Senior Vice President,
Sodexo North America
On a recent business trip, I overheard a young woman who was traveling for business say into her phone, “Mommy just landed. I’ll be home soon to tuck you in and kiss you goodnight.” It made me smile. I can’t count the number of times I’ve said that to my own children—and then prayed the traffic would cooperate so I could fulfill my promise.
I wondered how many other female travelers were making the same promise at that moment. Let’s face it: Today’s working moms are reaching new heights of multitasking. We’re expected to play the roles of mother, homemaker and business professional—often all at once! Adding business travel to the mix creates mores stress and, quite frankly, “mommy guilt” for many women who travel.
It also creates an opportunity to address a critical need among one of the largest growing target markets for airlines: women professionals.
In 2013, Amadeus, a global ticket distribution system for various airlines, outlined several rising trends in the travel industry. One key trend is the rise of women professionals that travel. In fact, international business travel among women is predicted to increase four-fold by 2030. So we can expect airlines to place greater emphasize on travel experiences for women. But when they do, they need to expand beyond cliché gender-specific amenities such as pink bathrobes and travel kits.
Airlines should focus on genderless amenities including quality customer service, healthy dining options, and cleanliness. Additionally, secondary research conducted by Sodexo found that women prefer their travel experience to be quiet with natural lighting and privacy. By emulating at-home conditions, airlines can make business travel that is much more comforting for thoses constantly on the road.
Sodexo, as the leader of Quality of Life Services, knows the epitome of exceptional service hinges on all customers’ needs, regardless of gender. Share in the comments section below how you think airlines can great a better travel experience for women.
Jennifer Williamson is Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications for Sodexo North America. Sodexo’s 133,000 employees in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico provide more than 100 unique services that improve performance for 12,000 client partners and improve Quality of Life for 15 million consumers every day.