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Assumptions are so not cute.
Let me give you an example. Back in 2006, I worked as a paralegal, a job that once sent me on an extended business trip to Europe. In the Netherlands, the first stop, our five-person team stood before the front desk, jet-lagged and cranky. We watched the clerk type like a boss, as though the harder he struck the keyboard, the more satisfied we’d feel with his service.
“Mister Chris?” he finally asked, shooting an eager look from woman to woman to woman. I should mention that while the gender split at the law firm leaned to the side of dudes, this trip’s team was all-female. Not a single Mister among us. Apparently, though, the head partner’s unisex name had thrown our little manservant for quite the loop.
The assumption that the person in charge of our group was male made a fool out of the front desk guy, not to mention the hotel. But the mistake also seems emblematic of a larger problem faced by the hospitality industry. Namely, hotels have perennially overlooked female business travelers as an important demographic.
Seeing as women now represent 50 percent of business travelers, this is a ginormous problem. With numbers like these, you’d think that women were half the population or something. Oh, wait, duh, we are.
As businesswomen wield more and more clout, hotel brands need to get it together, buck assumptions, and start marketing to female business travelers. Hotels that succeed at this will be those who remember that ladies like to be accommodated without feeling targeted. After all, the differences between male and female travelers are subtle at best. The way that hotels address these details should match this nuance.
Sadly, a part of the oversight by hotel brands might come as a result of tech’s similar lady problem. Gals in gingham aprons swiping wistfully through recipes on her tablet. Beach girls summersaulting on Instagram. If you believe the advertisements, these are the only women using technology. Otherwise, leave tech to the Clark Kent doppelgangers. Leave it to the businessmen flying first class.
One detail that hotels should recognize is that, despite how we’re portrayed in the majority of ads, women are extraordinarily tech-savvy. In fact, according to social scientist Genevieve Bell, director of user experience research at Intel Labs, women lead the way in adopting and consuming technology.
“Women are the vast majority owners of all internet enabled devices—readers, healthcare devices, GPS—that whole bundle of technology is mostly owned by women,” Bell said in a talk at Australia’s Commonwealth Broadcasting Association Conference. “It turns out if you want to find out what the future looks like, you should be asking women.”
“And just before you think that means you should be asking 18-year-old women,” Bell continued, “it actually turns out the majority of technology users are women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s.”
Findings by the Pew Internet Project back up Bell in regards to women’s use of social media and search engines. The organization recently found that 78 percent of female internet users are active on social media. Nearly 29 percent of women, a number almost twice that of men, cite that receiving support from people in their network is a major reason that they use Facebook. In addition, 91 percent of online women use search engines and 74 percent purchase online.
Simply put, women hang out online. Hotel brands that represent themselves on social sites like Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Yelp are doing well to cater to this huge, important demographic. But what else can hotels do to market to today’s tech-savvy female business travelers?
Think back to that time right before to the mobile device boom. It’s like an alternate universe, a Twilight Zone where business travelers booked each of our hotels before going on their trips and took our chances on a kebab shop without consulting online reviews of countless other folks.
Now, hotel brands that want to keep up with today’s female business traveler need to be technologically smart. They need to let us book rooms on the go. They need to have slick, mobile-compatible property-level websites that help us make reservations right from our devices.
Face it. We lady business travelers are anything but basic. On our trips, we depend on technology to rev up our work, play, and hotel stays. Clunky-as-a-brick laptops are a thing of the past. Today, we fly with our iPads in-tow like a bunch of latter-day, badass Amelia Earharts.
We demand constant access to Spotify, Google Drive, HBO Go, ecommerce, the Cloud, and all the other tech that makes 2014 a wonderful new world. Give us that sweet, sweet WiFi. Blast it everywhere on your property. Let’s get our Internet swerve on all over the place—in our rooms, your lobby, and that ever-loving haven swerve, the hotel bar.
Six-thousand properties worldwide have met the high standards of today’s techy lady business traveler using buuteeq’s cloud-based digital marketing service. Check them out here because these days, more and more female business travelers are checking-in with tech than ever before.
This content is created in partnership with our sponsor, buuteeq.