Ten years ago, few companies offered packages aimed specifically at female travellers. The number and variety of girls' getaways has grown since then, and options now include active holidays, relaxation, shopping, entertainment, fine dining, and more.
A flourishing market
Although we were unable to find recent statistical data on women’s travel, a 2013 American Express survey reported a record number of trips involving female friends or family, with 56% of female travellers saying they had taken a “women-only” trip.
This booming customer segment led to a 230% increase in the number of US businesses specializing in women-only travel between 2008 and 2014, according to Marybeth Bond, author of the Gutsy Traveler blog and a women’s travel expert.
This booming customer segment led to a 230% increase in the number of US businesses specializing in women-only travel
Although Intrepid Travel, a small-group tour specialist, reports that 63% of the 100,000 reservations made through its Website in 2012 came from women 25 to 39 years old, those aged 60 and over make up a large proportion of female travellers. Now retired, they travel because they have the time and the resources.
According to Kelly Lewis, founder and publisher of Go! Girl Guides, guidebooks for female travellers, women are looking for more active travel experiences or those that involve volunteering. However, health and safety still remain key concerns. Let’s take a look at the tourism industry’s efforts to adapt to this lucrative market.
Girlfriend-friendly hotel packages
Many “girlfriend getaway” hotel packages feature traditional spa and massage sessions like the one at the Auberge Godefroy in Bécancour, the Hotel Spa Watel in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, and the Auberge de la Montagne Coupée in the Lanaudière region. The girls’ getaway at the Auberge and Spa West Brome even includes a chick flick and popcorn! Other packages like those at the Courtyard Marriott Niagara Falls and the Andrew Pinckney Inn focus instead on shopping and food.
For something a little less traditional, the Wellness and Workout Weekend in Charlevoix at the Le Germain Hotel in Baie-Saint-Paul invited women to a fall weekend of hiking on the surrounding trails. The full package included a yoga session, hiking, thermal spa experience and a lecture about nutrition.
If a little adventure and entertainment is what you seek, several member resorts of Resorts of Ontario offer activities like poker lessons, courses in cocktail mixing or jewellery making, an extreme course, paintball, hiking and mountain biking.
Source: Resorts of Ontario
Is the distribution network targeting the girlfriend getaway market?
Not exactly. However, it does offer products for groups of women with similar interests like outdoor activities or adventure travel. Wild Women Expeditions has been catering to women for over 25 years with a host of outdoor activities like canoeing, kayaking, rafting, biking, hiking and horseback riding on nearly every continent.
World Expeditions, which specializes in small group adventure tourism, has seen a substantial increase in the number of female clients over the past 20 years, with this group rising from 38% of its clients in 1996 to 54% in 2016. Even on the most challenging itineraries, such as mountaineering or long-distance mountain treks, women now represent 30% of the group. Because of this, the tour operator has developed a brand new range of women-only active adventures that will launch in 2017
Destinations promoting girls’ weekends
The Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau began marketing packages designed specifically for women in 2010, a year after the state of Tennessee launched its promotional campaign aimed at female tourists. Its girlfriend getaways include spa treatments, jewellery making, winery tours, meals in local restaurants and, of course, shopping, all with a “behind the scenes” aspect that offers something out of the ordinary.
Seetorontonow, the Tourism Toronto Website, clearly features its girls’ weekends, offering three itineraries involving luxury, spa, food, shopping, museums and entertainment.
Source: Tourism Toronto
A girlfriends’ fishing trip – why not?
To promote hunting and fishing activities to urban women, the Association des pourvoiries de la Mauricie launched the “Trip de filles” radio campaign that ran from February 29 to March 11, 2016. Female listeners had to answer questions about wildlife to be eligible for a chance to win a package for four offered by the outfitter Le Seigneurie du Triton.
Orvis, a fishing and outdoor equipment retailer in Vermont also runs a school and organizes trips. To celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, Orvis is offering a women-only fly-fishing trip to Belize’s largest island.
Sources: Pourvoiries Mauricies
Even the sharing economy is getting in on it
A product of the sharing economy, the Website Copines de voyage posts new travel products each week, offering those interested a platform to discuss potential trips with other interested parties before even making a reservation. Once the minimum number of participants has been reached, the trip is confirmed.
In 2015, nearly two million Canadian women 18 years and up travelled in Quebec. Why not take a greater interest in offering them a range of products and services, including girlfriend getaways? Give it a try and see what happens!
Image on first page: Pixabay
Would you like to publish this article? See our publishing policy ›
-Bond, Marybeth. “Women Travel Statistics and Women Travel Trends," consulted October 24, 2016.
-Burns, Monique. "Move Over Guys, Women-Only Travel Is Growing," travelmarketreport, October 21, 2016.
-Enelow, Sarah. "Rooms for solo women," skift.com, August 17, 2016.
-Olmsted, Allison. "Women's Fly Fishing Trip To Belize With Leading Outfitter Orvis," forbes.com, July 30, 2016.
-Pierce, Susan. “Flying solo: More women are traveling alone or meeting up for girlfriend getaways," timesfreepress, May 18, 2014.
-Plotard, Christophe. "Les voyages entre femmes ne font pas d'adepte chez les TO," lechotouristique, March 7, 2014.