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The female demographic is naturally a major component of the global online travel market, but what exactly are women looking for when they shop for travel?

Big Travel Brands Not Meeting Women’s Expectations

A recent study by the Insights in Marketing research team i-on-women surveyed over 1,200 women and 200 men to discover more about how women approach their travel decisions, and how brands are rated for performance via their understanding of women’s needs. The findings revealed that there is substantial room for improvement among some major travel players concerning how they market travel to female audiences. The survey found that one-third of women shop for travel at least twice a year, and 80% make purchases online. But when it comes to travel brands, two of the biggest players fail to convince female audiences, with only 12% of women saying Priceline markets its products and services effectively to them, and only 9% believing Orbitz does.

Other key findings include:

  • Only 23% of women are extremely satisfied with the products/services in the travel category;
  • Women’s influence on the household is strong, with 97% having complete or some influence on travel purchase decisions;
  • When travel shopping, the key things women consider are: price (48%), meeting a specific need (31%), promotion (29%) and quality (28%).

According to division director of i-on-women Tinesha Craig, “People now understand that women control more than $7 trillion in domestic spending and control purchase decisions for 85% across most major categories. Yet, only 9% of women feel as though marketers are effectively marketing to them,”

Some hotels are finally starting to pay attention to this issue, for example by catering for more female business travellers. But among travel and hospitality brands, good examples are still hard to find.

Profiling Female Travel Shoppers in the US

The research team at Insights in Marketing have devised their own model to help them more clearly understand how women in the US market behave towards brands, what they expect, what engages them and what puts them off.  They suggested five profiles for female travel shoppers in the US.

Profile 1 (26% of women):

  • Highly driven and focused on being successful in whatever she does.
  • Determined to accomplish her goals, but often torn between her work life and home life.
  • Tenacious and with laser-sharp focus.

Profile 2 (21% of women):

  • Traditional, conservative and risk-averse
  • Nurturing personality who is most often at home with friends/family
  • Prefers to stay in the background rather than taking centre stage
  • Strong belief system, values and routines

Profile 3 (20% of women):

  • Highly curious about what drives people
  • Routine is very important in her life and comforting
  • Happiest when things are going according to plan
  • Likes rules because they define guidelines and expectations.

Profile 4 (17% of women):

  • Self-reliant and feels she is the only one who can solve her problems.
  • Highly aware of setbacks and of disappointments
  • Seems independent, but needs reinforcement and positive feedback from others.

Profile 5 (16% of women):

  • Highly curious and very sociable
  • Fearless and hates boredom and repetition
  • Believes that people should seek out and pursue what makes them happy.

The question is: can marketers make sure their brand caters to these key target audiences, addressing their key expectations, needs and wants?

Discussion

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