Having to travel for business means different things to different people. For some, it can feel exciting and motivating. For others, it can seem like more of a challenge or perhaps a necessary evil. But one thing it should never be is intimidating or unsafe.
Unfortunately, for the growing army of female business travellers, travelling alone for work can sometimes seem a daunting prospect. We might be in 2017 but the travel industry is still falling short when it comes to meeting the needs of women.
Last year, the Women in Business Travel 2016 Report revealed that 70.2% of women felt travel providers should try harder to address the needs of female business travellers. And with women now accounting for around 42% of Redfern’s hotel booking customers, the industry needs to make them a priority. That’s why we recently launched our awards programme to find the most female hotels in Britain.
Redfern’s SOLO Awards are designed to recognise the hotels that are getting things right – whether that’s through processes designed to ensure lone female traveller safety, awareness of the challenges that women might face when working away or staff that go the extra mile to make travelling for work as comfortable and easy as possible.
The solutions can be relatively straightforward, like being aware of lone female travellers and never saying their room number out loud in a busy reception, at breakfast or when checking in to the gym. What’s more, women should never be allocated a room on the ground floor, or near to fire escape stairwells.
But hotels can take further steps to accommodate: better lighting in corridors, extensive CCTV, and restaurants and bars with more private seating areas allow women to enjoy their stay without feeling unsafe or self-conscious.
Providing extra safeguards like organising a driver to pick up and drop off in an unfamiliar city and escorting women to their rooms can ensure the safety and ease of women travelling alone.
These personal touches, without being condescending or superficial, add a sense of reassuring comfort for women travelling solo.
For a long time, the business travel industry has been driven by the needs of male travellers. In 2017, travel providers should see that empowering and valuing female customers is not only necessary, it’s lucrative. Women who are catered and cared for, and experience a hotel or travel service where their needs are met have more chance of becoming customers for life.
Being ‘female friendly’ isn’t about being treated differently, it’s about being treated appropriately.
At Redfern, we believe our new SOLO awards will recognise hotels that cater for the UK’s rising number of women business travellers without patronising - and push others to follow suit.
This post was written by Kate Wimpeney, Business Development Director at Redfern. Redfern is a leading UK TMC providing travel services to a wide range of public and private sector customers. Its innovative tRIPS online booking tool handles a transaction every three seconds helping clients book simply, save money and travel soundly. Click here to nominate your favourite female-friendly hotel for a SOLO award (nominations close on 31 Jan).
Redfern is exhibiting at the Business Travel Show on 22-23 February 2017 - to register for a free pass please visit www.businesstravelshow.com.