While inequality between male and female salaries is something that continues to linger in the corporate world, we’ve observed an increase in positive discrimination towards female business travellers in the last few years.
Exemplary female travellers
Men, know that women have exemplary behaviour when booking their business trips! On average, women make their travel arrangements about two days earlier than their male counterparts. This forethought allows for a 2% savings, per day, on ticket prices.
And according to a European study, 84% of the female travellers surveyed appreciate the fact that they can travel for their work. Coupled with this statistic is the knowledge that a third of these travellers have felt unsafe during one of their trips. Therefore, it seems an apparent necessity that the travel industry begins adapting to this more vulnerable clientele.
Solitude: the source of annoying situations
Women are no more scared of solitude than men. Every frequent traveller has found themselves alone in their hotel room, far from their family, with only the noise of the television for company. On the other hand, certain situations can be more annoying for women than men.
For example, a woman that chooses to sit alone at the hotel bar or restaurant runs the risk of garnering unwanted attention. These small inconveniences have led to an evolution of a certain behaviour: female business travellers now tend to reserve hotel suites or apartment, which allow them to cook and have dinner in the peace of their own room.
Vulnerability and security
Solitude not only impacts the female traveller’s spirit, but also exposes them to many different risks. While all travellers are exposed to some dangers when travelling, women face greater threats. And though it’s true that some destinations are more dangerous than others, a female traveller is always more vulnerable than a male. Walking down a street alone, whether daytime or nighttime, can wind up putting a female in a delicate situation.
So how can this be avoided? Systematic preparation is crucial when it comes to travel. While the employer has a Duty of Care responsibility to ensure the safety of their employees when travelling for business, it is up to the travellers themselves to adopt the behaviours and rules of conduct to remain safe. For example, a basic principle when booking a hotel would be to reserve a room that is part of the organization’s travel program and avoid giving out the room number, unnecessarily, in order to limit the risk. As well, having the hotel reception order a taxi and asking them to keep the travel information confidential is another way of staying safe when travelling for business. Also, all business travellers, male or female, must reserve their travel arrangements through their Travel Management Company so that their organization can contact them in the event of an emergency. Therefore, since it is impossible to completely avoid all risks, safety must be the number one rule.
Small details which make a big difference
Although the needs of women are not fundamentally different from those of men, certain attentions to detail make all the difference. While the following point might seem a little clichéd, it remains important: when an employee travels, whether it is a man or a woman, this person represents their organization. It is necessary that they properly present themselves and dress their best.
While a man may choose to get a shave or pick a new tie for his upcoming meeting, the needs of a woman differ greatly. For example, offering manicure or hairdressing services within a hotel is a fantastic way of attracting a larger number of female business travellers. Bathroom layout is also something that might be reconsidered to better suit women; offering more counter space to fully lay out one’s health and beauty products or a good quality blow dryer will ensure a more pleasant stay.
But that’s not all. Certain establishments have begun offering smaller sized bathrobes and slippers, as well as properly lit vanity mirrors for easier grooming and makeup purposes.
The number of female business travellers is steadily increasing, yet they remain more exposed to risks than men. Without perpetuating stereotypes and remaining pragmatic, the travel industry continues to search for new and better ways to adapt to the female traveller’s needs.