Opinion

Understanding female business travellers

Carolyn Pearson, CEO of Maiden Voyage, a company that provides resources for female business travellers, explains why women’s requirements should be a key consideration for accommodations of all shapes and sizes

As more women take up senior positions, the female traveller is one of the fastest growing segments of the business travel market. With an overwhelming number of all travel decisions made by women, it makes great business sense for hotel and accommodation providers to listen to and address the needs of this influential customer segment.

In fact in 2011, the Cornell School of Hotel Administration published a significant report, ‘Creating Value for Female Guests’. It concluded that those hotels that catered to the specific needs of women travellers had a positive impact on the bottom line. 

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Two Businesswomen Using Laptop In Boardroom Meeting
Two Businesswomen Using Laptop In Boardroom Meeting

'The wants and needs of female travellers fall predominantly into two categories: comfort and safety'

Female business travellers are loyal to a good hotel or property, it’s one less thing to think about in the midst of our busy lives and it can become a welcome ‘home-from-home.’ With the combination of business and leisure no longer a novelty, there’s a really positive upside for accommodations who get it right with the potential for business travellers to extend their trip or even come back with the family.

So what do women really want from their accommodation providers? The wants and needs of female travellers fall predominantly into two categories: comfort and safety.

From a comfort perspective, we are looking for amenities that we are used to in the comforts of our own homes. A good night’s sleep, fluffy towels and a decent shower are of course the basic minimum requirements for any guest, but based on my own personal experience, these are also appreciated:

  • Good quality toiletries - no combined hair and body wash please!
  • Hangers that come out of the closet so that they can steam an outfit in the bathroom
  • For those that use them, good quality hairdryers so we don’t carry the additional weight of bringing our own
  • Plug sockets close to the mirror so we don’t have to be a contortionist
  • Healthy room service options and discreet dining areas so we don’t feel uncomfortable

Feeling vulnerable

In research conducted in 2015 by Maiden Voyage into issues concerning female business travellers, we found that 51% of women said they had at some point felt vulnerable when staying in a hotel, many admitting to having put a chair behind the door to give them peace of mind.

Interestingly, TripAdvisor has taken a stance against sexual harassment and assault in hotels by badging hotels for three months where an incident has occurred. This comes after the recent explosion to hit the press, shining a spotlight on the years of unreported sexual harassment. Millions of women came out in force on social media as the #MeToo campaign went viral.

Of course we know that the majority of hotel managers would be mortified and appalled if any of such incidents were to happen on their watch, but the majority of incidents are with a few key considerations.

Thinking of security

Guests, and in fact many hoteliers and properties, don’t realise that the comforting clunk of the door lock doesn’t automatically mean that the room is fully secure. A number of staff may have access to a master key and it's not uncommon for hotels to inadvertently double-book a room, so a door with two independent locks is going to prevent embarrassment to both guests and mitigate the risk of a potentially more serious incident.

Discretion

A simple failure to discreetly communicate the room number to a guest is a major irritator to lone female travellers.

Room allocation

We know from feedback from our travellers that they prefer not to take an adjoining room, it’s an extra door lock for them to think about but also sometimes uncomfortable to be able to hear the occupant next door.

The hotel and accommodation sector is teeming with passionate individuals keen to make a living in the business of being hospitable but we can easily take our businesses for granted. I invite you to revisit your own property and really view the experience from both a safety and comfort perspective. It could save your reputation and skyrocket your bottom line.

 

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Takeaway
  • Thinking of security and being discreet with room allocation are just a couple of simple tips that could make for a better experience for female business travellers
  • A report conducted by the Cornell School of Hotel Administration concluded that catering to the specific needs of women travellers had a positive impact on the bottom line

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