No man’s land

Attention: Gen X and Y, for those born between 1965 and 2001, hopefully you’ve enjoyed the spotlight because a new marketing strategy is moving in on your territory! You’ve had a nice run in many industries, taking the lead in product campaigns thanks to your alluring and youthful presence. However, there is a term by the name of “niche marketing” that is attracting attention thanks to a shift in “what appeals,” and it just so happens to be about “the new mature woman.” Whenever trends make a return years or even decades later (ask your parents about the Jane Fonda era), there’s a new twist, and this new crop of women capturing headlines is the perfect example.

Let’s start with the automotive industry, a haven where many trends are first conceived, tested and launched. It’s where I caught my first glimpse of product enhancements for mature women. My first sighting was via a Honda campaign when they started outfitting cars with femme features including tinted windows to block most of the UV rays, air purifiers for softer, dewier complexions and feminine colors for both the exterior and interior. Shortly thereafter, Range Rover took it a step further employing international pop star and style icon Victoria Beckham as a creative design executive who came up with the idea of borrowing elements from her favorite handbag and a rose-gold accessory line, which inspired the elements in a special Range Rover edition known as The Evoque.

A few years ago, I was called into a Lexus dealership to consult with the owner of several franchises about how and what to do with the women who dropped off their cars for service requiring less than an hour and were waiting in a no-frills lobby. Fast-forward to today, and the dealership lobby is now equipped with a full-service café, an upscale fashion boutique, an offering of magazines that would rival Barnes & Noble, nail and blow-dry services, a business center, glass panels covered with flowing spring water and, yes, a baby grand piano. In fact, the space is now one of the most popular sites to host an event in Newport Beach, California!

Another example I can share from automotive are the refreshed corporate training strategies on dealership lots where sales reps are trained to soften their less than stellar reputation when selling vehicles to women. Consumer Reports helped drive this new sales approach across the United States after declaring that 50% of all new cars are purchased by women, and more than 80% of all automotive purchases are influenced by women. It’s no wonder those in the automotive industry altered not just how they prospect, market and sell, but who they sell to!

I also am fascinated by the cosmetic and beauty industry, where youthful models and actresses are traditionally employed for photo shoots. However, a recent change is to use “seasoned beauty and wisdom” from mature and sometimes senior women including the use of close-ups, candids and let’s just say less time in the editing room.

With women making up half of today’s business travelers, the hotel industry already has its foot in the door catering to this loyal demographic.

In a recent focus group, more than half the women stated they found dedicated female floors to be more secure, more hygienic and simply comfortable. Women love unexpected perks, and most are willing to pay for the extra-pampering and small touches required to convert a floor or a few rooms.

So in the spirit of female-focused amenities, I assembled a list of small touches along with some reference images of ideas so you too can become a part of this growing trend. 

  • Small displays of fresh flowers  
  • Branded amenities including both day and night moisturizers
  • Nail files
  • Curling and flat irons
  • Perfume samples
  • Full-body mirrors
  • Women friendly magazines
  • Make-up mirrors and lighting
  • Extra counter space
  • Bath sheets vs. towels
  • Yoga mats
  • Restricted-access floors by programmed elevators or hall key cards
  • Extra hangers
  • Powerful hair dryers
  • Designer waters minus the plastic bottles
  • Healthy cuisine options from room service, including juices

On a side note, I am certain some readers will feel women-exclusive rooms and/or floors simply discriminate against males. However, please know despite contrasting views and opinions, I feel obligated to report on trends that are on an upward swing, and dedicating a small segment of rooms to female travellers is swinging high! In fact, a few hotels that have taken the plunge are enjoying the fruits of their labor and doubling the size and scope of their conversions.

Feel free to share any tips, suggestions or experiences about your female-oriented rooms or amenities.