The girlfriend getaway

For some years now, the hospitality industry has promoted the girlfriend getaway, and it’s a market that doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

When we opened our destination spa in 2001, we saw several “girlfriend” trends emerge. One was the “anti-Vegas” bachelorette party, and the other was the milestone birthday party. We discovered these women were not looking for a wild party to celebrate a life change, but rather a meaningful way to connect with friends and family in a low-key fashion. I coined the term “O-days” after we saw many women celebrating their 30th, 40th and 50th birthdays at the spa. The outdoor pool with a view often becomes the gathering point where friends catch up during the day between spa treatments, interspersed with group meals at the community table.

Another trend we’ve seen with the 50th and 60th milestone birthdays is that the celebrant’s husband pays for her best friends to join her at the spa. Personally, I think as we work longer hours and our incomes increase, our brilliant ideas for birthday presents for our wives decrease. The gift of a spa getaway with friends is a winner.

As the workplace — and life — grows increasingly demanding, vacationing at a spa where one can revitalize, reconnect and relax proves to be a popular choice. Destination spas and resorts fit this need as they offer a way for families and friends to connect in a relaxing setting with luxurious indulgences, great food, a wealth of activities and pampering. Having a variety of large rooms and suites, especially suites with kitchens, is a great way to attract the girlfriend getaway demographic. Stock rooms with customized amenities like the guest’s favorite wines, a cocktail setup, freshly baked cookies delivered daily and party food for the weekend. Offer activities just for the group like an in-room cooking class, a wine tasting or private exercise classes like yoga and Pilates they can do together.

Other hoteliers can tap into this market as well by offering enticing girlfriend getaway packages that help put the idea in motion for a group of girlfriends who want to celebrate a milestone or a spouse looking for a great idea for a present.

How are you targeting female travelers?