Skift Report: The Rise of Female Business Travelers


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Female Business Travelers are poised to make up a significant share of the Business Travel Market. They already control 60% of the wealth in the U.S. and influence 85% of all purchasing decisions. Women are high-tech, mobile, connected, and social. They like to book on the move and represent 58% of online sales. Learning how to attract and retain the loyalty of Female Business Travelers is key for travel brands who want to maintain their competitive edge by getting ahead of this influential trend.

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Skift Report: The Rise of Female Business Travelers

  1. 1. The Rise of Female Business Travelers Female Business Travelers are poised to SKIFT REPORT WWW.SKIFT.COM
  2. 2. Table of contents About Skift Skift is a travel intel- ligence company that services to professionals about travel. Skift is the business of travel. About Us 3 Executive Summary 5 Introduction 7 The Female Business Traveler Product 11 Security 11 12 12 Design with the Female Business Traveler In Mind 14 Advertising to Women 16 The Critical Importance of Technology 18 Insights and Strategies 20 Notes and Resources 23 Further Reading 23 About Skift 24 The Rise of Female Business Travelers SKIFT REPORT #18 2014 10
  3. 3. Women mean business. They control a significant portion of the wealth both within the U.S. and internationally, and control how that wealth is spent. Paula Froelich, Editor in Chief of Yahoo Travel and a travel writer on her blog “A Broad Abroad,” explains that more women are traveling alone and more women are traveling for business. Speaking to Skift, she emphasized the growing influence these female business travel- lers have in the travel spending decision, not only for themselves, but for their employees. She also detailed a number of key requirements women have while traveling for business ,which are shared in this report. Chris Nurko, Global Director of FutureBrand, explains that a grow- ing segment of business travelers are not corporate employees, but entrepreneurs. He predicts that these up and coming self-service focused business travelers which he has categorized as “TREP Travelers” will be on the rise and require different products and services than their corporate counterparts. And a significant portion of those rising TREPs are women. Accord- ing to the most recent 2012 Women’s Report by the Global Entre- preneurship Monitor (GEM): Introduction Women are mobile even at rest. Source: Flickr, Luciano Meirelles The Rise of Female Business Travelers SKIFT REPORT #18 2014 7
  4. 4. • In 2012, an estimated 126 million women were starting or running new businesses in 67 economies around the world. In addition, an estimated 98 million were running established businesses. • These women are creating jobs for themselves and for others. A projected 48 million female entrepreneurs and 64 million female business owners employ one or more people in their businesses. • In addition, these women plan to grow their businesses. A pre- dicted seven million female entrepreneurs and five million female established business owners plan to grow their businesses by at least six employees over the next five years. And this, despite the same report highlighting current social limita- tions and impediments on growth for women entrepreneurs in vari- ous regions of the world. Even when facing difficulties, women are determined to move forward in business and make their mark. Travel is an essential element of any business, and the travel indus- try can benefit by encouraging these rising women entrepreneurs to travel more often to expand their business reach. Because, as the GEM report points out, women entrepreneurs are starting businesses and hiring, the perception they have of particu- lar travel brands and the comfort and loyalty they feel for a particu- lar travel services provider will influence their decision on travel bookings for their enterprise as a whole. This reflects the importance Froelich placed on loyalty programs when speaking to Skift. She indicated that women are far more likely to participate in points-based programs, sign up for credit cards tied into a travel brand, because they value the membership benefits. Before the travel industry can cater to the needs of the female busi- ness traveler, it must understand those needs in depth. To ensure that we reflect those needs as actionable take-aways, we will avoid the generic term “comfort.” The Rise of Female Business Travelers SKIFT REPORT #18 2014
  5. 5. Though comfort is mentioned as a consideration by female business travelers and groups representing them, it is painted with a very broad brush and is subjective. Instead of using this problematic term, we will look at concrete ele- ments of the customer experience which affect how comfortable a woman feels. These key factors which, when combined, constitute comfort, con- sistently came up in conversation with our experts: • security • reliable and empathic personnel • privacy • healthy options • accurate guides • conveniences • cleanliness • amenities We should point out that generalizations of any demographic are no means to establish a branding, product or service strategy. While women have certain different needs from men when they travel for business, they also have some in common. The Rise of Female Business Travelers SKIFT REPORT #18 2014 9 superstars.