Like many working women, business travel has always been an important part of my career. While always a confident traveler, I can’t deny that inner protective voice that rumbles each time I check in at the front desk (“I hope no one knows my room number!”), sprint down the hall for a bucket of ice (“Will a stranger grab me?”), dine alone in the restaurant (“Why I didn’t order room service?”), or open the door for the bellboy (“So glad I ordered room service!”)
According to a 2011 study of women travelers by the Cornell University School of Hotel Management, these anxieties are normal for women, who comprise nearly half of all business travelers. The study reports that as the ranks of female business travelers continue to grow, hotels must better address what women need from their business travel experiences.
Here are four ways the study says hotels can make women feel more at home when traveling for business:
(1) Promote safety. Above all, women want to feel safe. A study of 13,000 women from Fortune 1,000 companies confirms that women want assurance that their hotel cares about their safety. While male travelers are satisfied with basics about fire exits and in-room safes, women want comprehensive support regarding personal safety from intruders or assaults. Specific measures hotels have taken include well-lit hallways, covered parking and deadbolts on doors.
(2) Offer comfort. Women are more concerned about getting a good night’s sleep than men. In a joint study, the National Sleep Foundation and Hilton Hotels discovered that nearly 80 percent of women say sleep is a valuable use of time, while 30 percent of males say it’s “a waste of time.” Hotels have taken notice, with such innovations as Westin’s Heavenly Bed and other bed-related amenities. Other ambience factors – heat, light, sound and color – also contribute to comfort and relaxation, with increasing numbers of hotels striving to create a spa-like environment.
(3) Empower us. Surveys reveal that business travel broadens our horizons, contributes to professional advancement, and offers a respite from daily routines. Other amenities like room service and in-room facilities help women travelers achieve a sense of independence and well-being. A 2001 study found that more than 75 percent of women order room service at least once a day – compared to 54 percent of men. And a 2003 study ranked women’s top “must-haves” as mini-bars (71 percent) and on-site spa services (47 percent). In addition, a Kempinski Hotels survey ranked workout facilities as the “ideal” accommodation for women travelers.
(4) Value us. Beyond standard services, women appreciate amenities that make us feel pampered and valued. Hotels have responded by providing upgrades like brand-name bath products, makeup mirrors, fresh flowers and flavored coffees and teas. Women also enjoy large windows, light-colored walls and stylish room furnishings.
Catered women are customers for life
Travel planners who meet women business travelers’ needs by booking female-friendly hotels will have a greater chance of creating customers for life. With nearly 96,000 hotels to choose from, Amadeus Hotels Plus provides a wide range of corporate hotels and leisure hotels offering the safety, security and amenities today’s traveling women require.
What are some other strategies hotels can implement to cater to the growing number of businesswomen travelers?