What Do Women Want in Hospitality?

Last month I wrote a post about Chinese travelers – specifically about 1.4 billion of them that could be showing up very soon at a hotel or restaurant near you right here in Florida.  Today I’m “narrowing down” the discussion topic a bit more by talking about only 49.6% of the total world population, aka women, the single largest target market in the hospitality industry.  Specifically, the most recent stats show there are 3.52 billion women on this planet (roughly half the population).  And yes, I know that tittle you see up above is a loaded question but seriously, even though women are only about half of the world’s population, by some estimates we still account for 92% of the vacation decisions.  Using those numbers it’s destined to be a hot topic in this industry which in turn makes it super important to Orlando, so let’s just let those stats sink in for a minute.

Women are always busy making vacation decisions for their families
Women are always busy making vacation decisions for their families

You read that correctly – 92% of vacation purchases including airline decisions, hotel selections and restaurants as well as buying all those precious souvenir tchotchkes are made by women, and even I was shocked by the estimated dollar volume this accounts for because, are you ready for this? In some reports, women are shown to be responsible for a whopping expenditure of, drum roll please, $7 TRILLION dollars annually related to vacation purchases. Just in the USA. (Notice I didn’t print that in numericals because frankly I’m not really sure how many zeros to use.)

Cue the fireworks behind the castle!  Wait while Shamu gives a water-soaking-splash-worthy-salute of a high jump!  Shoot – was that Harry Potter himself flying in the sunny skies above Orlando?

And while even I have to say “enough with all those statistics!”, I do feel it’s worth mentioning because there’s a lot of money currently being spent in the hospitality industry to find out exactly what women want when they travel (no, besides a bikini-worthy body for those lazy days on the French Riviera with James Bond by her side. . .we’re not talking about those dreams, okay?).  Recent marketing research has proven the number #1 thing that female travelers want when browsing for vacation options is an enjoyable and engaging travel shopping experience.  (Go figure. I really hope they didn’t spend too much money to figure that one out!)  That’s right, from the internet search to the constant checks on social media sites, women tend to research with the desire to enjoy the whole experience along with obtaining the final product. Admittedly, it’s a thing with us, right?  Most women are shoppers, end of story.  But what this means to the tour and travel industry is that women buy hospitality with their eyes.  We like descriptive text along with a lot of visuals.  We prefer detailed explanations (think spa services, pool size, and restaurant ambiance – especially when the cocktail photos show drinks with tiny little umbrellas in them) as opposed to the men surveyed who make selections based on the overall value for money of what they’re purchasing.

Are women all born to shop?  It would appear that way!
Are women all born to shop? It would appear that way!

And why am I even bothering to write about this?  Because here in Orlando hospitality is a really, really big thing.  As mentioned in another of my blog posts that you can view here, this industry employs over 232,000 people here in Central Florida and that number keeps growing.  If you’re a member of that statistic – meaning you’re already employed in this industry – then you’d be smart to understand who’s making the majority of the decisions among our tourists and hopefully continue to make them the happiest segment of travelers on the planet.

Oh, and make sure to wrap up that hospitality nice and pretty in a detailed, happy package sprinkled liberally with pixie dust and Potter magic! 

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Just your average middle age gal trying to deal with career/life/family changes and issues while studying people and places, one lobby bar at a time.

6 thoughts on “What Do Women Want in Hospitality?

  1. Women are becoming a much more powerful force….we take our time, have to analyze everything, and build groups/consensus….we will eventually get into major leadership roles in the USA….hopefully in my lifetime! 🙂 A great book about marketing to women is “Women Don’t Ask” by Marta Barletta! An excellent read.


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