The number of women business travelers has been growing rapidly, and for 40 years, hotel operators have attempted to discern and meet the needs of this specific group, usually by looking at the features and amenities offered by the hotel. A new study by Cornell School of Hotel Administration Professor Judi Brownell proposes a more holistic approach that takes into account the overall emotional effect of clusters of features and amenities.
"When hotel operators ask what women want, the answer is not so much specific features as it is an overall outcome relating to how the experience makes them feel," Brownell said. "In this context, we have found that women want to feel secure, comfortable, empowered and valued. When I tested this insight in a model, the result was clusters of amenities and features that contributed to these critical affective outcomes."
To fill a gap in existing research, Brownell conducted a survey of hotel managers to determine their perceptions of what women business travelers sought in a stay. The managers rated safety as a top concern. As an example, specific features that contribute to a feeling of safety include covered parking, secure locks, well-lit hallwaysand thoughtful room locations.
"Over time, I believe we are seeing a greater industry consensus on how to serve this rapidly growing market segment," Brownell said. "What is clear is that the overall emotion or affect is more important than a particular amenity or hotel feature."