"Don't treat us equally," female business travellers tell hotels

By danwarne, July 18 2011

A Cornell University report claims as much as female businesspeople expect to be treated equally to men, their travel needs are not the same.

The research titled, "focusing on emotional outcomes", says hotels need to do more than their early efforts of adding skirt-hangers to closets to woo the female travel dollar.

Some hotel initiatives cited that have been received well by female travellers include:

  • The Pan Pacific San Francisco's addition of security escort from the lobby to room for female guests
  • Networking tables in hotel restaurants set aside for solo women who prefer to dine with others (Loews and Wyndham hotels).
  • “Wonder Woman” packages at W Hotels designed to make stays more relaxing, including three lip glosses, a signature fragrance, black mascara, a silk eye mask, specialty cocktail and 20% off voucher for Diane von Furstenberg (the designer behind the Wonder Woman kit) merchandise.
  • A women's only floor of several hotels including a Crowne Plaza hotel (specific property not named), the Portal Hotel in Brisbane, as well as reserved covered parking close to the door of the lobby.
  • Hotels keeping a record of female travellers' past requests, so they can anticipate their needs and set up the room with extras before they arrive.

However, the report cautioned hotels against trying to find "one size fits all" solutions for attracting female travellers.

"Rather than try to identify a particular amenity or service or facility that women particularly prefer, managers need to provide a requisite cluster of services, facilities, and amenities.

"This more individualized approach makes particularly good sense when the wide variations among individual properties and differences in managers’ ability to implement change is also considered," the report commented.

The four emotional affective states the report said women valued most were:

  • feelings of personal safety (well-lit hallways, brightly lit covered parking, deadbolts on doors, security escorts),
  • personal comfort (ultra-lux hotel specialty beds such as the Westin's "Heavenly Bed", pillow selection, heat/light/sound/colour in the room, spa-like ambience)
  • feelings of empowerment (services that allow guests to maintain personal wellbeing during their stay, such as room service, executive lounge facilities, on-site fitness centre, spa facilities)
  • feelings of being valued (amenities that go above and beyond the standard hotel experience and make a guest feel pampered, brand-name bath products, make-up mirrors, fresh flowers, flavoured coffees and teas)

The report also debunked misconceptions that female travellers felt guilty about being away from their families.

"The majority of respondents felt little stress or guilt about traveling and being away from home. The women who responded felt that business travel contributed to their professional advancement and provided freedom from daily routines."


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