What women really want

  • 10th September 2013
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And it’s not always an upgrade!

The new report into what women business travellers really want reveals several things we perhaps already know. Women are more organized than men when it comes to logistics? We could have guessed that one. They plan further ahead than men? Again, no seismic revelation.

But this is where obvious predictions end. A quarter of women business travellers fly more than they did five years ago and, in an independent survey of 1,000 female business travellers, only 15% prefer to travel with a companion. Now, it might be that the male co-workers available to travel with for those 15% aren’t the sort of colleagues anyone wants to travel with, or it may just be that in 2013 85% of women are more than capable of getting themselves across the country or the continent with the need for someone to open the door for them, buy them a drink or put their cloak in a puddle for them to save their shoes.

The female perspective on onboard facilities were also a bit of a revelation. A quarter of those asked would prefer to abandon one-size-fits-all loos and have their own dedicated washrooms (although 94% wouldn’t be happy to pay for the privilege). And, along with a requirement of lighter meals – especially for breakfast – one in ten would prefer to not sit among men and would like women-only aisles. Women are also far less obsessed with getting an upgrade and more happy to adapt to where they’re sitting. They just get on with it. Evidence? 39% make their own travel arrangement, compared to just 20% of men.

But what do women travellers themselves think of the findings? We asked Debbie Dale, vice-chair Association of Women Travel Executives, who rightly pointed out: “Forward-thinking companies will look after our women business travellers. The needs and wants differ from person to person, however both genders differ in terms of priorities when travelling and we support any organization that works to meet those wants, needs and priorities.”

For us here at bmi regional it means passenger requirements need to be closely monitored – and catered for. Our CEO, Cathal O’Connell said: “It is not surprising that the travel sector tries to woo women, but our results show that female business travellers are not put off solo travel by what is currently on offer. However, it is definitely not one size fits all. As well as adapting onboard menus to deliver healthier choices, a larger hold option can benefit women in terms of convenience and saving time. Minimizing disruption around security matters, such as the size of toiletries carried in the cabin – makes a notable difference and having guaranteed checked baggage allowance means that passengers know they always have hold luggage in which to pack all their toiletries, regardless of size.”

So. We all need to get there quickly, on time, freshly fed and watered with enough luggage to survive the meeting and après-meeting. Just women want different things.