Trend Assessment: Female Only Hotel Floors
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Trend Assessment: Female Only Hotel Floors

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Trend Assessment: Female Only Hotel Floors Trend Assessment: Female Only Hotel Floors Document Transcript

  • Trend Assessment Katie Werner and Tracey Vang HT 344, Section 001 Hospitality and Tourism Marketing and Sales November 16, 2012 Trend Assessment: Female Only Hotel FloorsUniversity of Wisconsin Stout, School of Hospitality Leadership Page 1
  • Trend AssessmentOverview of Female Only Hotel Floors Female only floors have been up and coming, in the hospitality industry, for just a littleover a year now. According to the Huffington Post,”…London Hilton Park Lane reportedly firstintroduced the service back in 2003 but ditched it after little uptake.” In the United States thisidea started in 2010 when, general manager Ken Kaylor of the Wyndham Boca Raton Hotel inFlorida, began reviewing his guests surveys and found that the lowest scores were coming fromfemale business travelers. This hurt the hotel since 50% of its business travelers are female.Afterwards, Kaylor did some research by using focus groups to understand what femaletravelers wanted. He found out that they “were looking for something extra to make them feelspecial and make them feel safe,” so he concentrated on adding those to the hotel. Theguestrooms that currently occupy the “women-only floor” in the Wyndham Boca Raton Hotelincorporate bath sheets, a robe and slippers, makeup mirrors, women-friendly magazines, silkhangers, aromatherapy candles, as well as female-friendly channels such as Oxygen, TLC, andLifetime. Other hotels offer nail polish, curling irons, and yoga mats as well. There are nowfemale only hotel floors that offer restricted access. There is a programmed elevator or hall keycard and only those who have the right key can enter that floor and have access to therooms.Women have worked long and hard for equality in the workplace and have earnedrespectable and responsible positions in companies. Women make up 40-50% of globalbusiness travelers (travelmaestro.covingtontravel.com). Because women are traveling moreoften and alone hotels are recognizing that female travelers appreciate and demand differentamenities compared to male travelers. As female only floors become more popular among women business travelers, it isstarting to spread across the nation and even internationally. This is definitely reaching thescope of the female population. In some cases, besides having a women-only floor hotels arealso reserving a lounge for females to prevent them from “getting hit on” or so they can justrelax and have a drink. Women-only floors are providing women with security and peace ofmind knowing that they are the only ones that can access their floor, this is also beneficial forthem if they are traveling alone. There are plenty of females who are taking advantage of thistrend and hotels are getting positive feedback from them. However, not everyone is viewingthis as a positive addition to the hospitality industry and are questioning if this growing trend isa good or bad idea. Los Angeles attorney, Gloria Allred said, “It is discrimination you areexcluding men from the lounge. Are we going to have male-only lounges as we used to have?No. What we want are equal rights. Not more rights, not less rights, but equal rights.” She alsogoes on to say, ”Business establishments have to be open to everyone, women say they feelmore secure on a floor that is off-limits to men, but that goes back to stereotyping of men: Menas sexual predators, women as fragile, needing to be protected. We don’t need to go back tothe 50s where we had this kind of stereotyping.” There will is always going to be some type ofdispute over this issues but we feel that hotels are just serving that segment of their market.Donny Deutsch of CNBC’s The Big Idea said, “It’s also a great idea, they’re in the business ofhelping and serving their customers. This is catering to women’s needs. It’s hospitality. What iswrong?” Today people will take both sides of this issue, some will think it is a good idea andsome will not. However, since this concept exists and there seems to be no going back peoplemight as well embrace this idea or at least have an open mind about it because it is here tostay.University of Wisconsin Stout, School of Hospitality Leadership Page 2
  • Trend AssessmentImpacts of Female Only Hotel Floors Not all of the kinks are worked out with this new trend yet. There was one case wherethe Bella Sky Hotel was ordered to close its female-only floor following the complaint of a man.The gender and equality board of Denmark ruled the women-only floor to be discriminatoryand illegal. Going along with this case, Marybeth Bond, National Geographic Author andfounder of gutsytraveler.com stated, “"I have seen the hotel industry cater subtly to womenwithout being patronizing, for example by putting shower caps and nail files in the room, andadding a room service menu expanded beyond hamburger and fries to include a big salad. Whynot have standard rooms and extras being offered at the front desk? Weve lived throughfighting for our equal rights and this is making us unequal.” The takeaway from this case is toresearch and clear this idea with an attorney before going ahead and putting it into action. Ifyou do think about it discrimination is treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction infavor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which thatperson or thing belongs rather than on individual merit. That seems to be what this trend isdoing, women are getting the special treatment and men are not. However, we also want topoint out that the intent behind this concept isn’t to treat men with less respect or authoritythan women but to market to a segment where hotels were getting low scores and by comingup with this idea it has significantly raised those numbers. I’m sure they would find a solutionfor men if their numbers started dropping too. The next case I found was at the JW Marriot in Grand Rapids, MI. In this case the issue isif female-only floors are legal. A Michigan Civil Rights Commission spokesperson, Harold Coresaid he wasn’t sure, “You cannot deny a person services just because they are male or female,"Core said. "In a lot of cases, there could be a nondiscriminatory reason where a hotel wouldhave that kind of set-up or policy.” He finished by saying, “can imagine if this is somethingtheyre announcing publicly, it is something that will either come to a court or come to ourcommission.” The takeaway from this case is just going back to discrimination and equality. Itstereotypes men and women, it makes men look as though they are “predators” and womenlook as though they are “vulnerable.” Women are saying by having floors that only they canaccess they will have peace of mind and a sense of security. Couldn’t they have peace of mindand a sense of security in any other normal hotel room? It just seems that men are beingsomewhat degraded by having this floors established for only women. Ultimately, it’s up to thecourts to decide if this issue is legal but the issues behind this trend could steer it in the wrongdirection. A case study that is outside of the hospitality industry deals with female onlyResidence Halls at colleges across the nation. This is geared towards more adolescent women.The Residential Education Director of Regents Hall (Female only hall), Jen Mathews said,“Regents Hill Hall is a women-only residence. Single-gender halls can provide a morecomfortable living environment for students who feel pressured to socialize around membersof the opposite sex and helps promote camaraderie among your hall mates.” In another articlethe L.A. Times reported “The justification that most schools give for not allowing men andwomen to be roommates is that it causes too much trouble for the Housing Office when thetorrid romances — which are clearly guaranteed in these situations — come to their inevitableend.” The take away from this case is that students need to balance their school and social life.By having female only residence buildings they will be able to focus and not get distracted byUniversity of Wisconsin Stout, School of Hospitality Leadership Page 3
  • Trend Assessmenthaving males around. College females also won’t feel pressured by their peers and can have asense of comfort in that.Interview:Instructor, Bob Davies of the University of Wisconsin Stout 1) Do you think femaleonly floors are a growing trend in the hospitality industry? Why? Please explain. Answer: o Female only floors are growing only in cities that need it, larger cities like New York, Atlanta, and Chicago o Not growing so much in Europe, if at all then maybe England o Menomonie for example would not need to follow this trend o I don’t think Minnesota would need to either 2) Do you believe female only floors are impacting the hospitality industry today? Please explain. Answer: o If hotels can learn to market to women, then yes, I believe female floors can impact the hospitality industry in a positive way o Some questions hotels need to ask are: Where would women want to stay and for how long? Do they want resorts? Do they want a spa located on the property? Is the property going to offer women’s weekends? 3) Do you think female only floors are offensive to male guests? Answer: o No, not if it’s in a large city, there should not really be an issue o In order for this trend to succeed the demand needs to be there 4) Do you think female only floors will significantly impact the hospitality industry in the future? Please explain. Answer: o How many hotels still have water beds? o It is definitely market demand not guest demand that determines this o To fully answer your question, to decide if it is a long term trend is unknown because it is also expensive to keep only women floors 5) In your opinion, where do you see female only floors going? Please explain. Answer: o I travel frequently and am seeing less women traveling o Hotels need to think realistically o What if women do not want to be on that female only floor? o Then what are hotels going to do? o Will it be a great investment or a waste of space?University of Wisconsin Stout, School of Hospitality Leadership Page 4
  • Trend Assessment Professor Davies brings up valid points that I think need to be considered whenquestioning the impact this trend can have on the business landscape. He had commentedoutside of the interview that when continental breakfast was introduced several years ago noone knew if that was going to stay or fade away and surprisingly it stayed and now almost everyhotel offers continental breakfast, guests demand it and expect it where ever they go now.Female only floors are similar in the fact that it is a new trend that has not been tested outbefore. Sure, like any issue there are going to be people who support it and people who do notsupport the trend. Hotels are looking at this trend from a marketing and revenue generatingpoint of view though. Hotels do not want to offend male guests and are simply doing what theyare supposed to do, show guests hospitality; in this case they are paying close attention tofemale guests’ wants and needs. I think if men demanded certain items the hotels would listenand cater to them too but I do think that men are less demanding then women. This trend is starting to pop up everywhere internationally. According to the HuffingtonPost this trend or these types of services are appearing in Singapore, New York, Copenhagen,Vancouver, Washington, and at the Portal Hotel in Brisbane, Australia which includes onlywomen staff on the floor. Like Professor Davies had predicted it is a trend that so far only largecities are catching on to. I am not quite sure how much the trend is going to change. Maybemale guests will pay to have special gift baskets in their rooms with their favorite things?Maybe the LGBT population will get their own floor for similar reasons as the female onlyfloors? Only time can tell where this trend is going, but currently it looks like it is a boomingtrend that is not going away anytime soon. I think in order for hotels to stay ahead of their competitors they will need to assesseach female stay on the female only floor to continually know what women demand, have eachwoman fill out a quick survey possibly. At the moment it seems like only television showswomen like to watch, certain foods like chocolate and salads, and certain toiletries andpampering products are being offered for the extra cost of $30-$55 added onto the room rate.Knowing that women like to feel special and like to be pampered maybe hotels can add a littlepackage to this. Possibly offering a discount at the spa? Possibly offering a discount at the hotelrestaurant? Once a hotel finds out the demands of female travelers I think that is when hotelswill generate revenue. Hotels need to know that what women want continues to vary that iswhy I suggested the survey so that hotels can be on top of their game and always offeringwomen what they want.University of Wisconsin Stout, School of Hospitality Leadership Page 5
  • Trend Assessment References: Celizic , M. (2007, May 18). Discrimination debate: Women-only hotel floors. Retrievedfrom http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/18735108/ns/today-travel/t/discrimination-debate-women- only-hotel-floors/ Gargiulo, S. (2012, March 20). Women-only hotel floors tap boom in female business travel. Retrieved from http://edition.cnn.com/2012/03/07/business/women-hotels-business- travelers/index.html Hartmann, M. (2010, March 15). Should colleges let men & women share dorm rooms?. Retrieved from http://jezebel.com/5493748/should-colleges-let-men--women-share-dorm- rooms Jen, M. (2012).Housing and residence life. Retrieved from http://housing.wsu.edu/reshall/regents Kelly, T. (2011, October 14). Women Only Hotel Floors Now a Growing Trend. Retrievedfrom http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/14/women-only-hotel-floors-_n_1011473.html Perry , M. (2012, October 8). Markets in everything: Hotels offer women-only floors. Retrieved from http://www.aei-ideas.org/2012/10/markets-in-everything-hotels-offer-women- only-floors/ No Author. (2012, November 2). No-man’s Land: The Rising Trend of Women-Only Hotel Floors. Retrieved from http://travelmaestro.covingtontravel.com/2012/11/no-mans-land-the- rising-trend-of-women-only-hotel-floors/ The Houston Chronicle (2007, May 24). Hotels 19th floor is women-only, but is it legal? Retrieved from http://ehotelier.com/hospitality-news/item.php?id=11120_0_11_0_C/Interviewed: Professor Bob DaviesInstructor and Program Director of Golf Enterprise Management at the University of WisconsinStout, School of Hospitality LeadershipPhone: 715-232-1480Email: daviesb@uwstout.eduUniversity of Wisconsin Stout, School of Hospitality Leadership Page 6