Archive for the ‘Women’ 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 🙂


Read Full Post »

TravelTrends – Travel search intelligence: performance among demographic segments – Compete, Inc.

TravelTrendsTM Weekly travel insights from Compete

By: Jack Drew
September 28, 2008

This is the fourth search-themed travel newsletter this month, highlighting the capabilities of Compete’s Travel Search Intelligence product. This week we focus on the ability of travel marketers, using Compete Travel Search Intelligence, to assess their performance in attracting specific demographic segments through search.

Each month the major online travel agencies fight for hotel search referrals and bookings. Not all searchers are created equal, however, and many marketers are looking to attract only specific customer segments. To highlight Compete’s capabilities in looking at search activity for specific segments, we analyzed Online Travel Agency search performance within a defined demographic group.

Looking specifically at search-driven hotel bookings of high-income women travelers between the ages of 35-44 shows an increasingly competitive Hotwire gaining ground against a steady Expedia and Priceline, while Hotels.com loses ground. While a year ago Hotwire had captured an average of 10% of the search-driven hotel bookings of this demographic, the past few months have seen the brand rise to up to a 30% share in May 2008.


Read Full Post »

I love this post…wish I could meet all of these women~!

25 Most Influential Women In Travel – Forbes.com

ForbesLife Executive Woman
25 Most Influential Women In Travel
Melissa Biggs Bradley 06.30.08

Women are the prime movers in American travel, driving 70 percent of all leisure travel spending and 80 percent of corporate travel bookings, profoundly impacting where the entire country goes for both business and pleasure. (And don’t forget, women count for some 40 percent of the nation’s business travelers.) Who among these millions of “deciders” have the most clout? To find out, ForbesLife Executive Woman polled top industry executives. The result is our first list of the 25 Most Influential Women in Travel, all of whom have significantly shaped–and will continue to define–the $740 billion U.S. industry that fuels more than 5 percent of America’s GDP. Their predictions for the hottest new destinations and travel trends follow our list.

Produced by Susan Delson


Carolyn Spencer Brown
Editor in Chief, CruiseCritic .com

After years of covering cruises for the Washington Post (nyse: WPO – news – people ), Brown was a natural to take over CruiseCritic.com. Thanks to the site’s wealth of information, active community, and frank reviews (from both staff and members), it has 5 million annual visitors and more than 110,000 registered members. That may explain why it is listed as the number one cruise-information web-site on Hitwise.

Georgia Kirsner
Vice President, Travel Industry Sales, Ritz-Carlton

If travel agents could have just one wish, it would be that hotels give their clients the star treatment. Kirsner knows that a happy customer is a return customer, which is why she introduced the Ritz-Carlton’s STARS program, reserved exclusively for top trav- el agencies working with the company. Selected agents have access to a password-protected website for booking. In addition to the attentive service accorded Ritz-Carlton guests, STARS clients are monitored by a designated “guardian angel” at each property for even more personalized attention.

Lisa Lindblad
Founder, Lisa Lindblad Travel Design

Lindblad creates personalized journeys for a following of highly exclusive clients–those who don’t blink at her initial con-sulting fee of $2,500 to design an itinerary. Areas of expertise include East Africa and India. Customers can expect a once- in-a-lifetime trip. Says Lindblad: “I make sure to insert magical moments–like being on top of a hill in East Africa when the sun sets.”

Michelle Peluso
CEO and global president, Travelocity; executive vice president, Sabre (also see “The Climb”)

Travelocity, the mother of online travel agencies, took a blow when competitors Expedia (nasdaq: EXPE – news – people ) and Orbitz (nyse: OWW – news – people ) ramped up their oper-ations in 2002. Wharton grad Peluso, Travelocity’s CEO since 2003, helped the company reach profitability by launching an innovative hotel partnership program and spearheading the acquisition of lastmin ute.com and ZUJI.com (another travel-planning website). In 2008 the World Economic Forum named her a Young Global Leader. Despite the size and scope of Travelocity’s business, Peluso maintains a small-business-like approach in her dealings with people: She answers all customer emails that land in her inbox and tries to get back to employee emails within 24 hours.

Lalia Rach
Divisional Dean and HVS International chair, NYU Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management; founder, Rach Enterprises

In any game there is a need for exceptional coaches. Rach has advised many people in the industry and is one of its most sought-after speakers. As an academic and the founder of a business consulting company, she tracks trends in business management as well as in affluent and baby-boomer markets. In part through her embrace of the increasingly digitized way of doing business, she is known for helping to shape the next wave of travel professionals.

Patricia Schultz
Author, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die

Schultz developed a passion for exploration as a child, but it has been as a travel journalist (for such publications as Condé Nast Traveler and Frommer’s) that she began honing the “life list” that blossomed into a number one bestseller in 2004. With 2.8 million copies in print, the compulsively readable tome has introduced millions of people to such gems as Canyon de Chelly and the Hagia Sophia, and has spawned a sequel (on U.S.- and Canadian-specific sites), a Travel Channel show, and even a jet trip around the world with TCS Expeditions. (more…)

Read Full Post »