Identifying the Unique Needs of
the Woman Business Traveler
|by Brenda Fields, August 14, 2006
As an industry, we have come a long way from catering to the woman customer by placing a red rose on the bed or handing her a restaurant menu without the prices. We realize that the woman customer is typically the decision maker in choosing the hotel or restaurant and is more often than not, the one who pays the bills.
In 2005, women accounted for approximately 43% of the business travelers, according to the Travel Industry of America. In addition, a recent New York University study identified the women business traveler as a “baby boomer with a college degree who earns over $75,000 per year”. That profile typically points to a sophisticated and discriminating traveler. And research confirms that women tend to have higher expectations than men when it comes to comfort, service, and security.
But, we fall short in identifying the unique needs of the woman business traveler when we make it exclusively about security. In actuality, no reasonable man or woman would stay at a property if he or she did not feel secure. Personal security is the minimum expectation of any guest. The industry has made improvements and is responding. Now, many chains routinely train staff to discretely tell a guest his or her room number when checking in or will write the room number down for the guest to avoid anyone overhearing. And telephone operators are trained to avoid giving out room numbers.
With security in place, creating a product that helps the woman traveler feel her best and perform well on her business trip, will inspire loyalty and drive market share and will help your property outperform its competitors. Sometimes, it’s the little things that make the difference. Instead of looking for that great marketing idea to drive business, just addressing the basic needs could be the answer to impact and maintain revenues.
Currently, standard in-room amenities in almost all types of hotels are: irons and ironing boards, hair dryers, shower caps, toiletries, alarm clocks, and coffee makers. But many times, they are not as women-friendly as they could be or fully address her needs. The following provides some insight into the needs of the woman business traveler so that hoteliers can decide if they need to make adjustments as well as determine the ROI if a large investment is warranted.
In addition, having the alarm clock go off in the middle of the night can really cut into a good night’s sleep. Whether the guest is male or female, a quick check of the alarm clock after a guest checks out can go a long way to keep the next guest happy and returning to your property.
Lack of skirt hangers is another annoyance for women is. Skirt hangers are still very useful to women, even if they are not wearing skirts. They can be used to hang pants so there isn’t a crease and can be used for certain types of dresses. It may seem like a minor issue, but not having one when needed is a major inconvenience.
So, if the goal is to capture your fair share of the women business traveler market, it is important to provide the product, unique to women’s needs. They include the right women-friendly amenities, which are strategically placed in the room to provide maximum comfort and efficiency; and a clean, safe, and secure environment. Sometimes, the costs involved in proactively addressing these issues are much less than letting them go and reacting after the downturn in business. A thoughtful and in-depth analysis will allow each owner or manager to decide which approach is best for his/her properties to drive business in the short term as well as for the long term.
This article is reprinted with the permission of its author and NationalHotelExecutive.com.
About Fields and Company:
Fields and Company, founded by Brenda Fields, provides in-depth analyses and cost effective sales and marketing solutions to help owners and managers achieve their revenue goals. Systems and procedures are devised and implemented to monitor results and to ensure staff accountability, resulting in success during downturns. We work on individual projects or provide on-going involvement and expertise on a retained basis.
1011 Smithfield Road
Millerton, NY 12546
Phone: 518 789 0117
Fax: 518 789 0118
|Also See:||Sales Incentive Plans: Hotel Owner's Friend or Foe? / Brenda Fields / May 2006|
|Creating Results: Strategy vs. Knee-Jerk Reactions / Brenda Fields / January 2006|
|Advertising: How to Create Award Winning Ads (Yes, Even on a Budget) / Brenda Fields / September 2005|
|A Primer’s Guide to Understanding and Maximizing Your Hotel Web Site / Brenda Fields and Michael Parkes / January 2005|
|David and Goliath: How Independent Hotels Can Successfully Compete with the Large Chains / Brenda Fields / October 2004|
|Catering Sales in Boutique Hotels: How to Maximize Revenues and Optimize Sales Productivity / Brenda Fields / July 2004|
|The New Market Segmentation and Pricing Model for Independent Hotels / Brenda Fields / May 2004|
|Boutique Hotels: Rethinking the Fundamentals in a New Business Environment / Brenda Fields / February 2004|
|Room Configuration - Are Your Rooms Configured for the Best and Highest Use? / Brenda Fields / January 2004|
|Direct Sales - What to Expect from Your Hotel Sales People and How to Get Results / Brenda Fields / August 2003|
|Boutique Hotels: How to Survive in a Down Market - Getting Back to Basics / Brenda Fields / May 2003|
|Industry Marketing Pro Brenda Fields Opens Consultancy Focusing on Independent Properties / January 2003|