While female business travelers are now nearly half of the traffic for hotel properties, some hotels are still focused on catering to the traditional male business traveler. And that’s a big mistake. Their needs may vary, but with the increase in female business guests, smart hotels are stepping up to ensure their preferences are addressed.
According to maidenvoyage.com, the business women’s travel network founder, Carolyn Pearson, “ladies have high expectations.” To ensure that network recommended hotels are “female friendly” Pearson says, "We take the entire hotel staff -- from concierge to food and beverage -- and really get them to see their hotel through a woman's eyes. We identify two things: how can they improve her experience, and how can they create more loyalty and value so that she's more likely to return.”
The members at maidenvoyage.com consider minimum property features to include:
- 24 hour staff at entry
- Entrances that have good lighting
- Female room service delivery staff
- Secure rooms with at least two different locks for security
Dawn S. of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma shared, “I like to be asked if I have a preference on where my room is located. As a female often traveling alone, I really dislike getting the room farthest from the elevator right beside the back stairwell. It creeps me out!” Keeping room location in mind when checking-in a female guest is crucial to their good night’s respite – and their possibility of returning for business again or leisure travel.
Ensure that your staff is offering the property’s loyalty program if the traveler does not already have a membership. And if they do, highlight the benefits at check in. Does it include a free breakfast? A nightly cocktail in the lounge, gratis? Be sure to let them know and also keep them apprised if they are close to the next level in the program – and what those benefits will include. According to a Maritz research study, “consumers who are enrolled in customer loyalty programs are more likely to spend more money than non-members.” They also found that 62 percent of the women and 54 percent of men surveyed carried loyalty cards.
What does all of this mean for your property? It means it’s time to step up your game. One way is to ensure that your hotel is providing those “little something extra” details. High quality toiletries that don’t smell like they are made for men ranks high in female business traveler preferences. Neutral is fine, but women don’t want to go to their meetings smelling like a forest if they forgot their lotion. Gift stores or snack shops should carry more than beef jerky, beer and magazines and books for purchase beyond “Sports Illustrated” and “Motor Trend” (although they may read those too). Hotels that are updating their décor factor are now working in more features that are aimed to please the feminine guest like mattresses with adjustable firmness. They are insuring that the ambience leans more toward relaxing versus a work environment with modern lighting, sound and color – many are striving to create a spa-like environment of serenity. A must also are modern (detached) hairdryers, and removable coat hangers in the rooms.
Like the auto, technology, and other industries - hospitality needs to recognize the shift in their business model. Ensuring that security is at the top of its game, offering a variety of food and beverages options and other new amenities catering to the their feminine side, will go a long way in establishing a property as one that is preferred by female business travelers.