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Journalist and co-founder of The Gypsygals
I am a solo female traveler. Whether I'm traveling for leisure or for work (or a little bit of both) I often find myself on my own – loving the journey and even blogging about it. I'm not the only one doing so based on the anecdotal evidence which I gathered through comments posted on my blog, reading various blogs by other female travelers, lurking in numerous travel-related fora, interviews with other female travelers and online surveys.
The recent reportissued by Amadeus IT Group validated some of the findings that I gathered through my informal research. The female traveler sector is definitely a growing market, but what is more significant is the rise of the Asian female business traveler market – a previously untapped market niche which is seen to rise by as much as 400% in the next two decades.
But very few in the industry are customizing their offerings to ambitious and adventurous thirty to forty-something women executives from Asia -Pacific who usually combine work with leisure trips. I have seen some women-only tour groups, and I'm frankly disappointed that not only do they exclusively market them to Western women, but they are also too expensive and are only open to leisure travelers, who of course can spare at least a week just to travel.
Like most travelers, Asian women business travelers want safe journeys, value for money products and services, comfort and convenience, and an opportunity to use our travels to meet new friends, business contacts and even romantic interests.
But I believe that more than addressing the wants, it's valuable to address the why – why do female Asian business travelers choose to craft their own journeys?
It is because solo travel is the way for us to finally have the time for ourselves – one of the few times that we can let go of our culturally conditioned roles as nurturers and just let our hair down. This is the time that we can get away from the responsibilities from our community and family, escape and defy a culture that puts us in a certain box. Any company should delve deeper into this psyche if they wish to attract more female Asian business travelers.
Below is a random list of things that I hope the travel and hospitality industries will consider in their marketing strategies:
More importantly, the travel industry needs to invest in research that will build on the data that Amadeus IT Group has supplied in its recent report.
As a single Asian female business traveler myself – I'm a Filipina journalist who travels to cover various conferences overseas – I know for a fact that Asian female business travelers in general have big spending power, a big disposable income which we use to pamper ourselves and the family and friends that we love. Whenever we travel, we squeeze in even a bit of time to go to a spa, visit tourist spots and shop for ourselves and for gifts for our loved ones. When we're happy with the service that we receive, we don't hesitate to recommend them to our social circle.
So dig deeper and get into the hearts and minds of female travelers – that's the only way to win in this lucrative market niche.
About the author: Prime Sarmiento is a Southeast Asia-based travel/science journalist and co-founder of The Gypsygals– one of the leading online resources for female travelers who love to craft their own journeys.