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6 ways women are driving the travel industry

Buying tasty snacks from a street food vendor

A staggering 80% of travel decisions were made by women in 2014. That’s the equivalent to $125 billion of the travel industry’s purchasing power. Regardless of location, travel brand, relationship status or who is paying for the trip, women led the way as the decision makers of travel.

And the travel industry has taken notice.

In the last two years there has been a significant increase in female only travel companies, increased female-themed trips, not to mention advertisements, marketing, partnerships and branding all targeting the dominant travel decision makers – women.

Don’t believe us? These are just a few examples that prove girls really do rule the travel world…

Female inspired brand partnerships

Etihad Airways are one of the world’s largest aviation companies and a travel brand who have changed their ways to appeal to the female traveller. Following market insight, the airline found that women have a significant influence on the choice of airlines for themselves and for their families. Accordingly, the brand announced at the end of 2016 that they were adding fashion to their food and football lifestyle brand partnerships. Etihad Airways is now the global partner of WME | IMG Fashion and the official airline for fashion globally, with sponsorships for 17 fashion weeks lined up over the next 3 years.

Adverts geared towards empowering women

Emotive, empowering and authentic advertisements are fast replacing sexualised advertorial content. According to Madonna Badger, CCO/Founder of female perspective brand agency Badger & Winters, ‘women are demanding more pro-female ads. Specifically, the millennial generation is demanding that sexist ads be replaced by female positive material.’

It’s clear to see the travel industry has taken these demands on board. Just take a look at Virgin Trains 2016 ‘Be Bound for Glory’ campaign video, featuring a woman running in possible the least sexy outfit ever, a fish costume. The ad defines the pro-female messaging with an empowering, strong, determined lady at the forefront.

In fact, pro-female ads have become some a thing, they’ve even garnered their own name – femvertising.

An increase in female-only travel companies

Women aren’t only booking trips with their friends, family and husbands, they are also seeking out solo / women-only adventures. And as women are becoming increasingly confident and empowered to travel solo, the travel industry has taken note. Women-only travel companies have jumped up by a gigantic 230% over the past 6 years. No doubt catering to the rise of the female solo traveler and increasing female only travel demand. Sisterhood Women’s Travel, Wanderlust and Lipstick, Adventure Women … the options are endless.

And in Women-only Trips

It’s not just women only travel companies that are on the up. Exclusively female themed trips have also seen a tremendous peak in interest. Traffic to women-only retreats on between January and August 2016 registered at almost 38,000 views, significantly more than visits to men-only retreats, couple retreats and family retreats.

Additionally, more and more active female trips are appearing. 2017 sees World Expeditions launch 21 women-only treks. Walking Women has catered for their 1,000 plus female travellers branching out into all kinds of women-only trips: culture and wildlife in Rajasthan, India; bird-watching in Costa Rica; a safari in Swaziland; sailing in Turkey; and wild swimming in the Lake District. And the list continues.

Female Lead Travel Businesses

Think the staggering amount of female decision makers are confined to those buying travel? Think again. Women are also dominating the most sought after travel businesses. Let’s just take a look at the top 10 global travel blogs: Mrs. O around the World, The Travel Hack, A Lady in London, Pommie Travels, Inside the Travel Lab, VickyFlipFlop, I am Elle – all females.

And it doesn’t stop there. 72% of travel agents were women as of 2012, a number that has likely gone up since then, according to research conducted by Phocuswright. Carolyn McCall stands strong as the CEO of EasyJet, Melinda Stevens holds the role Editor-in-Chief role at Condé Nast Traveller, and our very own Toni Ambler slays as the Brand Strategy Director of Contiki.

Who better to speak to a predominately female audience then these savvy, influential business women – After all women know what women want!

Women As The Face of Travel Brands

One of the most, if not THE most important factors of a brand is who will be the face of it. The person who symbolises, resonates and defines the brand image and what it stands for, ultimately influencing people to buy into it.

Having a face for a travel brand, especially aviation, has never really been a big thing, until now. Nicole Scherzinger is helping British Airways discover virtual reality. Nicole Kidman stars in Etihad’s 360-degree “Reimagine” film. Jennifer Anniston is the spokeswoman and leading lady in the new Emirates ad. Gwyneth Paltrow was the face for BA’s A380 Singapore launch…

These high profile, strong minded and successful women are there for a reason – to appeal to the predominately female customers driving the travel industry.

A woman in a blue dress sitting on a chair by a pool.