As International Women’s Day approaches, let’s look at the issues and trends that affect and matter most to traveling businesswomen.
March 8 marks International Women’s Day, a time to imagine a future that is diverse, equitable and inclusive. Of the 1.3 million people in the U.S. who travel each day for business, about 45% of them are women. Female Travelers deal with unique challenges and constraints, which is why International Women’s Day is the perfect opportunity to consider how to drive change for traveling businesswomen.
In the coming years, the travel industry can support women by striving for equality, using their influence for good, and refocusing the industry on the needs of a diverse collection of Travelers. Travel Managers play an important role in supporting women given their position between executives and the Travelers themselves. Here’s a closer look at 3 ways Travel Managers, the travel industry and women can help create a better, more equitable environment for all business and leisure Travelers.
Striving for Equality
As noted in the introduction of this post, women represent 45% of business Travelers — a percentage that appears to be going up with each passing year. Still, women in the travel industry itself are poorly represented at the Executive level. Only about 33% of travel organizations have women leaders, even though 72% of all travel agents are women.
Also, a disproportionate amount of harassment and violence directed toward Travelers is specifically directed toward women. This is not the way it should be. Women, given their overwhelming influence on travel decisions (more on this in a moment), should be given positions of influence within travel-related organizations. And women should not be singled out for harassment or violence while traveling.
Using Influence for Good
Despite the lack of gender equality in travel, women wield influence that is capable of driving change for the better. Women today make up almost two-thirds of all Travelers, and women make more than 80% of all booking decisions.
Given this amount of influence, how can traveling businesswomen drive change? Start by:
- Choosing to fly and stay with organizations that have women CEOs and other Executives.
- Identifying women-owned bed and breakfasts and similar establishments when traveling.
- Taking leisure trips that promote the economic participation of women around the world.
There are likely other small ways in which women can support equality in travel for other women. Whether you take one of the suggestions listed above or choose your own specific tactic, know that small actions by women throughout travel can collectively make a big difference.
Refocusing the Travel Industry
The lessening of COVID-19 as a global phenomenon has reopened a travel industry that shut down in the early days of the pandemic. The slow return to normal provides all industries a chance to refocus — travel included.
Anecdotally, women are rethinking how they spend their travel dollars. Spending travel dollars based on some of the suggestions above — supporting women-led travel companies, finding women-owned bed and breakfasts, etc. — are good starting points. But, more generally, it’s always a good idea to be more thoughtful with your travel. For example:
- Support the women-led and women-owned travel businesses.
- Schedule the business trips that will make the biggest impact on your work.
- Plan leisure trips that will help create forever memories.
- Encourage everyone involved in travel to be more mindful of women and the lack of equality that still exists.
Again, women wield power and influence in the travel industry. If women Travelers, both business and leisure, use that power and influence to advocate for equality, individual voices can help the industry refocus on achieving that level of equality for all Travelers. Travel Managers are in a unique position to support women on this journey toward equality for all Travelers.
We’re Proud to Support Companies and Their Diverse Travelers
The JTB Business Travel team is proud to provide support for corporations of all sizes, as well as for their diverse groups of Travelers. We help companies optimize their travel-related spend for ROI, and ensure Travelers create itineraries that are both productive and comfortable. Behind everything we do is a common-sense approach to business travel.
Contact us today to learn more about what JTB Business Travel can do as your travel management company.