Earlier today, Bloomberg ran a sobering report: as those of you who cover the brothel industry for your company know, Nevada's whorehouses have taken a serious hit, "dwindling to about 19 from roughly 36 in 1985," thanks to the state's "flagging economy, decreased patronage by truckers squeezed by fuel cost and growing use of the Internet to arrange liaisons." According to area madam Susan Austin, of the Mustang Ranch, "clients don't have the discretionary income they had six years ago...the ones that come in, they aren't spending quite what they were spending before." One man bucking the trend? Denis Hoff, owner of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch. He appeared on "Market Makers" this morning to let Stephani Ruhle and the Bloomberg TV audience know that not only are his brothels surviving, they're thriving.
How does Hof differentiate himself from his competitors? For starters, he says, "The Bunny Ranch is not your daddy's old cat house. We make it fun, we make it a good time." If you're wondering exactly what that means, you're not alone. Ruhle was confused, too, and not about to let Hof get off with vague statements. "What do you mean 'fun and a good time'?" Ruhle pressed. "One would think at the end of the day that sex, any way you have it, is fun and a good time." The way Hof sees it, it's the difference between paying for sex and getting only sex in return and paying for sex and getting sex plus a comedy show to boot.
"At the Bunny Ranch they're having a good time, they're laughing, they're giggling, they're interacting with 40 to 50 beautiful girls that want to have a good time. It's more than sex nowadays."
Okay, so laughs and giggles, got it. But what about internet competition? "You can go on so many different websites where ladies are advertising their wares...why do I need Dennis Hof when I can go to places like Craiglist," Ruhle wanted to know. Simple: "In the real world," Hof explained, "1 out of 4 girls in the young age group has an STD. When you get into prostitution that doubles. So you have a fifty percent chance of getting a disease with a working girl. That's why [our way] works so well. It's safe, it's discreet. If you're Eliot Spitzer, you want to come to the Bunny Ranch, we're not going to tell your constituents...Eliot Spitzer has not [actually] been to the Bunny Ranch. But him and Bill Clinton should've been, and they wouldn't have had the problems they've had in the past...If Anthony Weiner would've been sexting with one of our girls, or all of our girls, he would still be in Washington."
So laughs + giggles + STD-free + discreet sex/sexting = good for business. But how good?
Bloomberg: You mention the industry has seen a 40% slump. How do you counter that? How do you keep your [brothel] relevant and booming?
Hof: Well we do the right marketing, we have the right girls. In the last five years my business has gone up at least 10 percent a year. It's doing the job properly. The marginal operators are just going away.
Bloomberg: So how do you expand on that? Are you building more and potentially thinking of going public?
Hof: I'm buying every brothel I can and I want to turn it into a public company and it's going to be a great company.
An IPO could still be a long way off but you heard it here first folks: it is most certainly happening. What can you do to help Hof get the wheels moving? Offering your services as an underwriter, sure, but start small. Hof's gonna need a ticker symbol that pops and WHOR is too obvious. Do him a solid and think outside the box.
Prostitution Recession-Proof: Bunny Ranch Owner [Bloomberg TV]
Brothels in Nevada Suffer as Web Disrupts Oldest Trade [Bloomberg]