How can hotels ensure the comfort and security of female business travellers?

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  • Hannah Brandler
    Keymaster

    We are writing a feature on female travel in an upcoming issue of Business Traveller magazine and would love to hear your thoughts on what measures hotels can take to ensure the comfort and security of female business travellers, from female-friendly amenities to the design of hotel rooms and public areas (lounges, restaurants, bars etc.)

    Comments may be used as quotes in the feature.


    Poshgirl58
    Participant

    In my last job, this was a subject I investigated.

    Starting with security. There are already measures in place within hotel groups, such as Premier Inn, who have a policy in place for female travellers. This includes not divulging room number when checking in. Also personally experienced this at Travelodge Gatwick Central. There are also a number of travel security companies who offer guidelines to travellers and accreditation of hotels. Don’t want to give personal opinion on any of them here.

    There’s been a misconception that all female travellers need are a fluffy robe, high-end toiletries and glossy magazines. In some countries, hotels have set aside a floor for female guests only. There are a number of door wedges on the market, to guard against intruders.

    Regarding comfort, a good quality robe and toiletries are a good starting point. Positioning of mirrors and power points should also be considered. A decent hairdryer is important too.

    I’ve kept my response brief at this stage. However, please feel free to contact me if you require any further information.


    handbag
    Participant

    I have never found the need for any different security to a male customer. Would like to think that my husband would be offered the same amount of security that I am. I feel a little uncomfortable with he idea of a female only floor. Have always felt that security should be a mix of both hotel and personal responsibility. Having stayed in hotel rooms all over the world on my own for over 30 years, both in and out of the hotel, the best advice I would be to anyone is use your common sense. The only place I have ever felt uncomfortable is in a lift (most probably only a couple of occasions in all my years of travelling). I have just stayed in the lift for an extra floor, if the person was getting out on my floor.

    I have never wanted or needed any lounge bar or restaurant adapted to suit females. Must admit, I am perplexed , as to what this would even entail. If I need to go to eat I do whether on my own or not and wouldn’t choose to go to a bar on my own, regardless of how it was designed.

    Like to have a robe and agree that the positioning of mirrors, and plug points are an important factor. A high powered dryer is a must, as well as Shampoo and conditioner (not just shampoo). Do not enjoy trying to get to well hidden plug points to plug in tongs etc or if the plug is nowhere near a mirror. A magnifying mirror is much appreciated and if there is one, not to be positioned on an unmovable stand that is so high I can’t see it properly.

    Will be interested to read your feature.

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    cwoodward
    Participant

    The whole idea of of female only areas of international business hotels I had thought died through lack of interest years ago.

    I believe it unlikely in this day and age that there would be anything other than fringe interest from travelling females or hoteliers in most markets.
    Certainly our female executives would have no interest at all in segregated public areas.
    Handbag above expresses what I expect to be the general view very well.

    Sorry, but I believe the concept is nuts and would have no interest in reading your article.

    4 users thanked author for this post.

    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    Perhaps you would consider an article about how hotels can ensure the comfort and security of male business travellers, or would that be considered sexist? 🙂

    For example – an executive floor for male or female business people only . i.e. no kids playing in the corridors or making a disturbance in the exec lounge while us extremely important DYKWIA’s are trying to conduct international global reach discussions.

    The only recent news article I have read about female travellers having safety issues in a hotel were the cabin crew of a national airline who were using rouge taxis.

    I agree with cwoodward above – except to add, us male business travellers should also be considered….

    5 users thanked author for this post.

    AFlyingDutchman
    Participant

    Being in the hotel business, I can tell you that the idea of Women only floors, lounges, etc., have definitely been tried and failed. In this day and age of equality for all, such ideas would never fly again. Where will it end?

    Numerous male guests like a nice bathrobe, a good hair dryer, convenient plug sockets/usb ports, etc., as well. Nothing different from what a female business traveller would like. The most common answers I receive from guests, male and female, about what they want when staying in a hotel is that the hotel is clean, good security, with excellent unbtrusive service, good location, value for price paid, a great bed, good black-out drapes, and great free wifi.

    Having the necessary female amenities (of a good quality) along with the normal tooth brushes/toothpaste/shavers etc., on hand is a must, but more than that is not required.

    Fully agree with cwoodward and Martyn

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    capetonianm
    Participant

    Equal levels of security and confidentiality should apply to all guests. To suggest otherwise is absurd.

    Briefly, a couple of my pet hates often encountered in hotels are :

    – Inadequate shelf space in the bathroom for bits and pieces (even my own few sometimes, let alone when travelling the Memsahib)
    – Showers that won’t maintain a more or less constant temperature and which go from boiling to freezing and back again.
    – A chair next to the work surface which is too low to work comfortably
    – Windows which don’t open
    – A/C that you can’t turn off
    – Doors that bang and rattle because nobody thought to put a little foam rubber strip between the door and the frame
    – Inadequate soundproofing between rooms and corridors
    – Key cards that don’t work
    – Inadequate power outlets
    – Unreliable wifi
    – Housekeeping staff who don’t understand PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB
    – Last night’s meal trays festering in the corridor the next morning, ditto for breakfast trays
    – Inadequate supplies of tea/coffee/milk
    – Cheap nasty tea (Liptons Yellow for example)
    – Silly little cups for tea and coffee

    I didn’t realise how many things I dislike about hotels! I used to spend far more time in them than now.

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    Poshgirl58
    Participant

    Six years ago, when I started the project for my ex-employer, one male colleague raised concerns about discrimination. Around that time, the Danish courts ruled that hotels could not have female-only floors so the concept was scrapped there.

    It seemed to be popular in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Singapore and Dubai. In some countries, it may have been introduced for cultural reasons. Since the issues surrounding gender assignment, I wonder how many hotels still retain these floors. On the internet now, there’s little reference to any court cases against male intruders, so possibly gone the way of many trends.

    Whilst reading the valid comments above, I recalled my own experiences at a Premier Inn. Staying overnight with two male colleagues, my room number was not divulged at check-in. One colleague got out at the floor below. On the next floor, our rooms were adjoining. Wonder if PI thought the corridor fire door would offer me adequate protection from his advances. According to the ideas being touted at the time, I should have returned to reception and asked for a different room. Incidentally, he didn’t have any bad nocturnal habits, apart from snoring!

    Personal security is commonsense. Depending on where you are in the world, extra caution may be needed for cultural reasons. A suitable risk assessment, completed before travel, usually identifies any problems such as those likely to be encountered by LGBT travellers.


    Bath_VIP
    Participant

    … and plugs or USB sockets next to the bed. Some hotels seem to think that electronics are steam-powered …

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    For male and female sports fans – the ability of watching prime sports events in your hotel room without the need of going to a bar (hotel or otherwise). I can quite happily work whilst watching Sheffield Wednesday in the background.

    For male and female guests worried about hotel security and rogue taxis – better presence of hotel security staff checking on taxis and other dubious guests entering the hotel foyer.

    For male and female guests wishing not to eat alone in hotel restaurants or in situ in a hotel for more than a few days:

    ** a better and more efficient system for in room or lounge dining
    ** singles tables in hotel restaurants for those wishing not to eat alone
    ** GM drinks receptions to meet other guests (only for those wanting to do so).

    As for wifi security, I think both male and female guests would both prefer more secure hotel networks rather than the open networks favoured by more and more hotel chains.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    carbonclogs
    Participant

    Comfort:
    Many Japanese business hotels still offer single female floors, particularly outside of Toyko. It is sometimes the only way to ensure a non-smoking room.
    While staying in an Italian franchised hotel (best western) there were male and female special packages on offer. While both gave access to free wifi and a free minibar,the male offering provided free adult channel and the ladies had bathrobe and other dull stuff imagined as needed by the marketing team. In this day of more fluidity in gender one wonders where this stereotyping will lead.

    Security:
    I agree with the other posters that all of us, regardless of gender, wish to be safe in any environment. Awareness and support should come from our employers as well as hotel staff and I would expect the hotel to provide safety features to all. These would include:
    – room-key operated lifts are a simple way to restrict access, even though I always have a faulty key
    – hotel staff not divulging names and room numbers
    – CCTV clearly on and being monitored
    – additional security on the room locsks like chains, eye holes on the door
    – clear guidance from hotel on local issues and security/emergency contacts (very well done in Manila recently)

    I have had a wooden broom pole as an extra security on a balcony window in Hawaii, I laughed at it at the time, but actually it did provide an extra layer to the ever so flimsy locks.

    Women do face additional security/harassment challenges from hotel employees as well as fellow guests. However I believe the current climate does mean women are considering security more in each situation/location which is good.


    canucklad
    Participant

    Hi Hannah
    It’s an interesting conundrum you’ve set ….
    As a male who’s continually bewildered with “snowflake outbursts” my initial reaction was “OMG” what now?
    And then I thought about the women who are dear to me and had a second think about your question. It becomes harder to answer because I have personalised naïve perception of my loved ones.

    On a personal note, through experiencing occasions where I’ve been put into a position of vulnerability with predominately female colleagues I’d ensure the bar staff have the training and authority to limit alcoholic drinks to the fairer sex.

    Situation 1
    My boss on a flying visit (checking up) showing off the fact that she held the purse springs ordered too much wine for her and her female colleague . End result I needed to carry her up the stairs and dump her in the room. The next day she was convinced that somebody had “spiked” her drink ….. Not a good day !!

    Situation 2
    Staying at a posh Heathrow hotel , I was invited into the company of 4 women who recognized me. as a colleague from Scotland. The very attractive married boss decided to play a game called ….my favourite number !!
    Very unprofessional and very tempting after a few drinks to recognise that 432 was her favourite number. A woman spurned and all that !!! My diplomacy skills were definitely tested .

    Situation 3
    Getting ready for work, I answer the door in the morning, to find my female colleague wrapped in just a bath towel requesting a loan of toothpaste . Having already brushed my teeth I sent her on her way with the tube. Later turns out ( found out from my work wife) she had ulterior motives. The night before I had apparently upset her when as group we were playing Snog-Marry or Avoid ?

    That’s only 3 that immediately spring to mind but there were other instances .

    In each case I acted with restraint, but there’s other people I know who wouldn’t have ?


    AircraftLover
    Participant

    Not all hotels have 24h security personnel watching the property
    Not all hotels have, for Female Guests, the room service orders delivered by female staff
    Not all room windows have a locking system
    Not all room doors, to the outside terrace-garden, have a locking system
    Not all room doors have a locking system
    Not all hotels have video-recording all common areas


    AircraftLover
    Participant

    I am not in favor of segregation of any kind, but there are some cities/countries, where I think, it would be nice to offer the possibility of an “all-female floor” to female-solo travelers


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    I think good security is a must for everyone, male, female or whatever gender! I like to see guest room floor access in the lift with a keycard. Check-in area away from the general hubbub of a hotel to lessen the risk of someone swiping you bag. Doors with an extra security lock.

    I’ll edit as I think of more things.

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