Am I being short-sighted not to see the point in the new women’s travel center AA.com just launched? I realize there are safety implications for women traveling alone, and I realize there are planning considerations for families, yes, OK. And yes, many times the vacation planner in the family is the woman, but I bet it’s pretty often the man, too, so it would probably be better (from a marketing standpoint) to target that information and those resources and promotions to parents, not women specifically.

So beyond additional “smart solo traveler” safety concerns, what else distinguishes women’s travel needs from those of men?

Call me cynical, but this feels like way too heavy-handed an attempt to court the female dollar. Either that — or possibly in addition to that — and here’s where I hint at my e-commerce geekery — someone at AA.com just figured out how to segment their traffic and commerce data by gender, which revealed that women either spend too much or too little time or money on their site (I could speculate either way) and now they’re inventing excuses to draw more women to the site, draw us there more frequently, or draw us there and keep us engaged while we’re there long enough to buy a trip.

None of which are bad things — they’re just obvious. And the obviousness of it feels kind of, I don’t know, patronizing or something.

Or maybe it’s just me. Is it?

Question for women and other travelers

9 thoughts on “Question for women and other travelers

  • April 9, 2007 at 7:43 pm
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    It’s not just you.

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  • April 9, 2007 at 7:48 pm
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    I totally get that there are safety implications, but I too saw nothing truly female-specific — except all the verbiage — when I looked at that link.

    At least the page isn’t pink.

    I tend to dislike being targeted by marketing specifically because I’m a woman. The only thing worse is when somebody makes a product that is substantially inferior to the general one and markets THAT to me because I’m a woman.

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  • April 9, 2007 at 8:17 pm
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    I had trouble loading the whole page for some reason, but it was rather overt. I wonder what kind of research they found that indicated this would be a good idea.

    That said, we in the hospitality business have long known that women are the decision makers for their families (and it’s not just for travel). You know, “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” There’s a lot of data that indicates this. It’s why when I worked at the casino, we made sure that we had lots of games and promotions aimed at women to draw them in because their husbands would follow. And it’s why all the marketing I’ve been doing in the vacation rental business for the last four years has been aimed at women. But not so much that we have specific websites for women. It’s a lot more subtle. We use imagery and copy that women respond to. And if men like it, well that’s good, too.

    At least, I certainly hope that we’re not patronizing. I try not to use too many photos of babies. Ahem.

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  • April 10, 2007 at 3:06 am
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    I generally hate crap like that.

    As for the family stuff, I am finding that most all “family” or “parent” stuff is marketed directly to women/moms.

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  • April 10, 2007 at 8:56 am
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    I think that when I was doing business travel 20 years ago such a sight might be useful – often I was the only woman in the business lounge and such – but that just isnt’ the case anymore.

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  • April 10, 2007 at 12:52 pm
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    That reeks of an ultra-safe, bureaucratic, politically correct corporate communications department project you would expect at a company that size. The whole thing looks like it had to get signed-off on by 20 people. The most telling sign is the meaningless, non-offensive stock photos, especially the picture in the middle, with the asian woman, the light-skinned black woman and the white woman, toasting with wine glasses that are obviously filled with water. Don’t want to alienate the drinkers or the non-drinkers.

    I don’t know if it offensive to women, but as a marketing guy, I find it horrific.

    Jim (Nashville Knucklehead)

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  • April 10, 2007 at 5:11 pm
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    I think it’s extremely patronizing because it just looks like a ploy.
    I’m with you on this one.

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  • April 14, 2007 at 10:52 am
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    Totally agree.
    They needed to spend more money on what asthetically appeals to women. The website looks like shit and doesn’t appeal to me more than a regular travel website. Trying to target a market, they didn’t even bother to use the stereotypical pinks. The fluff? Blue and red, primary brazen tones. Terrible layout.

    Reply

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