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Archive for the ‘Girlfriends Get-Aways and Women’s Escape’ Category

Within the travel industry the importance of “Women’s Travel” is often confused.  Women hold a, agruably THE,  leading position in the viability of travel and tourism products.

Slovenia Women's Adventure

Slovenia Women's Adventure

Women as Decision Makers

Depending on whose research you review, women influence between 88 and 92% of all travel decisions.  period (should I write that again?)

She is behind the final decision for all family vacations, romantic get-aways, adventure weeks.  She controls the purse-string though she might not be making the final booking.  She makes decisions based on different variables that men.  She wants to know about the experience; how it will make her feel, how it will make her life easier (you’ve done all the planning and picked the perfect hotels, there are options for her kids, you can accommodate her husbands food allergies etc), who she will meet along the trail…she wants the picture rather than the minute by minute details.

She has a high bullshit meter and purchases from companies she has established trust with.  She wants to be asked questions about her needs and she likes to work with people who listen.  She researches travel online but then looks to her friends to tell her who they have traveled with and where they have been.  She’s looking for the perfect solution…and they want to be surprised and delighted that you have thought of something they haven’t.

To providers this may seem like a fairly straightforward introduction…but it is amazing how many brochures, websites,  tour itineraries, confirmation packets, photos, trade-show booths etc are NOT targeting women.  Having been in the industry for over 20 years I would bet that most companies in-house staff is made up predominately of women.   Has every piece you send out to potential clients been honestly reviewed by them?  Who is training your ground staff beyond “guiding” to address how to integrate these needs and desires into the itinerary.

Last but certainly not least, we should address Word Of Mouth Marketing.  In general, women are part of a much larger social community than men are.  We surround ourselves with diverse groups…other couples, women’s book groups, moms play groups, walking/running friends, professional networks. We are part of a huge web are always sharing tidbits of insider knowledge to help others.  Yes, if we like (or don’t like) the trip or company we have just traveled with we will tell EVERYONE.

Women as “Travelers”:
In the late 80’s and early 90’s women’s tours were put in a corner which most adventure travel companies as well as guests were uncomfortable with.  Were “Women Only”  really just another word for Lesbian Trips?  If we had group of women traveling together on our trips, what was their relationship? If two women booked a trip together, were they a couple?

The fact was that during this time, a fair portion of companies targeting “women only” were targeting the lesbian community, while an emerging group of entrepreneurs were simply realizing the growing market of women interested in traveling with other women.

As the industry came of age in the late 90’s and had “softened” a bit (offering more options to suite a wider range of physical abilities, staying at properties with private baths, focusing on local culture interaction and environmental education…renaming trips from “Hiking” to “walking”, focusing on food) we saw astounding growth in the industry.  The demographics had changed from trips being made up predominately of men in their 30’s to couples in their 40’s and 50’s and singles, mostly women, of all ages, eager to take part in an adventure without the concern of security or the need for a traveling companion.

In the beginning of the century “women’s only” tour companies were popping up in every niche (yoga, culinary, skiing, Sailing etc) and major tour operators began testing out “women’s only” departures.  Similar to the “family tour” bandwagon, there was little thought of why, where and when women choose women-only departures.

What we have found through the fallout of canceled departures is what we, as adventure seeking women, have always known, we are constantly changing.  We  gravitate towards “women’s only” trips to learn a new skill, especially one which involves a new sport or physical challenge, as we enjoying being in a supportive women’s only learning environment.  We are likely to take Goal Trips, like trekking the inca trail or climbing Kilimanjaro with other women.  We LOVE to get away with our girlfriends and this section of the market is only beginning to tap into this annual event.  We are also wives, mothers, girlfriends,  individuals who enjoy the company of the other sex.  We like traveling with our husband or partner, with couples, and, if we are single, in groups that have other solo travelers as well as couples.  Most of us are not “women-only” travelers, we are “sometimes women-only travelers”…it is or prerogative 🙂

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