Ten New Trends for Women Travelers
March 10, 2015 § 3 Comments
Women are traveling more than they have ever before. Travel experts think that women represent the most important and fastest growing segment of the travel market, in terms of both leisure and business travel.
Phyllis Stoller is truly an expert on women travelers. As head of The Women’s Travel Group since 1992, she is on the front line of travel trends and shares her Top Ten 2015 observations with us. She says that women continue to lead in researching their trips, are seeking more exotic destinations, and are more interested in a healthy diet while traveling. Understanding these trends is important to marketing to women travelers.
Here are her top ten new trends:
- Live for today spending. Overall, a carpe diem mentality is surpassing budget concerns. Maybe it is the economy or maybe single women are finally more affluent. A recent article in the NY Times examined the lifestyle of a healthcare employee, concluding that her higher-per-hour salary put her in a strong financial position for increased spending. And we are seeing these more affluent women traveling. These women are in a professional position that allows for more discretionary spending.
- Women are requesting specific experiences. Online review sites are helping define and prioritize what women will do with their time on a trip, even where they will shop. I have seen actual shopping lists with specific names of oversea stores. Online reviews encourage list making. We observe women listing specific places they want to visit on an itinerary, rather than stating just a destination like Tuscany.
- We still see unusual trips selling out fastest. The idea of leaving ‘your comfort zone’ has leaked into travel. A frisson, even a little scary, is a draw for many women. Women are seeking unusual and new destinations while men are more satisfied with more predictable golf resort destinations. Women are also looking for more intellectual stimulation and experience in their travel; 75% of those who take cultural, adventure or nature trips are women.
- Healthy diet on the road is increasingly important. As regional cuisine has become more sophisticated throughout the US, fine dining overseas is less of a priority, unless it comes with an experience (famous farm meal, known winery, cooking demo).
- Hotel amenities become part of the travel experience. Along with the more liberal spending for travel, we notice women are again using hotel amenities like spa services. Their enjoyment of travel extends beyond the last tour, as women pack use of the hotel into each day. Today’s working women seek quality hotels and services equivalent or better than their business travel standards.
- Smartphones are the new travel accessory. Everyone has a smart phone. Older women will actually get their smart phone before a trip as part of their travel gear. Wifi is the new umbilical cord for many. Entering a lovely hotel with wifi, women will look at their phones before admiring the lobby.
- Solo travelers still penalized. The single supplement is still an issue regarding cost and availability. Women are frequently penalized with a premium applied by some travel companies for traveling alone. Sharing is an option many still choose. But with a stronger economy, the single cost is slightly less formidable this year.
- Frequent flyer consultants needed. Frequent flyer mile accumulation continues to bother women; part of our job today is to help with creative uses of frequent flyer miles. Tour operators need to be frequent flyer consultants or lose passengers’ attention.
- No age limit for traveling. We see women 80+ still happy to travel and not just on cruises. As an FYI, three women of this age group went to India with us October 2014 along with other women aged 40+.
- Airline upgrades are more frequent among women. Maybe the upgrades are a sign of the economy or extra frequent flyer miles. But the upgrades are also a trend of not being afraid to spend money on one’s self.
Read more trends about marketing travel to women here.