Women’s rising power in travel decisions

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The German travel and tourism market is definitely attractive. Germans are and will
continue to be the world travel champions. Of the total 623 billion US$ that were
spent on international trips in 2004, 71 billion originated from Germany. This figure
represents 11.4 percent of all global tourism spending. In comparison, Germans represented
less than 1.3 percent of the world population in the same period.
However, Germans who travel are spoilt and demanding. For most, traveling
has been a completely natural part of life for decades. Traveling has become integrated
into general consumer awareness. Therefore, the label travel consumption
is by all means admissible. And inevitably, every travel service provider has to
observe tourism from the standpoint of consumer behavior. Thus, it is of utmost
importance to understand who makes which travel decisions in what manner – and
first and foremost why.

Table 1. Top 3 countries for tourism spending in international travel
IMAGE(https://hotelmule.com/hmattachments/26_201007120425131jP0F.gif)

1 Travel decisions: Who makes them?
The assets of private households in Germany amounted to 4.26 trillion Euros at the
end of 2005. In 1994 however, they merely came to 4 trillion DM. Thus, in just
eleven years, the assets of the German people have more than doubled. German
households saved 180 billion Euros in 2005 alone (Deutsche Bundesbank 2006).
Even if around three quarters of the capital has been invested in real estate property,
a large portion of the remaining quarter is still available for consumption.

1.1 Who decides how to use the household income and assets?
Several studies vary slightly, but agree for the most part. They demonstrate that, in
the USA, between 83 and 87 percent of all private consumer decisions are made
by women. In contrast, these reports state that only 13 to 17 percent of all private
consumer decisions are made by men without significant or marginal influence
from a woman. The study results baffle everyone who is addressing genderspecific
decision-making power in end consumers for the first time. The following
examples, also taken from the USA, confirm to what extent women determine
spending:
- Home furnishings 94%
- Vacations 92%
- New homes 91%
- Home improvements 80%
- Cars 60% + 30 % influencing others2
- Consumer electronics 51%
- New bank accounts 89%
- Healthcare 80% and 2/3 of all expenditures

And more: Women in the USA
- write 80% of all checks
- pay 61 % of all the bills
- hold 53% of all stocks
- influence 75 % of the finance decisions (Peters 2003)
- buy 65 % of all Volvos and 31 % of all Mercedes Benz

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In view of these statistical results, it may appear astounding that an investigationhas not yet been performed, which can provide information on the distribution ofdecision-making power in private consumer spending for Germany. In 2004, theGesellschaft für Konsumforschung Nürnberg (GfK) extracted the only existingfigure from their data stock following a special request from the article. This figurestates that 90 % of all fast moving consumer goods (FMCG)3 sold can betraced back to purchasing-decisions made by women.In other countries, the slightest spur of such data is simply missing. However in2004, the Belgian consulting firm, Fé.losophy, determined that in Belgium womenmade or at least greatly influenced 79 percent of the private purchasing-decisions.Nevertheless, even if figures exist in a range of purchasing decisions, their credibilityis quite often dubious. For example, at the German book trade association,60 % of all books are said to be purchased by women. TNS Emnid revealed thatwomen actually only purchase 4.3 books a year and men 3.7 (TNS Emnid Medienforschung2006). When this question is put to booksellers, they answer in unisonthat the gender-gap is enormous and that they sell at least 80 % of all books towomen. This example certainly does not represent a single exception. In all actuality,most businesses greatly overestimate their knowledge concerning their customers.As a result, people, whose participation in the decision-making process ismarginal at the best, are quite often addressed, while the decision-makers arefalsely addressed or, in the worse case scenario, completely ignored.1.2 The myth of the “mutual purchase decision”Whether certain purchase decisions are made predominantly by women or mendepends greatly on the type of purchase. In certain circumstances, the division oftasks can depend on complicated criteria configurations. Hence, men are oftenobliged to make purchases, which impose an extreme burden on them and theirpartners alike, since evaluating these particular products or assortment requiresspecialized and/or complex knowledge.In the business world, the image that men often make decisions alone whilewomen make important purchases only after having spoken with their partner isquite prevalent. These assumptions were reflected in various quantitative studiesusing surveys. When couples were questioned individually, men often assertedthat they make many purchase decisions alone, even if this affirmation contradictsreality. Men tend to have a warped perception when confronted with such issues,as these actions are associated with their self-perception. In addition, men oftensubconsciously suppress their partner’s actual contribution to the decision makingprocess. By the same token, when women are questioned, surveyors obtain answerswhich are just as inaccurate. In all areas of their life, women place a greatvalue on relationships and consensus (Tannen 1999). They perceive mutual decisionseven when these discussions never occur. Women often make a choice andthen look for confirmation and acceptance on a personal level. It usually has nothingto do with an objective discussion, but with presenting their reasons for theirchoice, and thereby establishing common ground and fulfilling a typical characteristicof female communication. In contrast, women do not like it when their partnerquestions their choice on an objective level and actually assess such statementsas a personal attack. Genuine discussion hardly ever takes place because, in theevent that a spouse is more knowledgeable in a certain topic, this partner may – oreven has to – make the decision.

These distortions surface only after directly comparing the statements issued bywomen and men. Afterwards, it becomes quite evident that the declarations madeby women and men overlap considerably in certain situations but exhibit a largedisparity in others (Jaffé 2005). Hence, surveys are not able to offer valid resultsfor certain questions: both male and female consumers can only give analogicalresponses for their (mis)perceptions and predictions. Thus, this attribute appears tobe the source of any misconception on the part of the decision-makers in businesses.Research methods differing from direct surveys are needed in order togauge behavior and motivation.1.3 Target group analysisThe target group “Women” is extremely attractive for the economy. Women representthe majority of the world population with 52 %. Furthermore, in most countries,they increasingly receive better education, which automatically leads to a higher income.To a certain extent, dramatic developments can be observed. Many thirdworld countries, and even some emerging markets, are targeting female employeesand encouraging women to increase their autonomy, in order to stabilize first of alltheir self-sufficiency, then society and finally even the political situation.In western countries, a shift in power has been emerging for years: men stillhave a firm grip on control in families with little education; however, they are losingauthority in families with a high level of education. The average income formen and women becomes increasingly equivalent the higher the level of education.In certain occupations and age groups, the income is already identical. Thelargest salary differences are found in the gender-specific job choices which requiretraining. However, age is also important for this assessment, since women inthe 50-plus age group often find themselves limited in their occupationalqualifications as a result of traditional or economic motives. In Germany, everyseventh woman already earns more than her partner. As such, the entire situationhas to be considered if any conclusions are to be made about the average income.For the economy, this situation means that, with more and more frequency,women with a labor-force participation rate of over 65 percent (men: 81 %)4 havelabor-force participation rate of over 65 percent (men: 81 %)4 have not only theirown income at their disposal but also that of their partner.With increasing education and new-found financial independence, the numberof single or separated women is steadily rising. In Germany, the divorce rate hasconstantly been over 50 percent since 2001. At the same time, women initiate 58percent of the separations. In only 6 percent of all cases do both parties file for divorce.Financial independence as well as a comparatively good social system onan international level ensures that women in Germany can maintain a secure existenceas well as a self-perception completely independent from a man.Nevertheless, the economy views women as a very attractive target group becausethey do not just make economic decisions for themselves, but also for theirentire social environment of family and friends. They are responsible for purchasingan extensive array of products for family members as well as birthday presentsand other gifts for friends and colleagues. For each item they buy, women considerthe interests of every person, who could be effected in anyway through therespective purchase, use or possession. They take all interests and preferences intoconsideration even if they are “just” buying something for themselves.Women are extremely loyal customers, as long as they are satisfied with aproduct. They change suppliers a lot less than men. As part of their social role,their relationship-oriented nature and their communication behavior, women oftenexchange information regarding good and bad experiences with products, services,manufacturers etc. even outside decision-making processes. Travel anecdotes andvacation experiences characterize an enthusiastic and inexhaustible repertoire.Female social behavior practically compels women to make recommendations.Therefore, if a woman is satisfied with a destination or an operator, she makessure that everyone hears about it. For businesses, this particular type of advertisingis unique and priceless. It possesses an especially high level of credibility and canonly be influenced with high quality products.

1.4 Traveling in the female perceptionIn the travel and tourism industry, vacation and business trips are usually consideredseparately. Female travelers do not conform to this division. Even thoughwomen may partially place different values on certain conveniences during abusiness trip than on vacation, especially when they are traveling with family, theyperceive the world and their life as a whole. If they are on a business trip, theydefinitely observe the conveniences that are suitable for a vacation and vice versa.Successful solutions and sensible concepts penetrate into the professional and privatelife. Thus, in view of the facts that the number of female business travelers isincreasing and that women are still those who predominately organize and bookbusinesses trips, this position should be closely examined.2 What is gender marketing?Gender marketing is the consequential view of the market from the perspective offemale and male consumers. However, if biological aspects play a larger role thansociological aspects, the term gender marketing as such is actually inaccurate. Thebiologically correct term is “sex”. “Gender” embodies a social concept which alsounites other complex constructs of sexual identity, whereas an individual’s sexualidentity and corresponding behavior can differ from their external appearance. Inthe past, gender marketing has born the aforementioned distinct biological traits,where the chromosomal appearance and the subjective sexual perception have corresponded.For many issues, sexual orientation does not play any role and is thusdisregarded. In other areas, heterosexuality is simply assumed or a differentiationto homosexuality clarified. However, using the consequentially correct term of sexmarketing would immediately create false connotations. Hence, the article usesthe term “gender marketing”.Gender marketing is not only defined by the new biologically detailed knowledge.In fact, the needs of male and female customer are stressed and must thereforereceive priority. Fundamental concepts are crucially important becausewomen in particular do not view the world in a linear manner but rather in its innatelycomplex context.Experience shows that setting up a “female department”, which is responsiblefor “female desires”, is not very promising. By definition, marketing has to takeplace throughout the whole company on every level. To be precise, implementingnew knowledge is of top priority, particularly when so many deep-rooted stereotypeshave to be broken, as is unfortunately the case for gender issues.The fact, that gazing into the “gender looking-glass” inevitably leads to completelynew insight within most industries, proves that gender marketing is not justa marketing trend. This is where gender marketing attains its particular attraction:precisely in markets with an identical or interchangeable surplus – at least fromthe consumer’s perspective, innovative products and services with a unique sellingproposition (USP) can be developed. At the same time, since the range of productsis so broad, the problems of largely fragmented markets (Jaffé 2005) as well ascomplicated decision-making environments can be avoided (Schwartz 2004). Andfurthermore, gender marketing can contribute to accurate brand positioning aswell as to better differentiation from other market participants.In the middle and long term, the growing importance for the “gender” factorwill inevitably lead to other significant changes in companies. Laws an regulationsconcerning equality of treatment and changes in market and consumer perceptionsin particular will lead to alterations in workflows as well as in organizationstructures.

The most important prerequisite for a greater appreciation of the context is representedin the following statement: “Women are not different from men; womenand men simply differ from one another.” Hence, the – often unconscious – prevailing opinion, that men are the standard and women a deviation, obviously nolonger holds water. This point of view is being replaced with the conclusion thattwo standards co-exist in harmony: the female and the male principle. Both are tobe handled with respect.3 What new aspects does “gender” contributeto marketing?In opposition to many other theses, gender marketing assumes that for the mostpart individuals make decisions unconsciously. Thus, physiological, sociologicaland psychological factors contribute to the decision-making process.3.1 Biological factorsEven a physical build can affect the way in which the person perceives experiencesor even copes with certain situations. Thus, some national and internationalstandards (DIN, EN, ISO) actually need to be put to the test immediately, in viewof the fact that they act for only one gender the majority of the time at most. Theaverage seat height for chairs and other seats (approx. 44 cm) is too high for theaverage German woman (165 cm). She can either lean against the back or let herfeet touch the ground. The only possible way of accomplishing both actions is towear high-heels or perform back-wrenching movements. Men of average height(177 cm) are spared from such hassles.Traveling can also present numerous perils, which can be easily eliminated byproperly assessing the situation. It all begins with the sensation of discriminationand harassment, which women traveling alone often experience, includes the unbearableconfinement even in the business class of some airlines, which posesmore inconvenience for men than for women, and reaches as far as banal problemssuch as how all the luggage is to be handled on route, especially when it is not locatedon a luggage cart. Wheeled suitcases are truly a wonderful invention: however,they prove almost useless for mothers traveling with at least one small child,especially when she has to cope with the all the luggage, the child (or children)and a stroller. To pull this feat off, a woman would need more than just two handsand above all great physical strength. Although a porter may be requested at trainstations if needed, women have to fend for themselves in all other situations suchas in airports and when in transit. Naturally, the same goes for fathers who travelalone; then again, they normally embark much more infrequently in public transportation.Differences present in the physical build, the development of the five senses,the brain structure as well as hormonal influences are largely unknown and aretherefore disregarded by many suppliers in the travel and tourism market, be theymanufacturers, service providers, tour operators, transportation companies or infrastructure providers. Although some things may seem quite trivial, the tradebusinesses could nonetheless provide vast support services. Maps displayed inpublic areas indicating the legendary “You are here!” label should help guests toorient themselves. However, maps cannot fulfill these requirements if they arehung in line with the cardinal points (N, W, S, E) and if the observer is a womanlooking to orient herself, when she is already in the north and has to proceed inone of the other directions. If by chance she is one of the 90 % of women whohave an average technical visual ability, then in the worst case scenario she will beunable to find her way since the map is upside down to her and since she can notmentally turn it. Most women turn city maps in their hands as they feel inclined orin the direction of travel in order to find their way. A rotatable illustration wouldbe an effective solution for all travelers and could be easily implemented in analogor even digital form at a minimal cost.

3.2 Psychological factorsAs for the psychological factors, only a few which are relevant to purchase decisionswill be discussed. In order to understand to which extent women and menassess products, point of sale (POS) and communication actions differently, becomingmore familiar with their consumer psychology is essential.Women distinguish between purchasing and shopping, whereas men distinguishbetween necessary and luxury purchases. Luxury purchases include all things thatmen find interesting and pleasurable and are often directly related to their hobby.Men and women place different importance on atmosphere, the content and quantityof information as well as services. Even the way in which women and menmove through stores and Internet shops diverges. They differ in their typical everydayactivities, in their stress sensitivity and the sources of stress. Both have distinctrequirements for their vacations, even if they use the same descriptions.In many cases, characteristic female traits can be traced back to their former rollas gatherers. In such circumstances, the evolutionary imprint in humans, which hasbeen developing over millions of years, continues to have effects. Women, previouslygatherers and currently customers, want to get a general view of the total supply.For them, it is important to constantly be able to discover new things. A rangeof products, which is too wide and unfiltered, can cause problems, because theyhave to get an accurate overview of the total supply before making a definite decision.Women feel confident that they are able to make the best decision in view ofall conceivable options and are proud to possess these skills, whether they truly havethis talent or not. Women do not consider if each decision actually needs to bemaximized, or whether or not a choice, which is adequate and associated with lowercosts, would be satisfactory (Schwartz 2004). Furthermore, during the selectionprocess performed by women, typical female traits such as the ability to communicate,value orientation, practicableness, pragmatism, sensitivity to ambiances andatmospheres, orientation to relationships with individuals, animals, plants and objectsas well as their love for beauty, to name a few examples, merge.In contrast, during necessary purchases, men proceed more strictly toward anend result, which should be accomplished through the quickest possible means.These powers for gentle strategy can be traced back to their evolutionary role ashunters. They do not want to be bothered with unnecessary things, possess considerablymore spatial-visual skills than most women, are performance oriented andcompetitive and prefer male companionship for many activities, including watchingteam sports such as football (Schwanitz 2001).Naturally, the preferences of each sex are also reflected in their travel plans.Women quench their desire to continually discover new things on city tours. Theybelieve spas can alleviate their stress. Whatever the case may be, an Ayurveda trip toBali will most definitely satisfy their aesthetic-visual needs. Conversely, men wantto invest time in their hobbies, intellectual interests or an active sport, pursue thedolce farniente or even embark on an adventure. In addition, inherent human natureis blossoming, as revealed in an actual travel trend: singles’ trips are booming. Singles,both male and female, dream of meeting their partner for life on a trip.

If a family wants to go on a trip, money is not the only decisive factor for determiningthe destination and length of stay; in fact, the woman in particular playsa large role, considering as many interests of the family members as possible. Sheoften puts her own interest last.3.3 Decision-makingIn order to develop tourism products, the knowledge of preferences and the deepseatedand usually unconscious motives as well as an understanding on how menand women purchase or book trips is needed.Generally, the male process for purchase-decisions proves to be quite clear5.For a man to be able to make such a decision, he first compiles a list with all theessential characteristics and requirements, at least in his mind. He then begins tolook according to these criteria catalogs. As soon as he comes across the firstproduct that fulfils all of his criteria, he calls off his search and initiates the paymentprocess.In the same way, women begin with a criteria catalog; however, for the sameproblem, this list is usually quite a bit longer than a man’s from the outset. If sheis making decisions not only for herself, but also for example for a trip for two oreven for the whole family, her criteria catalog obviously also contains all of thenecessary requirements for all travelers, according to her personal perspective.Once her list has been compiled with all of the essential requirements, she beginssearching. Products and services are examined one by one. However, a womanwould never call off her search with the first promising product, which fulfils hercriteria. In fact, she prefers to assemble a general view of the total supply. Duringthis process sequence, the gatherer constantly encounters new and interestingcriteria, which she immediately adds to her criteria catalog if suitable. Thus, somethingcompletely fatal occurs: she progressively learns and increases her expectations.Every newly found feature compels her to once again verify if her previouschoices comply with all of the desired criteria. If in the end no product remains,which fulfils all the requirements, she will most likely look elsewhere. Only as alast resort will she discard some criteria. On the other hand, if a lot of options arestill available, which she can not differentiate or prioritize, she will decide accordingto the price. Therefore, the female purchase decision is an iterative process.3.4 The extended marketing mixThe classical marketing mix consists of product, price, promotion and place. Gendermarketing broaden the marketing mix with the dimensions- Market research: developing new methods- Service: providing new or complementary services to support women andmen in their different lifestyles and everyday life- Relationship management: building genuine relationships with female customersincluding employee training in various communication styles- Company policy and ethics: the holistic female perception leads to an assessmentof “company behavior”, as also demonstrated in financial investments;women invest preferably in companies they know and value andwhose products they possibly use.Gender marketing provides two different approaches, thus also two product categories,for classical product development. The first category contains productswhich were developed for men or women. The second includes products, whichactually work for women and men, however were developed with completely differentmethods than in the past. Products from the second category fulfill theneeds of women and thus are more efficient for men than all other products. Productdevelopment within the second category takes the female decision-makingprocess with its comprehensive and optimal criteria catalog (see above) into consideration.

And it even offers men useful features, which they would never haveconsidered themselves. The second approach is not suitable for every productarea, however can be used more often than commonly believed. It possesses anextremely large potential for innovation.On the whole, the same principles apply to the development of tourism offers.Thus, products optimized for the feminine or masculine needs can be generated.On the other hand, trips and additional services, which combine the needs of bothpartners, are also conceivable. It is of utmost importance to consult the female criteriacatalog, which incorporates the needs of the fellow travelers and quite oftenalso of those remaining at home.3.5 The distinctive gender roles for the tourism industryThe extent to which gender is already impacting the travel and tourism industry ispresent everywhere. Thus, spa trends that were once formed by women have nowbecome a standard feature in all of the higher hotel categories. In contrast, men areinstigators and fans of unusual or even extreme sports. In order to pursue these activities,special environmental conditions are often required; hence, participatingin these sports automatically entails traveling. Thus, the fact that a large number ofmen feel drawn to participate at least once in their lifetime in an adventure excursion,a sailing voyage around the world or even a survival training program is notastonishing in the least (Focus Medialine 2005)6.A topic which is still not receiving just attention is women at advanced age whotravel alone. Demographic development shows that, within a few years, the socalledaging society will be confronted with a wealthy and elderly social class,which will not consist of couples but of widows.3.6 The current tourism offer from the perspective of femaledecision-makersFrom the consumer perspective, tourism products are for the most part interchangeableat least in the volume market. Numerous products only offer very fewdifferentiating characteristics. Arbitrariness and anonymity reign almost everywhereand the traveler, with or without companionship, can quickly become partof this arbitrariness. Traveling is often exhausting; thus, on personal vacations atleast, the desire for relaxation is omnipresent.Due to the vastness of the supply, the selection process itself is quite difficult.Many travel agencies are often no longer able to offer genuine assistance. In addition,Internet travel shops are hardly ever optimized for consumer needs. Therefore,personal recommendations between friends and family are all that remains.This advice is especially valuable because the people making the recommendationsare familiar and thus predictable.Two interesting niche providers undoubtedly stand out from the common products.They demonstrate how a product assortment with indisputable added valuecan emerge: for over 20 years, the Berlin travel provider “FRAUEN UNTERWEGS– FRAUEN REISEN7” has been creating completely unique trips with everythinga female spirit could desire, except maybe male companionship. In contrast,“Babyreise8” specializes in travelers with babies and small children. The company,established in 2005, provides parents with a planning and travel preparationservice. The staff knows exactly what is required: The selected hotels have cribs,an assured supply of diapers and all other necessities that parents and childrencould ever require. Parents are thus spared a middle removal, which otherwise accompaniesevery trip with small children. In return, the hotels guarantee that theparents also receive relaxation and time for one another.

Many large and small niches, special interests and tendencies are waiting to bediscovered and harvested. These initiatives are the only ways for tour operators,and even travel agencies, product developers and other travel service providers, toattain a real competitive edge and win the favor of their customers – and sustainthis success.4 ChecklistsTwo checklists should help to develop a product assortment according to the characteristicsof gender marketing. The first checklist deals with questions regardinginformation and data collection to start with. The second provides tips andthought-provoking issues for the development process. These checklists are predominantlyadapted to the needs of female travelers for two reasons: On one hand,in the USA and also through conjecture in Europe, the principal decision-makersfor vacations are women. On the other hand, the female catalog of requirements is,as previously mentioned, more detailed and comprehensive and even takes the desiresof possible fellow travelers into consideration.4.1 Market and consumer researchTravel developers and providers can clarify the feminine thought process beforebeginning a project by answering the following questions:- What do we actually know about our female and male customers?- What do we not yet know that could nevertheless be important?- Which method should we use to find out what we want to know, avoidingfalsification?- How do women think? What do they expect from us?- How can we earn their trust?- How can we reduce their stress?- How can we develop a genuine relationship with them?- How are we going to develop a respectful in-house atmosphere?- How can we improve her life?4.2 Questions during the planning and development process- Does our product range consider the needs of- couples- families- singles / individuals of various ages traveling alone- single parents- etc.?- The end of all copycats: Do we offer enough benefits and USP?- Can we provide more USP or value added services?- Does our product line consider status factors for all income levels?- Gaining attention: What are we doing better than the others?- Do we listen to our female and male customers? (Or have we delegated thistask to a call center or another third party?)- Are we so close to our female customers that we always obtain input for ourmarket research?- Do we seriously contemplate the different age-groups and their needs?- Do we offer more that our competitors? If so, are we being compensated?- Are our female customers so enthusiastic that they remain loyal and evenprovide us with some advertising by talking about us?- Have we adapted our distribution channel and our communication to the decision-making women?- Do we really respect our female customers? If so, is our respect also so obviousthat they can perceive it?

In view of these statistical results, it may appear astounding that an investigationhas not yet been performed, which can provide information on the distribution ofdecision-making power in private consumer spending for Germany. In 2004, theGesellschaft für Konsumforschung Nürnberg (GfK) extracted the only existingfigure from their data stock following a special request from the article. This figurestates that 90 % of all fast moving consumer goods (FMCG)3 sold can betraced back to purchasing-decisions made by women.In other countries, the slightest spur of such data is simply missing. However in2004, the Belgian consulting firm, Fé.losophy, determined that in Belgium womenmade or at least greatly influenced 79 percent of the private purchasing-decisions.Nevertheless, even if figures exist in a range of purchasing decisions, their credibilityis quite often dubious. For example, at the German book trade association,60 % of all books are said to be purchased by women. TNS Emnid revealed thatwomen actually only purchase 4.3 books a year and men 3.7 (TNS Emnid Medienforschung2006). When this question is put to booksellers, they answer in unisonthat the gender-gap is enormous and that they sell at least 80 % of all books towomen. This example certainly does not represent a single exception. In all actuality,most businesses greatly overestimate their knowledge concerning their customers.As a result, people, whose participation in the decision-making process ismarginal at the best, are quite often addressed, while the decision-makers arefalsely addressed or, in the worse case scenario, completely ignored.1.2 The myth of the “mutual purchase decision”Whether certain purchase decisions are made predominantly by women or mendepends greatly on the type of purchase. In certain circumstances, the division oftasks can depend on complicated criteria configurations. Hence, men are oftenobliged to make purchases, which impose an extreme burden on them and theirpartners alike, since evaluating these particular products or assortment requiresspecialized and/or complex knowledge.In the business world, the image that men often make decisions alone whilewomen make important purchases only after having spoken with their partner isquite prevalent. These assumptions were reflected in various quantitative studiesusing surveys. When couples were questioned individually, men often assertedthat they make many purchase decisions alone, even if this affirmation contradictsreality. Men tend to have a warped perception when confronted with such issues,as these actions are associated with their self-perception. In addition, men oftensubconsciously suppress their partner’s actual contribution to the decision makingprocess. By the same token, when women are questioned, surveyors obtain answerswhich are just as inaccurate. In all areas of their life, women place a greatvalue on relationships and consensus (Tannen 1999). They perceive mutual decisionseven when these discussions never occur. Women often make a choice andthen look for confirmation and acceptance on a personal level. It usually has nothingto do with an objective discussion, but with presenting their reasons for theirchoice, and thereby establishing common ground and fulfilling a typical characteristicof female communication. In contrast, women do not like it when their partnerquestions their choice on an objective level and actually assess such statementsas a personal attack. Genuine discussion hardly ever takes place because, in theevent that a spouse is more knowledgeable in a certain topic, this partner may – oreven has to – make the decision.

These distortions surface only after directly comparing the statements issued bywomen and men. Afterwards, it becomes quite evident that the declarations madeby women and men overlap considerably in certain situations but exhibit a largedisparity in others (Jaffé 2005). Hence, surveys are not able to offer valid resultsfor certain questions: both male and female consumers can only give analogicalresponses for their (mis)perceptions and predictions. Thus, this attribute appears tobe the source of any misconception on the part of the decision-makers in businesses.Research methods differing from direct surveys are needed in order togauge behavior and motivation.1.3 Target group analysisThe target group “Women” is extremely attractive for the economy. Women representthe majority of the world population with 52 %. Furthermore, in most countries,they increasingly receive better education, which automatically leads to a higher income.To a certain extent, dramatic developments can be observed. Many thirdworld countries, and even some emerging markets, are targeting female employeesand encouraging women to increase their autonomy, in order to stabilize first of alltheir self-sufficiency, then society and finally even the political situation.In western countries, a shift in power has been emerging for years: men stillhave a firm grip on control in families with little education; however, they are losingauthority in families with a high level of education. The average income formen and women becomes increasingly equivalent the higher the level of education.In certain occupations and age groups, the income is already identical. Thelargest salary differences are found in the gender-specific job choices which requiretraining. However, age is also important for this assessment, since women inthe 50-plus age group often find themselves limited in their occupationalqualifications as a result of traditional or economic motives. In Germany, everyseventh woman already earns more than her partner. As such, the entire situationhas to be considered if any conclusions are to be made about the average income.For the economy, this situation means that, with more and more frequency,women with a labor-force participation rate of over 65 percent (men: 81 %)4 havelabor-force participation rate of over 65 percent (men: 81 %)4 have not only theirown income at their disposal but also that of their partner.With increasing education and new-found financial independence, the numberof single or separated women is steadily rising. In Germany, the divorce rate hasconstantly been over 50 percent since 2001. At the same time, women initiate 58percent of the separations. In only 6 percent of all cases do both parties file for divorce.Financial independence as well as a comparatively good social system onan international level ensures that women in Germany can maintain a secure existenceas well as a self-perception completely independent from a man.Nevertheless, the economy views women as a very attractive target group becausethey do not just make economic decisions for themselves, but also for theirentire social environment of family and friends. They are responsible for purchasingan extensive array of products for family members as well as birthday presentsand other gifts for friends and colleagues. For each item they buy, women considerthe interests of every person, who could be effected in anyway through therespective purchase, use or possession. They take all interests and preferences intoconsideration even if they are “just” buying something for themselves.Women are extremely loyal customers, as long as they are satisfied with aproduct. They change suppliers a lot less than men. As part of their social role,their relationship-oriented nature and their communication behavior, women oftenexchange information regarding good and bad experiences with products, services,manufacturers etc. even outside decision-making processes. Travel anecdotes andvacation experiences characterize an enthusiastic and inexhaustible repertoire.Female social behavior practically compels women to make recommendations.Therefore, if a woman is satisfied with a destination or an operator, she makessure that everyone hears about it. For businesses, this particular type of advertisingis unique and priceless. It possesses an especially high level of credibility and canonly be influenced with high quality products.

1.4 Traveling in the female perceptionIn the travel and tourism industry, vacation and business trips are usually consideredseparately. Female travelers do not conform to this division. Even thoughwomen may partially place different values on certain conveniences during abusiness trip than on vacation, especially when they are traveling with family, theyperceive the world and their life as a whole. If they are on a business trip, theydefinitely observe the conveniences that are suitable for a vacation and vice versa.Successful solutions and sensible concepts penetrate into the professional and privatelife. Thus, in view of the facts that the number of female business travelers isincreasing and that women are still those who predominately organize and bookbusinesses trips, this position should be closely examined.2 What is gender marketing?Gender marketing is the consequential view of the market from the perspective offemale and male consumers. However, if biological aspects play a larger role thansociological aspects, the term gender marketing as such is actually inaccurate. Thebiologically correct term is “sex”. “Gender” embodies a social concept which alsounites other complex constructs of sexual identity, whereas an individual’s sexualidentity and corresponding behavior can differ from their external appearance. Inthe past, gender marketing has born the aforementioned distinct biological traits,where the chromosomal appearance and the subjective sexual perception have corresponded.For many issues, sexual orientation does not play any role and is thusdisregarded. In other areas, heterosexuality is simply assumed or a differentiationto homosexuality clarified. However, using the consequentially correct term of sexmarketing would immediately create false connotations. Hence, the article usesthe term “gender marketing”.Gender marketing is not only defined by the new biologically detailed knowledge.In fact, the needs of male and female customer are stressed and must thereforereceive priority. Fundamental concepts are crucially important becausewomen in particular do not view the world in a linear manner but rather in its innatelycomplex context.Experience shows that setting up a “female department”, which is responsiblefor “female desires”, is not very promising. By definition, marketing has to takeplace throughout the whole company on every level. To be precise, implementingnew knowledge is of top priority, particularly when so many deep-rooted stereotypeshave to be broken, as is unfortunately the case for gender issues.The fact, that gazing into the “gender looking-glass” inevitably leads to completelynew insight within most industries, proves that gender marketing is not justa marketing trend. This is where gender marketing attains its particular attraction:precisely in markets with an identical or interchangeable surplus – at least fromthe consumer’s perspective, innovative products and services with a unique sellingproposition (USP) can be developed. At the same time, since the range of productsis so broad, the problems of largely fragmented markets (Jaffé 2005) as well ascomplicated decision-making environments can be avoided (Schwartz 2004). Andfurthermore, gender marketing can contribute to accurate brand positioning aswell as to better differentiation from other market participants.In the middle and long term, the growing importance for the “gender” factorwill inevitably lead to other significant changes in companies. Laws an regulationsconcerning equality of treatment and changes in market and consumer perceptionsin particular will lead to alterations in workflows as well as in organizationstructures.

The most important prerequisite for a greater appreciation of the context is representedin the following statement: “Women are not different from men; womenand men simply differ from one another.” Hence, the – often unconscious – prevailing opinion, that men are the standard and women a deviation, obviously nolonger holds water. This point of view is being replaced with the conclusion thattwo standards co-exist in harmony: the female and the male principle. Both are tobe handled with respect.3 What new aspects does “gender” contributeto marketing?In opposition to many other theses, gender marketing assumes that for the mostpart individuals make decisions unconsciously. Thus, physiological, sociologicaland psychological factors contribute to the decision-making process.3.1 Biological factorsEven a physical build can affect the way in which the person perceives experiencesor even copes with certain situations. Thus, some national and internationalstandards (DIN, EN, ISO) actually need to be put to the test immediately, in viewof the fact that they act for only one gender the majority of the time at most. Theaverage seat height for chairs and other seats (approx. 44 cm) is too high for theaverage German woman (165 cm). She can either lean against the back or let herfeet touch the ground. The only possible way of accomplishing both actions is towear high-heels or perform back-wrenching movements. Men of average height(177 cm) are spared from such hassles.Traveling can also present numerous perils, which can be easily eliminated byproperly assessing the situation. It all begins with the sensation of discriminationand harassment, which women traveling alone often experience, includes the unbearableconfinement even in the business class of some airlines, which posesmore inconvenience for men than for women, and reaches as far as banal problemssuch as how all the luggage is to be handled on route, especially when it is not locatedon a luggage cart. Wheeled suitcases are truly a wonderful invention: however,they prove almost useless for mothers traveling with at least one small child,especially when she has to cope with the all the luggage, the child (or children)and a stroller. To pull this feat off, a woman would need more than just two handsand above all great physical strength. Although a porter may be requested at trainstations if needed, women have to fend for themselves in all other situations suchas in airports and when in transit. Naturally, the same goes for fathers who travelalone; then again, they normally embark much more infrequently in public transportation.Differences present in the physical build, the development of the five senses,the brain structure as well as hormonal influences are largely unknown and aretherefore disregarded by many suppliers in the travel and tourism market, be theymanufacturers, service providers, tour operators, transportation companies or infrastructure providers. Although some things may seem quite trivial, the tradebusinesses could nonetheless provide vast support services. Maps displayed inpublic areas indicating the legendary “You are here!” label should help guests toorient themselves. However, maps cannot fulfill these requirements if they arehung in line with the cardinal points (N, W, S, E) and if the observer is a womanlooking to orient herself, when she is already in the north and has to proceed inone of the other directions. If by chance she is one of the 90 % of women whohave an average technical visual ability, then in the worst case scenario she will beunable to find her way since the map is upside down to her and since she can notmentally turn it. Most women turn city maps in their hands as they feel inclined orin the direction of travel in order to find their way. A rotatable illustration wouldbe an effective solution for all travelers and could be easily implemented in analogor even digital form at a minimal cost.

3.2 Psychological factorsAs for the psychological factors, only a few which are relevant to purchase decisionswill be discussed. In order to understand to which extent women and menassess products, point of sale (POS) and communication actions differently, becomingmore familiar with their consumer psychology is essential.Women distinguish between purchasing and shopping, whereas men distinguishbetween necessary and luxury purchases. Luxury purchases include all things thatmen find interesting and pleasurable and are often directly related to their hobby.Men and women place different importance on atmosphere, the content and quantityof information as well as services. Even the way in which women and menmove through stores and Internet shops diverges. They differ in their typical everydayactivities, in their stress sensitivity and the sources of stress. Both have distinctrequirements for their vacations, even if they use the same descriptions.In many cases, characteristic female traits can be traced back to their former rollas gatherers. In such circumstances, the evolutionary imprint in humans, which hasbeen developing over millions of years, continues to have effects. Women, previouslygatherers and currently customers, want to get a general view of the total supply.For them, it is important to constantly be able to discover new things. A rangeof products, which is too wide and unfiltered, can cause problems, because theyhave to get an accurate overview of the total supply before making a definite decision.Women feel confident that they are able to make the best decision in view ofall conceivable options and are proud to possess these skills, whether they truly havethis talent or not. Women do not consider if each decision actually needs to bemaximized, or whether or not a choice, which is adequate and associated with lowercosts, would be satisfactory (Schwartz 2004). Furthermore, during the selectionprocess performed by women, typical female traits such as the ability to communicate,value orientation, practicableness, pragmatism, sensitivity to ambiances andatmospheres, orientation to relationships with individuals, animals, plants and objectsas well as their love for beauty, to name a few examples, merge.In contrast, during necessary purchases, men proceed more strictly toward anend result, which should be accomplished through the quickest possible means.These powers for gentle strategy can be traced back to their evolutionary role ashunters. They do not want to be bothered with unnecessary things, possess considerablymore spatial-visual skills than most women, are performance oriented andcompetitive and prefer male companionship for many activities, including watchingteam sports such as football (Schwanitz 2001).Naturally, the preferences of each sex are also reflected in their travel plans.Women quench their desire to continually discover new things on city tours. Theybelieve spas can alleviate their stress. Whatever the case may be, an Ayurveda trip toBali will most definitely satisfy their aesthetic-visual needs. Conversely, men wantto invest time in their hobbies, intellectual interests or an active sport, pursue thedolce farniente or even embark on an adventure. In addition, inherent human natureis blossoming, as revealed in an actual travel trend: singles’ trips are booming. Singles,both male and female, dream of meeting their partner for life on a trip.

If a family wants to go on a trip, money is not the only decisive factor for determiningthe destination and length of stay; in fact, the woman in particular playsa large role, considering as many interests of the family members as possible. Sheoften puts her own interest last.3.3 Decision-makingIn order to develop tourism products, the knowledge of preferences and the deepseatedand usually unconscious motives as well as an understanding on how menand women purchase or book trips is needed.Generally, the male process for purchase-decisions proves to be quite clear5.For a man to be able to make such a decision, he first compiles a list with all theessential characteristics and requirements, at least in his mind. He then begins tolook according to these criteria catalogs. As soon as he comes across the firstproduct that fulfils all of his criteria, he calls off his search and initiates the paymentprocess.In the same way, women begin with a criteria catalog; however, for the sameproblem, this list is usually quite a bit longer than a man’s from the outset. If sheis making decisions not only for herself, but also for example for a trip for two oreven for the whole family, her criteria catalog obviously also contains all of thenecessary requirements for all travelers, according to her personal perspective.Once her list has been compiled with all of the essential requirements, she beginssearching. Products and services are examined one by one. However, a womanwould never call off her search with the first promising product, which fulfils hercriteria. In fact, she prefers to assemble a general view of the total supply. Duringthis process sequence, the gatherer constantly encounters new and interestingcriteria, which she immediately adds to her criteria catalog if suitable. Thus, somethingcompletely fatal occurs: she progressively learns and increases her expectations.Every newly found feature compels her to once again verify if her previouschoices comply with all of the desired criteria. If in the end no product remains,which fulfils all the requirements, she will most likely look elsewhere. Only as alast resort will she discard some criteria. On the other hand, if a lot of options arestill available, which she can not differentiate or prioritize, she will decide accordingto the price. Therefore, the female purchase decision is an iterative process.3.4 The extended marketing mixThe classical marketing mix consists of product, price, promotion and place. Gendermarketing broaden the marketing mix with the dimensions- Market research: developing new methods- Service: providing new or complementary services to support women andmen in their different lifestyles and everyday life- Relationship management: building genuine relationships with female customersincluding employee training in various communication styles- Company policy and ethics: the holistic female perception leads to an assessmentof “company behavior”, as also demonstrated in financial investments;women invest preferably in companies they know and value andwhose products they possibly use.Gender marketing provides two different approaches, thus also two product categories,for classical product development. The first category contains productswhich were developed for men or women. The second includes products, whichactually work for women and men, however were developed with completely differentmethods than in the past. Products from the second category fulfill theneeds of women and thus are more efficient for men than all other products. Productdevelopment within the second category takes the female decision-makingprocess with its comprehensive and optimal criteria catalog (see above) into consideration.

And it even offers men useful features, which they would never haveconsidered themselves. The second approach is not suitable for every productarea, however can be used more often than commonly believed. It possesses anextremely large potential for innovation.On the whole, the same principles apply to the development of tourism offers.Thus, products optimized for the feminine or masculine needs can be generated.On the other hand, trips and additional services, which combine the needs of bothpartners, are also conceivable. It is of utmost importance to consult the female criteriacatalog, which incorporates the needs of the fellow travelers and quite oftenalso of those remaining at home.3.5 The distinctive gender roles for the tourism industryThe extent to which gender is already impacting the travel and tourism industry ispresent everywhere. Thus, spa trends that were once formed by women have nowbecome a standard feature in all of the higher hotel categories. In contrast, men areinstigators and fans of unusual or even extreme sports. In order to pursue these activities,special environmental conditions are often required; hence, participatingin these sports automatically entails traveling. Thus, the fact that a large number ofmen feel drawn to participate at least once in their lifetime in an adventure excursion,a sailing voyage around the world or even a survival training program is notastonishing in the least (Focus Medialine 2005)6.A topic which is still not receiving just attention is women at advanced age whotravel alone. Demographic development shows that, within a few years, the socalledaging society will be confronted with a wealthy and elderly social class,which will not consist of couples but of widows.3.6 The current tourism offer from the perspective of femaledecision-makersFrom the consumer perspective, tourism products are for the most part interchangeableat least in the volume market. Numerous products only offer very fewdifferentiating characteristics. Arbitrariness and anonymity reign almost everywhereand the traveler, with or without companionship, can quickly become partof this arbitrariness. Traveling is often exhausting; thus, on personal vacations atleast, the desire for relaxation is omnipresent.Due to the vastness of the supply, the selection process itself is quite difficult.Many travel agencies are often no longer able to offer genuine assistance. In addition,Internet travel shops are hardly ever optimized for consumer needs. Therefore,personal recommendations between friends and family are all that remains.This advice is especially valuable because the people making the recommendationsare familiar and thus predictable.Two interesting niche providers undoubtedly stand out from the common products.They demonstrate how a product assortment with indisputable added valuecan emerge: for over 20 years, the Berlin travel provider “FRAUEN UNTERWEGS– FRAUEN REISEN7” has been creating completely unique trips with everythinga female spirit could desire, except maybe male companionship. In contrast,“Babyreise8” specializes in travelers with babies and small children. The company,established in 2005, provides parents with a planning and travel preparationservice. The staff knows exactly what is required: The selected hotels have cribs,an assured supply of diapers and all other necessities that parents and childrencould ever require. Parents are thus spared a middle removal, which otherwise accompaniesevery trip with small children. In return, the hotels guarantee that theparents also receive relaxation and time for one another.

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