By David M. Brudney, ISHC June, 1985
One out of every three business travelers is a woman and Female travelers account for one out of every five business trips, according to SRI, Intl., a California consulting firm. More than half of “baby boomers” are women (baby boomers represent 70 million Americans, about 30 percent of the population) Furthermore, the U.S. Census Bureau (1980) reports that women now hold 30.5 percent of all U.S. management positions.
You say you’ve read all this before and you know all about it, right? And you’ve taken the necessary steps to recognize and attract more female travelers to your lodging facilities.
Well, from a consultant’s point of view, I must report that if that is so, you are probably employed by a large hotel chain (or own a chain franchise) and you’ve been involved in research and planning for several years on new products, services and promotions designed to attract a fair share of this rapidly emerging major market.
This article has been primarily to reach you, the small independent owner and operator. You stand to benefit the most from the development of this market. And yet, based on my consulting practice, you’re the one doing the least about it. Most small, independent owners and operators tell me they don’t have the financial and human resources and skills to mount even a small campaign that might produce results. They tell me, too, their operations are not sophisticated enough to deal with that kink of market segmentation and penetration.
Small, independent owners and operators can address this market with or without major financial and human resources. Based on the number out there, you would be derelict not try! Let’s get to what you can do in a minute.
Anticipating Female Traveler Needs Good Place to Start
Numerous studies have been produced recently pointing our preferences of female travelers. Most studies indicate that female travelers differ from male travelers as far what’s important to them in hotels.
A study of Opinion Research Corporation, Princeton, NJ revealed women business travelers are younger, more often single and have lower individual incomes than their male counterparts.
The study determined:
Safety features in order of importance:
Nearly six out of ten polled said they desired “a more subtle way of checking in, one that would not reveal they were alone.”
“Basically, women business travelers don’t want preferential treatment said Arnold Hewes, executive vice president of the Minnesota Hotel & Motel Association, co-sponsor of the project. “They want to be treated with respect.”
Women polled listed these room amenities as “most important”: skirt hangers (87%), iron and ironing board (63%), shampoo and conditioners, hair dryer and moisturizing soap.
Project Director Robert-Ian Salait summed up what the women polled were saying: “I have more concern for security that the average male traveler is willing to admit, and I would like certain amenities. But I don’t want to be coddled. I don’t want to be singled out. I certainly don’t want to be left alone on an all-women’s floor.”
What You Can Do Now
First, all lodging owners and operators need to acknowledge that the business market is segmented and that the female business traveler market is significant and here to stay. Your properties need to be examined again to see how they look through the eyes of a woman is business.
Conclusions of these new reports must be studied carefully and discussed with key staff members. Whether it be done by personal interviews or questionnaires, begin asking questions of your present female guest to learn of their preference. The feedback you’ll receive should be invaluable and your sincere interest and concern should make a very positive impression on those women who frequent your property.
Listen carefully. Study the information you receive. Evaluate how well you property caters to the real needs of women business travelers today. Make the necessary operational changes that can be justified. Communicate what you are doing internally and externally, verbally and in writing. Communicate by your actions. Begin to “work” your present women business travelers for referrals. You’ll find these women have their own ‘networks’ and will be eager to ‘spread the good word’ about your property.
Work your referrals, monitor the program and watch for results.
If you start only a pilot program and it begins to produce results, consider putting a budget together to cover some advertising, publicity and promotional programs designed to attract your fair share of this market.
David M. Brudney, ISHC, a nationally recognized spokesman for hotels and a veteran with three decades of experience, is the principal of David Brudney & Associates of Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, a marketing consulting firm specializing in the hospitality industry since 1979.
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David M. Brudney, ISHC, Principal
David Brudney & Associates
Carlsbad, CA 92009
760-476-0830 Fax 760-476-0860
Web Site: www.DavidBrudney.com