Are gender oriented hotels a feasible opportunity?

MONTCALM Hotel London

For the past five years, more and more luxury hotels worldwide have been introducing services exclusively dedicated to women guests. The most common product is an entire hotel floor which is dedicated exclusively to women. Apart from female employees, other special features range from a different design, custom bathrooms (make up mirror, nail file, special dryers and irons), fashion magazines and special amenities. GRAND HOTEL Oslo, JUMEIRAH EMIRATES TOWERS Dubai, LOTTE Seoul, PREMIER New York, ROSEWOOD CORNICHE Jeddah.

There is also a newer trend where the rooms dedicated to women customers are not offered on a particular floor but rather throughout the hotel. It is the case of the luxury MONTCALM hotel in central London inaugurated last year. The rooms dedicated to women are featured as a separate category and can be booked accordingly.

But just how feasible are thesehotels with rooms dedicated to women? While in the Middle East such a hotel product would respond to the needs of women most commonly discriminated against men and in many societies living separately, such a hotel would have a different motivation for creating women rooms. Apart from the amenities, these rooms could provide single travelling women with a higher security feeling, especially if rooms are located on a particular floor. Do these hotels answer to a real need of women travelling alone ? No research has been carried out in these respect and the hotels rarely provide selective occupancy figures for these women dedicated floors.

The gender oriented trend has also been applied for hotels dedicated to gay travellers. The first premium chain of hotels is Spanish owned AXEL. The first location was opened more than 6 years ago in the cosmopolitan city of Barcelona. The second location was opened in Buenos Aires (Argentina), while the third and latest was inagurated earlier this year in Berlin. The AXEL Hotels have successfully managed to create a consistent and coherent product, based on contemporary sleek design. The bathroom amenities are geared towards gay travellers and TV’s feature mostly gay programming. The concept of the AXEL Hotels is very much centered around the events which are organized regularly at the hotel bar and swimming pool. Most of the staff are gay and particular attention has also been paid to the food and drinks menus of each hotel, with dishes and drinks particularly preferred by gay customers. The success of the hotels is not only reflected in the expansion but also in the international awareness the AXEL has built among gay consumers.

It remains to be seen whether more hotels are willing to develop such products.The most important aspect is to create products in keeping with the needs of consumers. Hotels which are entirely dedicated to one gender would seem to be more successful, yet developing niche products within the main offering could also be financially rewarding.

Oliver Petcu