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FCM ‘Women in Business Travel’ reports concludes greater gender similarities among Business Travellers

Jo Greenfield, UK General Manager, FCM Travel Solutions
A new ‘Women in Business Travel’ report released by FCM Travel Solutions UK has revealed that despite current public scrutiny of the gender pay gap and equal treatment of women in the workplace, when it comes to business travel, male and female preferences and habits and are not that dissimilar.

The report is based on a recent survey among 1,000 of FCM clients’ business travellers. Almost 52 per cent of respondents were women, and 48 per cent male.

Both genders dislike the same aspects of business travel. Top of the list is being away from family or partner (72 per cent), followed by disruption to work, (38 per cent) and disliking having to travel alone (14 per cent).

More positively 45 per cent of women respondents said that they enjoy travelling on business in comparison with 39 per cent of men. But both enjoy face-to-face interaction most (60 per cent), followed by meeting colleagues and the experience of travel.

One notable gender difference which emerged however is the reason for business travel. Meeting clients is the single biggest reason for men (22 per cent), but is only true for 12 per cent of women, whose main reason is internal meetings (13 per cent) against 10 per cent for men.

Duty of care also showed discrepancies as according to the FCM report only 18 per cent of corporate travel policies address the safety needs of female travellers. Additionally, although 61 per cent of buyers believe it is important to consider women’s safety, only 44 per cent have arrangement in place to allow female-friendly lodging options.  

Other findings of the FCM survey include:
-        nearly equal proportions of men and women travel by air, but more women use the train and more men use self-drive.
-        men prefer to drive to the airport, but marginally more women take a taxi.
-        use of airport lounges makes only a minor contribution to the enjoyment of travel with 23 per cent of respondents using one every trip. In fact. 25 per cent of women say they never use a lounge.
-        70 per cent of female travellers belong to an airline loyalty scheme versus 37 per cent of men.
-        hotel restaurants and bars are equally popular among men and women, although 42 per cent of men drink alone in the bar compared with 32 per cent of women.
-        men are more likely to sue hotel body-wash, shampoo and conditioner, in-room kettle and iron than women – but not the hairdryer.
-        more than half of business travellers would stay in an Airbnb, although fewer women are willing to do so than men.

“The number of female travellers has increased by 50 per cent over the past five years and nearly two thirds of travellers today are women. At the same time gender diversity and gender pay gaps are hot topics in the corporate world today,” commented Jo Greenfield, UK General Manager, FCM Travel Solutions.

“We decided to conduct research among our clients’ travellers to gain better insight into the needs and preferences of female travellers versus men and whether corporate travel programmes still need a more tailored approach,” explained Greenfield.

“Interestingly the results which have been published in our Women in Business Travel report indicate that male and female business travellers are more similar than ever before. With just a few exceptions, the tastes and habits of both genders are the same. Maybe Venus and Mars are closer to colliding than anyone realised.”

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