Published by the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research, the study finds that although amenities and features are important for female business travellers, it is the overall emotional effect delivered by a hotel stay that is the essential factor for this group of guests.
"When hotel operators ask what women want, the answer is not so much specific features as it is an overall outcome relating to how the experience makes them feel," said the study author Professor Judi Brownell from Cornell School of Hotel Administration.
"In this context, we have found that women want to feel secure, comfortable, empowered, and valued. When I tested this insight in a model, the result was clusters of amenities and features that contributed to these critical affective outcomes."
As such, Brownell suggested that the industry should focus on meeting the overall expectations of female travellers. For example, specific features that contribute to a feeling of safety include covered parking, secure locks, well-lit hallways, and thoughtful room locations.
Other examples on how US-based hotels are meeting the specific needs of female travellers include:
- Crowne Plaza has made the 11th floor of their hotel women only, and has also provided covered parking close to the lobby entrance of other properties.
- In Illinois, both Loews and Wyndham hotels set aside networking tables in their restaurants for solo women who prefer to dine with others.
- W Hotels provides their female travellers with “Wonder Woman” packages designed to make their stay more relaxing.
- In Miami, Don Shula’s Hotel & Golf Club has created the Patrician floor of 18 rooms exclusively for women, and experiences an average of 95-percent occupancy. The property also keeps a complete history of female guests so that they can better anticipate their needs upon return.
- San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants began their Women in Touch program anticipate the needs of female travellers.
- The Pan Pacific San Francisco supplies their female guests with a personal escort to their room.
"Over time, I believe we are seeing a greater industry consensus on how to serve this rapidly growing market segment," said Brownell.
"What is clear is that the overall emotion or affect is more important than a particular amenity or hotel feature."
The new study, Creating Value for Women Business Travelers: Focusing on Emotional Outcomes, is available free of charge here.