveler market than anything else.