What Women (Really) Want
By Brenda Fields Founder, Fields & Company | May 19, 2010
As an industry, we have come a long way from catering to the woman customer by placing a red rose on the bed or handing her a restaurant menu without the prices. We realize that the woman customer is typically the decision maker in choosing the hotel or restaurant and is more often than not, the one who pays the bills.
In 2005, women accounted for approximately 43% of the business travelers, according to the Travel Industry of America. In addition, a recent New York University study identified the women business traveler as a "baby boomer with a college degree who earns over $75,000 per year". That profile typically points to a sophisticated and discriminating traveler. And research confirms that women tend to have higher expectations than men when it comes to comfort, service, and security.
But, we fall short in identifying the unique needs of the woman business traveler when we make it exclusively about security. In actuality, no reasonable man or woman would stay at a property if he or she did not feel secure. Personal security is the minimum expectation of any guest. The industry has made improvements and is responding. Now, many chains routinely train staff to discretely tell a guest his or her room number when checking in or will write the room number down for the guest to avoid anyone overhearing. And telephone operators are trained to avoid giving out room numbers.
With security in place, creating a product that helps the woman traveler feel her best and perform well on her business trip, will inspire loyalty and drive market share and will help your property outperform its competitors. Sometimes, it's the little things that make the difference. Instead of looking for that great marketing idea to drive business, just addressing the basic needs could be the answer to impact and maintain revenues.
Currently, standard in-room amenities in almost all types of hotels are: irons and ironing boards, hair dryers, shower caps, toiletries, alarm clocks, and coffee makers. But many times, they are not as women-friendly as they could be or fully address her needs. The following provides some insight into the needs of the woman business traveler so that hoteliers can decide if they need to make adjustments as well as determine the ROI if a large investment is warranted.