Women are the fastest growing segment of business travellers in the world today, but are their specific needs addressed in the corporate travel policy?
Not yet, it seems. Almost three quarters of corporate women travellers feel that travel suppliers should try harder to address the needs of female business travellers. This is according to the Women in Business Travel 2016 Report, a study conducted by Maiden Voyage. The study shows that women travellers feel that their companies should prioritise suppliers who pay special attention to the needs of female travellers.
Although travel providers are succeeding on many levels, it seems there is still a gap between the needs of the female business traveller and delivery to meet those needs.
For example, although airlines rate well when it comes to providing travellers with information on flight delay and disruption, there are some key areas for improvement. Women travellers would like airlines to provide on-board assistance with luggage; improved security presence at taxi and shuttle bus pick-up points and the for staff to demonstrate their understanding of female travellers’ safety and security concerns more effectively.
Maiden Voyage has addressed some of the gaps in the travel industry and has created a free social network for women business travellers. The network is a great resource to meet like-minded professional women for dinner around the world and stay in female friendly hotels, that have been checked for double locking doors, 24×7 manned reception and discretion when communicating room numbers. Of course well-lit make-up mirrors, good quality branded toiletries and salon standard hairdryers also form part of the inspection criteria.
Says Carolyn Pearson, Maiden Voyage Founder: “Whether you travel once in a blue moon or you are an ardent road warrior, we want to help you to get the most out of your business trip and especially when your working day has come to an end. We believe that staying in with room-service or a supermarket takeaway is a missed opportunity, all the downside of a business trip and none of the benefits of company funded travel. We want to liberate you, to awaken your passion for travel, to encourage you to get out and explore a new city safely.”
For travel agents who want to better cater for women travellers, here are some tips to pass on to female corporate travellers:
Do not hold business meetings in your hotel room. Think twice before allowing other people to store their belongings in your room as it’s an open invitation for them to come and retrieve them. Use the concierge storing service instead.
Try and arrive at your destination before dark and pre-check you can get into any buildings beforehand.
Always be aware of local customs with regards to dress and appearance, so as not to offend the locals but also to ensure you don’t invite unwanted attention.
When leaving the office or a conference be sure to take off your security or name badge, these often hold information that you wouldn’t want to share with a stranger.
When being collected at the airport or other public travel hub, make sure the person collecting you has a copy of the confirmation documentation as it is relatively easy for somebody to copy a collection board. Have your company’s travel contact information handy in case of any changes and to double-check discrepancies.
Forget about being polite if you feel uncomfortable. It is better to be considered rude than to do something you feel unhappy doing just because you think you should. For instance, if someone wants to share a lift with you but you feel uncomfortable in their presence firmly say ‘no’.