Skift Take

There are significant business opportunities available to smart brands who cater to the needs of female business travelers. Get the report to understand more.

Earlier this week we launched our new report “The Rise of Female Business Travelers” focused on learnings on how to attract and retain the loyalty of female business travelers.

Below is an extract. Get the full report, to get ahead of this trend.

The best way to start defining a product which will appeal to female business travelers is to say what it should not do:

  • It should not pander to stereotypes.
  • It should not (necessarily) be pink.
  • It does not need to be scented with sweet flowers.
  • Nor embossed with flowers.
  • Nor named after flowers.
  • It need not be dainty or quaint or cute.

Products targeted at women should do the same thing products targeted at men do: Solve problems.

While most of the problems facing women when they travel for business are identical to the problems faced by their male counterparts, there are some additional complications for women which brands targeting this demographic can gain by addressing.

This is an excerpt from our latest Global Trends Report The Rise of Female Business Travelers, which examines how travel providers can better appeal to this large and growing demographic.

Chris Nurko, Global Director of FutureBrand, points out that some hotels in the Middle East, like the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh, provide dedicated floors for women. In some cases of hotels making these accommodations, however, Nurko tells us:

“This tends to mean separate, not equal or better. The segregation has meant more attention being paid, but often only superficially. The product is still designed by men and often with ‘pink’ stereotypes including flowers/chintz and tissues.”

Going beyond these design stereotypes requires creativity, and some travel brands are getting creative.

The Hyatt hotel lab is one example. Hyatt has dedicated a number of its properties to experimentation, trying on a number of changes to design, product configuration and services to evaluate their appeal to customers. In fact, a number of hotels, including Marriott, IHG, Swissotels and Westin have introduced labs on their properties. Outside designers and in-house product managers contribute ideas which are deployed in limited rooms and areas of the hotel so that guests and staff can test them and determine if they work. These labs have introduced product and technology innovations which benefit to female business travelers and male business travelers alike.

Features like revamping check-in procedures, personalizing through “host” associates, ensuring these hosts can cater to the needs of travelers on arrival will appeal to both men and women.

That is a key point we must make. Designing to improve the travel experience for women most often results in designing solutions which make the travel experience better for men.

But both Froelich and Pearson point out that women will appreciate certain design and product features particular to their needs which may have no impact to the travel experience of men, or which may appear superfluous to me, but these extra features are “final touches” and easy to implement. Certainly, double-locking doors, improving lighting and positioning peep holes so that women can see out of them address the security needs of female business travellers.

Men might be indifferent to these changes. Providing special amenities including items which women may need or appreciate, like including toiletry items for women, providing power hair dryers and magnifying mirrors in the bathrooms, installing full length mirrors in the room, adding herbal teas to the coffee service, and healthy options in the room service menus would improve the travel experience for women. Men might like them too.

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The first five pages of the 24-page report, including the Executive Summary and Table of Contents, are embedded below:

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Photo credit: Flower prints aren't necessary, but this Swissotel, Geneva has good marks from female traveler groups because of its security and pleasant atmosphere. Swissotels

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