New research highlights opportunities for significant improvement
Hotels need to provide better in-room facilities. Airlines should provide more assistance with luggage. Both airlines and train operators should offer more flexible seating arrangements and car rental providers should review safety at vehicle collection and drop-off points.
These are just some of the findings from a new report looking at female business travellers’ needs, the degree to which these needs are met and whether gender should play any part in corporate travel management.
The Women in Business Travel Report was commissioned by Maiden-Voyage, the world’s specialist resource for female business travellers, from Travel Intelligence Network, specialists in creating unique content for the travel and hospitality sectors.
Unique research carried out for the Women in Business Travel Report also revealed that:-
• 68% of female business travellers prefer to stay in hotel chains
• 52% of female business travellers do not have airport lounge access, mainly due to cost.
• 83.2% of female business travellers travel on business by rail compared to private car (67%), air (57.8%) or car share (34.1%)
The research, amongst female company managers, directors, CEOs and owners, was supported by leading travel brands Avis Budget, CTI, International SOS, Priority Pass & Virgin Trains.
Those surveyed came come from a wide variety of industry sectors including professional services, healthcare, technology, retail, education and government. Just under half of the 200+ respondents spend four nights or more per month away from their UK homes on business.
Today, according to Skift, 47% of women who travel, travel on business and 80% of travel spend is managed by women, making them the fastest growing segment of business travellers. Meanwhile Duty of Care legislation has demanded that employers take a more personal approach to business travel, and travel suppliers have reacted similarly.
Maiden-Voyage CEO Carolyn Pearson said: “We live in a risk-filled world where corporates must remain ever-mindful of their duty of care to travelling employees. More women are in senior corporate positions, and more are travelling on business too, often alone.”
“Travel management has changed too. Personalising the traveller experience is essential to maintain the policy compliance that drives maximum value from corporates’ travel spend, so travel managers are engaging with a more diverse range of stakeholders than ever before in a bid to create travel programmes that meet the personal needs of every business traveller.”
“There are significant business opportunities available to smart brands who cater to the needs of this female business traveller market segment. To help savvy travel brands capitalise on the opportunity this demographic represents, they must focus on the needs of female business travellers in the key areas of security, assistance/guides/information, dedicated services and social amenities.”
The Women in Business Travel Report shows that it is far from unanimous amongst female business travellers that they should be treated any differently to their male counterparts – precisely the reverse. The issue, however is whether they are treated appropriately. And although travel providers are succeeding on many levels, there is a gap between the needs of the female business traveller and delivery to meet those needs.
“The question facing travel suppliers is whether they would recoup the required investment if they were to develop products and services for female business travellers as some have already done” says Carolyn Pearson.
“Our research suggests that on the levels of usage, compliance and brand loyalty, they would. The real issue here is that travel providers should not need to make specific arrangements for female business travellers.”