March 8 was International Women’s Day, an occasion that honors the achievements of women in terms of equal rights and provides a moment for women to look back at the struggles of the past and celebrate how they have progressed in the social, economic and political fields.
Over the last decade there has been a drastic change in women’s roles in hospitality. The industry has witnessed a massive and remarkable growth of women breaking into their careers, increasingly covering key positions in the field more than ever before.
This new direction obviously introduces new aspects into a businesswoman’s life, and one of these is traveling. Today women represent almost 50% of business travelers, and the new challenge hotels are facing is understanding what a woman traveling alone expects or would like to experience in hotels.
What is it like for a woman to travel alone and be far away from home? Is the hospitality industry trying to respond to this growing trend, shaping the services it provides? Business Traveller recently conducted a survey asking hoteliers whether they are aware of the growing visible presence of women traveling alone and whether they are adapting their service accordingly. The survey reported 65% negative feedback from respondents in this regard, meaning that a very high percentage of hotels still does not take into consideration the specific needs that a woman has when traveling alone.
In order for hotels to fully understand how to tailor adequately the service they provide to female guests, it is important first to get an insight into what kind of services a woman traveling solo would hope to receive. Wouldn’t it be great if whenever a woman travels alone she is welcomed in a hotel that provides her with a wonderful female-tailored service? You need to put yourself into a woman’s shoes and look through her eyes in order to catch and meet her expectations.
Well, I can give you my perspective as a woman and as a businesswoman who frequently travels alone.
The first factor you MUST acknowledge is that a woman traveling alone, whether for pleasure or for business, wants to feel safe in her environment. Safety is first and foremost. Women want to feel comfortable and secure when traveling, so the challenge is creating the perfect atmosphere for them.
But let’s move on from this and let’s get to the big challenge: the bedroom. Many hotels’ bedrooms are too male-friendly; what they lack is definitely a female touch. The bedroom is your home for the length of your stay, and for that, you need to FEEL it as your home. How many times have you wished to open the door of the hotel bedroom where you’re going to stay wishing to find details that make you think it has been specially prepared for you? Don’t overlook those small attentions that you may think are unnecessary, but that instead are what your guest will imprint in the memory forever.
Yet, details are what not every hotel offers.
Imagine how finding a cozy and fresh-smelling room would impress your female guest straight away as soon as she opens the door. Wouldn’t you feel so happy to find a big mirror to easily do your makeup without having to stretch your neck to reach the bathroom’s one? And what about seeing there on the table all the most recent glossy magazines and relaxing in a big fluffy bathrobe after a day spent in meetings? These are the details I talk about; these are the small attentions that a woman would love to experience for her stay.
A good number of hotels have already started introducing services specifically addressed to women. At Dukes, our female travelers are specially treated when they arrive. Our female rooms are called Duchess Rooms, and they include a discreet female staff member looking after the stay, fresh flowers and fruit and female amenities in the bedroom such as a makeup mirror, a hair dryer, fluffy bathrobe and accessories positioned at easy reach from the dressing table. Glossy lifestyle magazines finish a quiet and intimate corner in the dining room should they wish to dine alone on room service with female waiting staff.
These small details makes the difference, and they make our female guests experience a home-away-from home feeling. We love hearing they have been comfortable while staying with us.