What Women Really Want: Friendly Service, Stiff Drinks & A Sweet Pool
Analysis of 50 million verified travel reviews explores differences in what male and female travelers care about most at hotels
Close your eyes for a moment and think of the last time you visited a hotel. What was the first thing you noticed about the service? When posed this question, women will remember the staff’s friendliness (or lack thereof), while men think of the staff’s professionalism (or lack thereof).
We recently analyzed 50 million hotel reviews to understand the differences between what women and men care about most during their hotel visits. While overall scores are similar for reviews written by each gender (i.e. women are not more critical than men, or vice versa), there are differences in the way that each demographic evaluates their hotel experience.
Hotel and staff
When it comes to the hotel and its service, women are more likely to take note of the hotel’s ambiance and friendliness of its staff, while men tend to focus on professionalism and hotel maintenance. Consider the following:
- Women mention:
- Ambiance 11% more often than men
- Friendly atmosphere 10% more often than men
- Men mention:
- Hotel facilities (old/new) 40% more often than women
- Hotel maintenance 26% more often than women
- Professional service 10% more often than women
These findings are consistent with recent research from Cornell, which suggests that when assessing a hotel, female (business) travelers are more likely to rely on emotional factors like feeling comfortable and pampered compared to male travelers.
When it comes to evaluating hotel amenities, women tend to focus on leisurely attributes like the entertainment, adult beverages and the pool. Men, on the other hand, are much more likely to mention attributes like the Internet and price/value. Consider the following:
- Women mention:
- Desserts 57% more often than men
- Entertainment 34% more often than men
- The pool 16% more often
- The minibar 11% more often than men
- Shopping 11% more often than men
- Alcoholic beverages 10% more often than men
- The bar 8% more often than men
- Food 5% more often than men
- Spa/wellness facilities 5% more often than men
- Men mention:
- The Internet/Wi-Fi 49% more often than women
- TV 35% more often than women
- Value for money 29% more often than women
- Parking prices 28% more often than women
Why the difference? Perhaps women and men simply want different things from hotels when traveling.
Another explanation may have to do with the way households plan their travel – research shows that women are more likely to be responsible for making their household’s vacation decisions. One study on Gadling.com shows that women are more likely to plan travel for their spouse or partner. Another study shows that if a woman has a family, she may make up to 70% of all her family’s personal travel decisions. By taking on the responsibility of vacation planning, women may be more likely to focus on certain hotel attributes that are closely associated with leisure travel.
In fact, even when traveling alone for business, women are more inclined to combine their business travel with leisure. Research from the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management at New York University shows that 44% of female business travelers incorporate leisure experiences into their travel, and 20% of female business travelers add vacation days to extend their stay.
Despite the fact that male travelers are much more likely to mention price/value in their reviews, these attributes still appear to be important for women travelers as well. Research from MMGY Global shows that women report being slightly more concerned with value for price than men and also appreciate complimentary amenities like free Wi-Fi.
What it means for hoteliers
Hoteliers can use these findings to better cater to each demographic. Service staff, for example, can be trained in ways to best to communicate with each gender. Management can also take these findings into account when offering perks or upgrades: a complimentary drink or spa treatment may be of more interest to female travelers, whereas free parking or Wi-Fi vouchers may appeal more to male travelers.
Note: TrustYou recently rolled out new data points about what men/women say about hotels in its Meta-ReviewsTM. Search for your hotel to see what each demographic is saying about you!