Women are fuelling the travel industry. Whether they’re planning a leisure trip with the family, a girl’s getaway or a last minute business trip, women are now calling all the shots. According to the Gutsy Traveler blog, 80% of all travel decisions are made by women and they will spend approximately $125 billion on travel in the next year alone. Presented with this huge opportunity to increase leads and expand revenue, how are you marketing travel to women?
As a travel marketer, here are 5 realities you need to know about the female traveller if you want to take advantage of the economic opportunities women represent for your business:
Women don’t have a problem travelling solo. Today, thousands of women travellers are flying solo and loving it. There are more and more women travelling by themselves, as compared to 10 years ago, and to meet this demand, there has been a 230% increase in the number of women-only travel companies in the past 6 years, among them, companies like Canadian Women Traveller, Wanderlust & Lipstick and Serendipty Traveler. Some of the growth in the female-solo traveling market is a result of the rising divorce rate and the growing numbers of ‘independent’ women – ie, professional women who are postponing marriage, in favour of pursuing graduate degrees or career development. These women have plenty of discretionary income and the freedom to travel wherever, whenever and with or without a companion if they so choose. In fact, according to a 2013 poll conducted by Travel Guard Wordwide Inc, of the travel agents polled, 73% of agents noted that more female travellers embark on solo trips than their male counterparts.
Women love their loyalty points programs. Aeroplan points, Air Miles points, or Frequent Flier mileage – while they all may have different names, they provide the same enticing benefits – spend money and reap rewards. A lot of women (myself included) often book their own flights or hotels using frequent flier or hotel points.
Along with their love for loyalty programs, women love great deals. There are already a plethora of companies that are marketing travel to women through deal sites such as Groupon, DealFinder and even Travelzoo. With the ability to subscribe to daily or weekly emails, this is a great way for companies to connect with these intrepid but financially savvy women.
Women are adventure-seekers. The stereotypical notion about women and women travellers is that they are more timid and more averse to challenge or risk than their male counterparts. But the increase in adventure travel for women is quickly squashing that stereotype, as women flock to unusual and new travel destinations where they can explore and delight in exotic cultures and visit places that are ‘off-the-beaten-path’. These go-getter-gals love the challenge, the culture and the empowerment that adventure travel offers. According to Travel Industry Association findings, the average adventure traveller is no longer the 28-year old male, but rather a 47-year old female.
Women no longer rely on travel agents because social media is changing the travel industry. Women make 40% of all travel planned using a mobile device. They no longer need to ask others for help when booking travel plans; they can complete the entire process themselves on their smartphones. They do their research, pull up hotel/guide confirmation plans and even upload vacation photos straight from their mobile devices.
If you’re a travel marketer, and haven’t taken a female-focused approach or implemented specific marketing strategies geared to women, you’re missing out on this extremely lucrative target market. In many families, households and businesses, women are often the resident Chief Travel Officer which means they conduct the initial research into their travel purchases, and they are often the key decision-makers whether it’s for their own vacations, travel arrangements for their children, their partners, their aging parents, and even their business travel.
What is your travel company or agency doing to market to these free-spirited and fearless female travellers?