Coming of Age: The Continuing Evolution of Women Business Travelers
"Coming of Age: the continuing evolution of female business travelers"
"Coming of Age: The Continuing Evolution of Female Business Travelers" builds upon the 1999 NYU study sponsored by Wyndham International, Inc. of both female and male business travelers, and reveals that certain attitudes and behaviors toward business travel have remained the same, others have changed and some new elements have been added.
The e-mail survey, conducted in March 2003, was sent to randomly selected members of Business and Professional Women/USA (BPW/USA), National Association of Women Business Owners and Leadership America, three national not-for-profit professional women's associations. The three organizations have a combined membership of more than 40,000 located throughout the country.
Women Business Travelers Don't Feel the Travel Industry Values Them as a Group
The survey measured how valued women feel by the airline and hospitality industries and found that they feel they are treated as a valued customer more often by hotels than by the airlines.
- 51% of women feel that hotels "often" or "always" treat them as valued customers
- 31% of women feel that airlines "often" or "always" treat them as valued customers
- Only five% of women felt they were "never" treated as valued customers by hotels
- 15% of women "never" feel treated as valued customers by airlines
Women Find Business Travel a Positive Part of the Job
Despite a recognition that business travel has become more challenging since the last survey was conducted, women still value the intangible benefits associated with it. The survey found that women associate positive emotions with business travel, including the opportunity to broaden horizons, professional achievement and freedom from a daily routine. For instance:
- 80% view business travel as a sign of professional achievement
- 75% of women view business travel as an important part of their job
- Even though 65% agree that business travel has become more difficult over the past year, the same number would continue to travel on business when given the choice.
Women Don't Travel With Their Children on Business
A long-standing assumption in the travel industry is that women business travelers prefer that their children accompany them on business trips. In fact, 80% of women reported that they never take their children.
Carving Out Time for One's Self While on the Road
While women are on the road, they often put some of their time toward relaxation, although that number has declined slightly in the past four years. The study found that 65% of women include some aspect of relaxation into a business trip, compared with 68% in the 1999 survey. Of that 65%, 44% incorporate leisure time into their business trip, while 21% add vacation days to extend their stay.
Women's "Must Haves" While on the Road
This survey found that the in-room amenities respondents look for have less to do with business and more to do with personal needs. The top three amenities women "must have" to be productive on the road are a mini-bar (71%), brand-name bath amenities (56%) and spa services (47%), with long-standing items such as a fitness center (24%), high-speed Internet access (25%) and an in-room coffee maker (31%) ranked as the three lowest of the survey.
Creating a Productive Environment While Traveling
When asked what type of guest room features impact their productivity, the top answers varied based on how often the respondents traveled. An analysis of the choices indicated that a comfortable bed was most often one of the two features chosen with adequate lighting as well as complimentary phone calls and Internet access the second most popular.
Technology's Role In Purchasing Travel and While On the Road
Since the 1999 study, Internet use has grown tremendously. The NYU Tisch Center study reveals that technology's role has increased at the front-end when female business travelers make their travel arrangements.
- 64% of respondents "frequently" search online before booking an airline ticket, and almost half search online prior to booking a hotel room
- 80% of all women business travelers purchase airline tickets online
- 75% book hotel reservations online
- Women business travelers rank proprietary airline Web sites as their first choice for booking airline tickets, followed by Travelocity.com and Expedia.com.
- Proprietary hotel Web sites are their first choice for booking hotel rooms, followed by Expedia.com and Travelocity.com. Although technology usage has increased pre-travel, heavy usage of high-speed internet access and other new and wireless technology by women business travelers while on the road are not yet evident.
- 42% never use high-speed Internet access in their hotel
- 68% do not use a wireless device in their hotel
- 80% of women never use dial-up or high-speed Internet access in the airport
Price Drives Decisions - The Economy's Role in Business Travel
As more companies have scaled back on business travel expenses, women business travelers' habits have changed as well. For instance, in the 1999 survey, responsive service was the most important factor in women's hotel selection; this study showed that this has shifted to price, with 23% of women noting they stayed at a less expensive hotel in 2002. Location was a close second, and service slipped to being the least important consideration. The study also showed that while 77% "often" or "always" searched for the lowest airfare only 48% "often" or "always" searched for the lowest room rate online.
About the NYU Tisch Center at the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies
The Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management at New York University is a dynamic and growing educational and research center founded in July of 1995. The NYU Tisch Center is housed within NYU's School of Continuing and Professional Studies [NYU SCPS].
Please visit NYU SCPS online for more information.