Hotels Set Aside Floors for Women

Nancy Trejos, USA TODAY, December 9, 2013

Book a room on the 11th floor of the Hamilton Crowne Plaza here, and you’ll get special bath salts and body products, a magnifying mirror, nail polish, nail files and a curling iron.

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The Hamilton Crowne Plaza is one of a small, but growing number of hotels offering floors dedicated to female travelers. These hotels are particularly trying to appeal to female business travelers, who are moving up the career ladder and hitting the road more often.

“Women are more influenced by their surroundings, and therefore, the ways in which hotels can accommodate them become important,” says Judi Brownell, professor of organizational communication at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. “My research identified three things that are important to women business travelers and that influence their decision regarding where to stay: safety; empowerment; and pampering.”

Hotels are responding by setting aside floors with special key access and amenities that women typically prefer.

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The Dukes London has 15 “Duchess Rooms” with smaller slippers, glossy lifestyle magazines, fresh flowers and a female staff member to handle room service and housekeeping requests. There’s also a quiet corner table in each room for those women who’d rather dine in rather than go out alone.

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The Crowne Plaza Bloomington in Minneapolis also has a Women’s Floor with additional security features and amenities.

The hotel saw a need, given that females now make up 47% of the guest population at Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts, says Gina LaBarre, vice president of brand management for Crowne Plaza.

“Those hotels are stepping up to make sure they’re providing those guests with what they need to be productive,” LaBarre says.

USA TODAY Road Warrior Stephanie Dickey, a vice president of sales who lives in Richmond, Texas, says she appreciates the extra amenities when she stays in rooms dedicated to female travelers at various hotels in the world.

“I loved it,” she says. “I felt special and pampered.”

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LaBarre sees it as a step forward for business travelers.

“It’s not about discriminating against men,” she says. “It’s about how do we enhance the experience of our female business travelers?”

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