Women travelers who stay in Airbnb-style rentals or hostels

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Women Travelers in Airbnb Rentals or Hostels

The end-to-end user journey of women travelers who stay in Airbnb-style rentals or hostels starts with choosing a destination, followed by determining the budget, preparing a general itinerary, selecting the mode of travel and accommodation, and finally, keeping a check of security and safety concerns. While the choice of destination varies considering factors like occasion and budget in addition to specific safety and security concerns among women travelers, it has been identified that they are not afraid to travel to places regardless of what is going on in the world today and prefer not to obsess about it.

CHOOSING A DESTINATION

  • According to a study, the core reasons that most women identified with their love for traveling were to celebrate, reflect, test their limits with adventure, escape and learn, and they often choose their destination based on the purpose of traveling.
  • Budget is also a factor while selecting the destination.
  • 87% of women would choose a destination for the beautiful scenery.
  • In a survey that polled travel agents, it was found that 45% of agents identified Europe as the most common destination chosen by women to travel, 33% identified Mexico and Caribbean, 15% identified the United States and Canada and only 2% cited more exotic destinations such as Africa, Asia, Central or South America, and the South Pacific as most popular among women.

DECIDING THE BUDGET

  • The budget also determines the length of travel.
  • In the survey that polled travel agents, 82% said that their women clients spend less than $4,999 on travel, 16% noted that their clients have a larger budget of $5,000 — $9,999 and only 2% of agents saw clients spend more than $10,000, especially when booking travel alone.

PREPARING A GENERAL ITINERARY

  • Women often refer to travel forums that post all kinds of questions from travelers, or a friend or acquaintance who has previously been to the chosen destination.
  • As per Nielsen Net Ratings, The Washington Post, and Newsweek, 80% of women who purchased travel products or services offline researched their purchases online beforehand.

CHOOSING THE MODE OF TRAVEL AND ACCOMMODATION

  • With the rise of budget airlines, women find ultra-cheap tickets when booked well in advance.
  • They consider taking the train rather than flying when planning a trip to Europe.
  • Women on a budget often book ahead as it saves money.
  • Women read reviews, sometime in advance, interact with the host and do thorough research, especially while making reservations through Airbnb.
  • In the survey of travel agents, 10% identified limited-service hotels, 3% identified hostels or guest houses, and only 2% identified apartment or room rental direct-from-owner as a popular choice among women who travel.
  • Budget hostel accommodations attract the college crowd where girls find a party-all-night spot, and "the fanciest hostel bed will likely cost less than a hotel room."
  • Room and house shares such as Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway are preferred by women travelers who like to connect with locals who rent out rooms in their homes or want to enjoy entire homes even while they are away.
  • Women who like something more personal, like getting to know local people better, staying in someone's home, and sharing part of their lives for a couple of days, go local in a homestay.

SAFETY AND SECURITY

  • While women feel they should be well aware of potential dangers, they prefer not to obsess about them.
  • Trafalgar's survey of women travelers identified that 86% of women are not afraid to travel regardless of current world events.
  • Most common questions asked by women travelers, especially while making a reservation at Airbnb include, "Who else has keys to the listing? What if I need to call someone in an emergency? Is the neighborhood safe? Is the place clean? Will I feel comfortable if I can lock the doors completely from the inside? Who is the host, and how can I trust him or her? Can I trust the reviews?"
  • In the survey that polled travel agents, 23% identified medical emergencies, 24% identified potential flight delays or cancellations, 4% identified lost or stolen travel documents, and 3% identified lost luggage as their most significant concern as regards encountering a dangerous situation among women who travel.

STRATEGIES WOMEN TRAVELERS EMPLOY TO MINIMIZE RISK AND INCREASE SECURITY AT KEY POINTS IN THEIR JOURNEY

  • Women prefer to pack a lock, carry a quality mosquito net, first aid kit, and flashlight, at the very least, while staying at a hostel room or Airbnb.
  • Women often double-check where they are going and notify someone they trust back home and refuse accommodations where there are no women.
  • While placing a booking through a group or association, women opt for those whose addresses and contacts have been verified.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

To identify the end-to-end user journey of women travelers who stay in Airbnb-style rentals or hostels, the research team began by checking surveys conducted by Trafalgar, Yesawich, Pepperdine, and Brown & Russell. We also looked at companies like Airbnb for their analysis of women customers, as well as statistics garnered from studies conducted by tour operators and travel agents to understand their customer base.

We further checked blogs and podcasts posted by women who are frequent travelers and users of Airbnb-style accommodations. Statistical findings backed information from these sources and, therefore, we didn't consider them as individual opinions.

Since there were no studies conducted to understand strategies women employ to minimize risk and increase security at key points in their journey, we used the experiences noted in multiple sources by the women who are frequent travelers. Please note that a dated source has been used as the source shares relevant concerns raised by women travelers while making reservations at Airbnb; no recent study was available to disclose concerns raised by women in Airbnb/Hostels or similar facilities.
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How Travel Companies Address Safety Concerns

Only a few (18%) of travel policies specifically address the safety and security of women. Three ways travel companies are addressing female travel and security concerns is to offer safety checklist, Provide female travelers with essential information regarding travel destination, Hiring local guides, and women-only travels.


HOW TRAVEL COMPANIES ARE ADDRESSING SAFETY CONCERNS

  • Global Business Travel Association and WWStay carried out a study, polling travel managers and buyers and found that nearly 40% of business travelers in the US are women. 69% of travel managers, including travel agencies, agreed that women face greater risk when traveling, but only 18% of travel policies are female-specific. So, the report concluded that though many of these agencies and managers were aware of the risk women face, very few of them had women-specific policies and general risk policies that can help protect women.

SAFETY CHECKLIST

  • SAP Concur, a travel management company that manages business travel for Fortune 100 companies to small businesses, partnered with Kathy Leodler, CEO of security firm Rampart Group, a former FBI special agent and corporate security director, to create a safety checklist for female business travelers that can help safeguard their productivity and peace of mind.
  • There are seven areas of concern within the checklist, and they include understanding business travel insurance, trip planning essentials , packing for safety, health and welfare protection, lodging safety tips, practicing new behaviors, social media, and cyber safety while traveling.

PROVIDING FEMALE TRAVELERS WITH ESSENTIAL INFORMATION

  • AdventureWomen, a women-only travel company provides women travelers with relevant information regarding cultures, local traditions, lifestyles in the destinations they visit so that they can make informed choices. Its co-owner Judi Wineland says “Women are totally capable of ensuring their own safety if they are armed with enough information and local knowledge to protect themselves from places and people that could place them in a position of risk, injury, crime or other type of harm.”
  • AIG Travel recently launched a Women's Travel Safety initiative, which provides women with information on how to research travel destinations, their local laws and customs, and what tools to use in the case of adverse situations. The initiative also involved a social media campaign with the hashtag #WomenWhoTravel, designed to raise the awareness of women travel through safety tips.

HIRING LOCAL GUIDES AND WOMEN-ONLY TRAVELS

  • Venus Adventures, a women-only travel company, was born out of a need to offer comfort and safety to traveling women in groups.
  • Women-only travel companies like REI Adventures, AdventureWomen’s and WHOA Travel hire guides or use local team members in each of its destinations or communities it visits, who have a very sound knowledge of the area and that are trained extensively in mountain rescue, first aid, and wildlife issues.
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