The number of women travelers are growing twice as fast as their male counterparts, partly due to increases in the number of meetings professionals and other career-oriented women who are traveling, according to a new study by Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL).
The study surveyed more than 1,000 women travelers from India, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and other countries. The data on men was based on research from CrowdTwist’s Gender Loyalty Report and IHCL’s internal data resources. IHCL, based in Maharashtra, India, is South Asia’s largest hospitality company by market capitalization.
Since 2015, IHCL has seen a 33 percent increase in the number of women travelers year over year, and a 34 percent increase in guest room bookings. Renu Basu, senior vice president of global sales and marketing at IHCL, emphasizes that this reflects the increasingly important contributions women are making.
“We, as a global organization, not only recognize the contribution of women in the industry and society at large but are also cognizant of their increasing value as a growing influence on business,’’ Basu said. “Women are responsible for up to 85 percent of all consumer purchases and play a very significant role in influencing business and leisure travel. Hence, responding to their thoughts and needs is an absolute priority for us.”
Another finding was that women tend to scrutinize their purchases more than men, and are generally more loyal to the brands they choose. In the study, 27 percent of the women surveyed said they would stick to a preferred brand, regardless of the price, quality, convenience or promises the brand has made, compared to 21 percent of men.
“Availability of trusted brand offerings around stay and travel are definitely a key consideration for women travelers,” Basu said. “Other factors like increased participation of women in the economy, more women of independent means who control their own travel decisions or even a surge in women traveling in groups all contribute to the increase.”
The tendency to remain loyal played a significant role in 76 percent of women saying they were interested in earning points on loyalty programs, compared to 69 percent of men. Forty percent of the women surveyed currently participate in restaurant loyalty programs, compared to 34 percent of men who do so.
Safety and security topped the list for women while selecting a hotel. The findings reinforce that women want hotels to support and facilitate a seamless experience through a thoughtful service approach. Besides these reassurances, 78 percent of women travelers prioritize local cuisines when traveling, while 69 percent expect healthier dining options and 61 percent would prefer smaller, “tasting” portions. Other services such as women butler options (61 percent) and women personal shoppers (69 percent) also influence their choice of hotels.