Hotels Woo Women Business Travelers
Article by Timmy Vic
Business, not pleasure, is getting women to pack their bags and travel to distant cities.David Latt reports on hotels that are adding amenities to attract the growing demographic of female business travelers.
Seeking that balance between work and personal life becomes even more difficult when you’re on the road, but the support system for female business travelers has become stronger over the years.
For working moms, maintaining that balance is an ongoing struggle. Web sites like Traveling Mom, Blue Suit Mom and Woman Road Warrior cater to this community with personal advice, product reviews and destination tips.Wyndham Hotels & Resorts reports that 35 percent of their business clients are women. Using its Web site, Women on Their Way, Wyndham tries to reach out to prospective female clientele with planing tips and destination profiles.
The Mandarin Oriental in San Francisco reports that the mix at this property is even higher, with women accounting for 40 percent of its business travelers. The hotel’s just launched Perfect Pair program offers a two room combo where a woman can have a separate bedroom and office space or, if the kids have joined her on the trip, a second bedroom. The hotel’s “bath butler” service features a menu of salts, oils, and other bath products to try to cater to female guests.As if unconsciously announcing their pursuit of women business travelers, when Novotel Amsterdam City reopened after completing an extensive remodeling project, the front of the hotel was draped in a giant, 16 story pink bow [pictured at top]. The hotel’s interior redesign was also conceived with the female traveler in mind. The glass walled lobby and restaurant area have been renovated with an open feel, decorated in a clean, modern style with vibrant colors in greens, reds, yellows.To appeal to women travelers, hotel chains are upgrading to higher quality toiletries and deluxe shower fixtures. Whenever possible, baths have been added during a remodel. The front desk might have a supply of curling irons on hand to complement the hair dryers in every bathroom.At the Hotel Monaco in Seattle, a Kimpton property, a yoga mat is waiting in the closet next to the leopard skin patterned bathrobe. In some hotels, exercise rooms have been rebranded as “wellness” areas, with smaller weights more appropriate for women. Yoga classes and meditation sessions are offered, along with aromatherapy baths.
In the global market, hotel executives have seen they can attract women business travelers by amping up their family friendly quotient. n Mexico City, the Four Seasons gives young children gifts when they arrive, a strategy also employed by the Novotel hotels where, at check in, each child is given a special gift. Baby equipment and use of the Children’s Play Area in the lobby are offered without charge. When a woman wants to bring the kids along on the trip, staying at a Holiday Inn, she won’t pay extra if they’re under 19 and she doesn’t mind sharing her room.
At Novotel hotels, the age is 16 years and under, with breakfast in the restaurant thrown in for good measure. If the kids want their own room and they’re between the ages of 8-16, Novotel cuts the room rate by 50 percent. Late check out up to 5 p.m. on Sunday is available, also at no charge, so families can enjoy a full day before they leave.
In 2009, The Woman Road Warrior did a survey of women travelers, asking what they look for in hotels.
Kathleen Ameche, founder of the site, noted, “Interestingly, the survey responses indicated that the amenities and other features that hotels are offering to appeal to women are less important than the hotel basics: safety, service and cleanliness.”
A few hotels in the U.S. have created women-only floors.
And while that worked successfully for the Premier Hotel in Times Square and the Crowne Plaza properties in Washington, D.C. and Bloomington, Minnesota, when the Marriott Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan publicized that it was following suit, they suffered a serious backlash and quickly dropped the idea.
At San Francisco’s Mandarin Oriental, the short, well lit hallways are pointed out to women who are concerned about safety.
Hotels understand that good service when combined with safety is very appealing to women travelers. For example, when a meal is ordered from room service at a Wyndham hotel, a call is made to the room to say that the food is on its way, so that guests can be aware that a staff member will be ringing the doorbell.
Some hotels are going even a step further to accommodate women travelers.
A common lament of many women traveling by themselves is they feel uncomfortable eating alone. They don’t want to be the object of unwanted attention or appear to be lonely. Taking that concern to heart, as part of the remodel in Amsterdam, Novotel created a section of booths in the restaurant with a flat screen television imbedded in the wall of the booth so that when a woman wants to have a meal, she can catch up on the news or watch her favorite show.
Hotels targeting the female business travelers have modified the message. Stay at the hotel; get your work done efficiently and comfortably. Then, instead of rushing home, have your family join you and stay for the weekend so you can find that balance between work, family and play.
About the Author
PeterGreenberg.com is a constantly updated source for the latest in travel news, analysis and information led by travel guru Peter Greenberg. For more information, please visit www.PeterGreenberg.com.