You may not realise it, but the target audience for most hotels is women. Women account for 85% of all household purchases and 92% of vacation decisions (according to Greenfield Online for Arnold’s Women’s Insight Team) spending over $7 trillion annually in the US alone according to the Marketing to Women Conference, Chicago. Add to this the fact that the Clute Institute, a business journal publication, found that females represent around 40% of all business travel; women constitute a massive portion of the decision makers when it comes to travel and hotel bookings.What female travelers want
1. An enjoyable/engaging travel shopping experience. Generally women tend to buy with the desire to enjoy the experience as well as obtaining the final product. This is why rich descriptive text accompanied with some great visuals makes all the difference when appealing to female shoppers. By visually presenting the experience your female guests will have at your property, you will keep it at the front of their mind as they move through their shopping journey.
2. Social media. Women are the dominant superpower behind all forms of social media. According to a research carried out by Pew Research Center and Burst Media, women are not only using social media more, they’re using it in more ways than men. Women dominate the visual social media platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook, making high quality and engaging visuals even more important to cater for your female audience. Women are also more likely to interact with brands than men, making a female follower far more useful than a male one.
3. More mobile-savvy than men? Turns out that women are more active on mobile devices than men; including everything from sharing content on social media to visiting mobile websites. This is definitely something you want to capitalise on in your hotel digital marketing strategy.
So, about marketing to women....The female reviewer
A recent analysis of 50 million online hotel reviews compiled by TrustYou discovered that when it comes to hotels, women care about very different things than men.
A couple of interesting examples are worthy of special note:
- Women tended to focus on ambiance and the friendliness of the hotel’s staff more than men, who in turn were more interested in the available facilities and maintenance levels.
- As a rule women are more interested in entertainment options – the pool, shopping outlets and available alcoholic beverages and desserts. Men however tended to put more weight on the Wi-Fi and TV, and were more conscious of getting “value-for-money.”
The TrustYou report indicates that as a rule women rate hotels based largely on tangible and visual facets of their experience. This actually plays to your advantage as it makes it that much easier to appeal to them. A smashing photo of your swimming pool will go a long way towards winning over an undecided woman. If only it was that simple to convince her male counterpart that your Wi-Fi is also top notch…
Show them what you’ve gotNow that you know what women tend to look for during their stay, it immediately becomes evident which aspects you should be highlighting to capture their attention with your hotel marketing:
1. Pools, spas and outdoor areas
Your pool (assuming you have one) is a good place to start your efforts at being more “female-friendly.” Ideally your hotel marketing should entice women to visualise themselves relaxing by the pool and enjoying some much deserved peace and quiet away from professional and family obligations.
Include plenty of pictures on your hotel website and hotel app. Photos on your hotel website will entice guest to book and photos on your hotel app will entice guests to share their experiences online.
Make it easy for guests to relax with built-in booking options for spa treatments. It's a chance to maximise REVpor and cash-in on impulse purchases and bookings.
2. Local goodies & shopping
Cyndi Lauper pretty much said it all: “Girls just want to have fun!”.
Vacationing women are highly appreciative of information that helps them make the most of their holiday. Sharing tips and highlighting your local attractions, eateries and shopping opportunities plays to your advantage. A happy woman is much likelier to share stories of her fantastic experience with friends and family than her male counterpart. In effect what she’s doing every time she shares some pleasant detail of her vacation, is providing you with priceless word-of-mouth marketing…
A dedicated “Local Shopping” menu only takes a few minutes to create, but provides value for years to come. It’s also your opportunity to either show appreciation for worthy partners, or collect advertising fees from businesses interested in exposure to your guests.
Adding pages dedicated to your recommended shopping venues has the additional advantage of making sharing information that much easier for your guests, and every click of the “share” button puts your brand front and centre.
The fact that the way to a man’s heart is via his stomach, doesn’t mean the route to a woman’s heart traverses vastly different territories. The reality is that women are actually more susceptible to marketing that highlights food than men. According to the study: “Women mention desserts 57% more often than men, food 5% more.” Be sure to include mouth-watering images of your hotel’s finest cuisine in your marketing mix, and pay special attention to your desserts.
It’s amazing how far seeing a little umbrella in one’s beverage goes towards enhancing one’s sense of luxury. One of the most gender specific findings of the TrustYou study was the association women in particular have between cocktails and having good times when on vacation. As with the previous point regarding foods in general and desserts in particular, if you want to enhance your appeal to female guests, make a point of including references to your hotel’s cocktail offers.
About the author
Nick Baker is the community manager for Appy Hotel, a hotel digital marketing startup based in SE Asia, that provides mobile applications and digital marketing technology solutions to hundreds of hotels across Asia and around the world. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org