Women today are traveling on their own more than ever. While this comes from a combination of greater opportunity and more liberty, it also creates some dangers to them. Whether they are famous travelers with obsessed fans or just people subject to attacks that men do not as typically face, their travel can leave them vulnerable. As a hotelier, you should not only be aware of the concerns women face, but take steps to address them. You can improve your business performance and reduce your liability potential by moving to protect your female guests. Work with a hotel security expert to implement an effective plan.
Opportunities for Women Traveling
The days of women remaining home are fading. Whether married or single, women represent a growing segment of the workforce. A Pew research study in 2017 found that almost a third of married women now earn more than their husbands. Their salaries, with more room to grow, are increasing much faster than men’s.
With this growing potential comes enormous market potential for hotels. According to travel expert Marybeth Bond, “Estimates are that women will spend some $125 billion on travel in the next year.” This boom should benefit those hotel owners and managers who take steps to earn their business. This means not only marketing to women, but adjusting policies and procedures in ways that connect with female travelers.
Security Concerns Women Face
Some of the worries that women face in travel may be obvious. Women traveling alone are vulnerable to robberies and sexual assaults. This can occur not only outside of your hotel, but even inside the building. The perception that they are vulnerable can create dangers for your guests and put your business at risk.
The dangers are not always obvious or directly physical. In 2010, ESPN Reporter Erin Andrews filed a lawsuit against the West End Marriot hotel management. A stalker was allowed to book a room next to hers, drill holes in the wall, and film her. The hotel was found liable and ultimately settled the claim with Ms. Andrews. The event became an international news story that represented risks both to women traveling and to hotels not taking care to protect their guests’ privacy.
Tips for Hoteliers to Enhance Security
With these risks and dangers in mind, hotel owners, operators, and managers should work with a hotel security expert to develop a plan to not only protect their female guests, but to make those protections visible. This can begin at check-in. When you check your guests in, make it a policy not to announce their room numbers aloud. Simply point to the number on the card or paperwork you provide. Keep a guest line positioned several feet back from the counter as well to help prevent others from looking.
From here, offer your female guests the option of an escort to their rooms. This can include assistance with luggage, but should focus on helping them feel safe. Include a security check inside the room while the guest waits in the doorway, combining the security check with an overt focus on making her feel safe. Test the windows to ensure they are locked, and explain emergency exits. Train your staff to keep the interactions professional; fraternizing with guests can make them uncomfortable.
Finally, you should offer a 24-hour escort to your guests when they want to go out to their vehicles. This is important especially at night, but do not neglect the daytime security needs along the way. You should have someone on staff willing to assist at any times. Again, keep all interactions professional; you do not want to seem either condescending or uncomfortably friendly, as either can undermine the sense of safety your guests feel.
Protect Female Guests and Yourself
Hotel security for your female guests should not be a matter of choice. Today’s travelers want to feel secure in and around their hotel, and the more you can do to meet that need, the better your guests will feel staying with you. In addition, it protects you from liability when something happens. Develop a plan with your hotel security expert, and take the steps you need to keep your female guests safe.