Accor’s upscale MGallery brand has decided to show its softer side, with an offering specifically tailored to female guests. The new services acknowledge that women now account for 43% of business travellers, and make 75% of leisure travel decisions – and want something different than what has been on offer to date.
The changes were born of a survey of Accor’s female loyalty scheme members, and acknowledge three areas of concern: the need to feel safe and comfortable, peace of mind and wellbeing, and healthy food and beverage options.
As a result, female guests may now request particular room types, with robes and slippers in their sizes. Full length mirrors and skirt hangers are also being made available. Restaurant and room service menus are also being changed to offer healthier choices.
Julie Grégoire, Accor’s senior vice president hotel services France, luxury and upscale explained: “Luxury and upscale hotels have largely been designed by men for men. Yet, the number of women staying at these hotels for both business and leisure has tripled over the last 10 years.”
Having been tested in four French hotels, the format is being rolled out across the chain during this year.
HA Perspective [by Katherine Doggrell]: When any brand talks about making itself more female-focused, it usually means that it will remain the same, but in pink. And this looks to be more of the same, with women seen here as nervy, dieting creatures, who must have access to locks and low-fat foods to be happy.
What is seen as tailoring for women is more likely to be tailoring for the modern traveller. IHG’s EVEN Hotels (the brand where you can do chin-ups on your coat rack) has identified just such a traveller, who favours peace and wellbeing, alongside healthy menu choices. As for the need to feel safe, don’t we all, particularly in what amounts to a gussied-up dormitory?
Without wishing to betray Germaine Greer, there has been effective research in the battle of the sexes which ended up with profits for all. All Bar One was launched with huge plate glass windows allowing passing women to see the whole venue from outside, unlike the traditional pub and its small curtained windows, which was found to be a deterrent to the potential female drinker.
What MGallery would do well to note is that, with women making 75% of leisure decisions, they are identifying themselves as in control of the family purse. Appealing to them may be more about decent offers than making sure the slippers fit.