What Women Business Travellers Expect As Hotel Guests

Twenty-five years or so ago, when I first started travelling on business, there were very few other women on those early morning air commutes. Today women represent nearly 50% of business travellers, and hotels around the world are trying to determine what will keep women happy. It’s an important question because women are nearly twice as loyal to a hotel as men. Said one senior executive who logs 70 – 80 room nights a year, “When I find a hotel that make me feel welcome and safe, I’ll return again and again – even if they are a little more expensive and a little further from my meeting place.”

So what do women want?

Apologizing in advance for only being able to answer this question in terms of hotel stays, here are their/our top desires… assuming that all the business necessities (fax, internet connectivity in the room and/or WiFi, meeting rooms, access to printing, business newspapers delivered to the room, etc.) have already been met.

1) Top notch security. Many women like the idea of having a floor that can only be reached with a key card; it doesn’t have to be an all-female floor, but non-residents should not be able to gain access. Under the security heading, women include having well-lit, monitored parking garages with intercoms, valet parking and escort service to parking lots. Many hotels have their bell staff escort women to their rooms late at night. The front desk staff can help by giving women rooms near the elevators so they don’t have to walk down long, isolated hallways, especially ones that turn corners – and keeping these room numbers confidential at check-in. It can be as simple as pointing to the room number, rather than saying it aloud.

2) Clean, fresh smelling rooms. Most hotels have this one well in hand, but hotels making a special effort to cater to women add woman’s magazines, fresh flowers and pot pourri for the bathroom when the room is made up. Cupboards are stocked with plenty of hangers, including skirt and camisole hangers and padded ones, too. “Chick flicks” get included in their movie line-up; one hotel chain also offers yoga and guided visualization options.

3) Inviting bathrooms. Women expect bathrooms to be pristine. They are far more particular than men about this. This means no errant hairs on the floor (check the corners, because women do), no grit in the tub or smudges on the mirrors. Many hotels are starting to install curved shower curtain rails so that the shower curtains can be kept far from the body (and are less likely to grow mold). As well as being tastefully appointed, there should be good light (for putting on make-up application), a full length mirror on the door, outlets that will take a curling iron, and a good quality hair dryer with a cord long enough to permit styling in front of the mirror. Important to both men and women: The shower should have enough pressure to remove hair conditioner. It is very frustrating (and not a great way to start the day) trying to wash long hair when the hotel has installed a water miser! Hotelier hint: Cleaning staff should be instructed to leave the extra towels in the bathroom when there is a single female guest. Women need one towel for their hair, one for their body, another for their hands when putting on make-up… you get the picture, I’m sure.

4) Attractive amenities. This means milled soaps in the bathroom, shampoos and conditioners that don’t have a sports scent, thicker towels, generously proportioned and fluffy bathrobes. Some hotels have introduced a spa line for their female guests to a very positive reception.

5) Locked cupboard “mini bars”. Women travellers tell us that they would like a mini bar equivalent stocked such necessities as pantyhose (queen size and regular), tampons, panty liners – things that you can’t just run out and pick up when you run out, or need unexpectedly.

6) Sports Centres. In addition to having well-lit, well-secured gym facilities, some hotels are providing secure jogging tracks. Not only do women want to feel safe when they use the gym, they want to feel welcome. This means making sure the facility is kept clean and well-stocked with towels, cool water, Kleenex and anti-bacterial spray for the machine handles. It also means including exercise balls, floor mats and lighter free weights in the equipment line-up.

7) Food and Finer Fare. Women prefer bistro or café style restaurants to noisy sports bars; they also like to have lighter fare to choose from whether they are dining in the restaurant or ordering room-service. As for the actual dining experience, women can feel uncomfortable being reminded of their single diner status. “Will anyone be joining you this evening?” is preferable to “Eating alone?” Being seated against a wall can also make women feel more at ease when dining alone – as can a little extra attention from the wait staff. One idea is for hotels to establish a single diner’s website where guests can make arrangements to dine with someone else. Or perhaps to ask single diners if they would like to be joined by someone.

8) Last but not least: To be treated courteously and professionally. Hint to Hoteliers: Women in their 40’s have the highest expectations for hotel service delivery – and yet are the most likely to receive second-rate service from hotel staff (and yes, this takes into account that they register more complaints because they are pickier!). Suggest your staff pay a little extra attention to this group because they are less price-sensitive and more likely to refer your property to colleagues.

What Makes A Good Hotel For A Business Traveller?

Below, we take a look at what makes a good hotel for a business traveller.

Location – When you have meetings in any area of the country, it is frustrating to end up in a hotel that is miles from any transport connections or from your meetings. It is vital that the hotel has good road, bus and train links so that you can easily use the hotel as a base and get from A to B, quickly and cost effectively. There is no point paying for a really cheap hotel yet being 20 miles away from your meeting if you are going to get a taxi or then have to travel even further, so it’s important to weigh up location and cost when booking your hotel.

Price – If you are on the road regularly for business then you know the cost of the travel can soon mount up, especially if you require hotels for the majority of the week nights on your away trips. You need a hotel that is affordable and can maybe offer you some sort of discount for multiple nights when booking and also a hotel that doesn’t really hit the single traveller with supplements because they are on their own.

Comfort – After 3 hours on the road, 3 hours in meetings and then a train ride to get to your hotel, you don’t really want a bad nights sleep before you do it all again in the morning. The least you want is a comfortable bed and a clean room, with maybe some luxuries like a nice TV and tea and coffee ready to settle in for the evening. Even if the hotel is cheap, make sure you read the reviews online to make sure it’s clean and will give you a decent night’s sleep.

Facilities – It is vital for most business travellers to have free WIFI and other types of facilities, including somewhere to eat and maybe even a sneaky drink or two to relax in the evening. Most business travellers have to work on the road after a long days drive, typing up notes and getting orders back to headquarters, so its vital that any hotel a business person stays in has WIFI that is freely accessible throughout the hotel and its premises.

Parking – If you are a regular business traveller then you will know how often you have turned up to hotels and really struggled to park, which drives you not only mad but also makes the cost of your trip even more expensive. Having a hotel with free or very cheap parking is a must for most business travellers, because you need to know you won’t be hunting around for hours at the end of a long drive trying to find somewhere to park.

Richard Johal runs the Java Hotel in Nottingham.

Conveniently located at Junction 25 of the M1 and only 10 minutes from Nottingham, Derby and East Midlands Airport, the Java Hotel offers everything you need for a comfortable, yet affordable, night’s stay.