What women want — and don’t get — when they’re trav­el­ling

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE - Mark Evans

THERE’S a never-end­ing stream of re­ports and com­men­tary about women’s ex­pe­ri­ence in the work­place — but what about on the road?

If men re­ally are from Mars, and women from Venus, surely their travel ex­pe­ri­ences and tastes are wildly dif­fer­ent? Oddly, in fact, there’s barely any dif­fer­ence be­tween the sexes.

That’s the ver­dict of a new re­port by Cor­po­rate travel man­age­ment providers FCM Travel So­lu­tions which an­a­lysed ev­ery as­pect of travel — right down to whether we’re spa or gym bun­nies.

In most ar­eas, men and women are re­mark­ably alike in their likes and dis­likes — whether it’s ho­tel choice, pre­ferred air­lines or city trans­fers.

And they all have the same main peeves — be­ing away can be dis­rup­tive to work, and it means spend­ing time with­out loved ones.

Sur­pris­ingly, men are slightly more likely to have safety con­cerns in for­eign coun­tries, and moan more about cul­tural and food dif­fer­ences.

The one big con­cern found in the sur­vey of FCM’S cor­po­rate clients is that a mere 18pc of com­pa­nies’ travel poli­cies specif­i­cally ad­dress the safety needs of fe­male busi­ness trav­ellers. Less than half — 44pc — have ar­range­ments that al­low them to rec­om­mend fe­male-friendly lodg­ing op­tions. In this they’re miss­ing a trick, with FCM’S Jo Green­field re­veal­ing that the num­ber of fe­male trav­ellers has risen “by 50pc over the past five years and nearly two-thirds of trav­ellers to­day are women”.

How­ever, the one big stand­out is­sue re­ported by fe­male trav­ellers is the joy­less­ness of be­ing alone. Men tend to be sim­pler to please in this re­gard — and a ho­tel bar makes a big dif­fer­ence for them. Some 42pc of men re­port that they drink alone in the bar when abroad, com­pared with just 32pc of women.

And when it comes to groom­ing, men are more likely to use ho­tel irons and toi­letries, and show­ers in air­ports, which ei­ther shows that men are cleaner crea­tures or just aren’t that fussy about where they wash — and with what prod­ucts.

So do men have the edge in any area? Just one, which the re­port buries a bit — air travel. Men are more likely to use plush air­port lounges (slightly shy of a quar­ter of women never visit them, against just 18.5pc of men), and women are much more likely to fly at the back, with 13.5pc of men reg­u­larly fly­ing busi­ness class, with less than 10pc of women turn­ing left. Cue a row...

It’s nowhere near as busy as its neigh­bour to the south for Irish con­nec­tiv­ity, but op­tions are grow­ing for reg­u­lar cor­po­rate vis­i­tors to Canada.

An­nual trade be­tween the two na­tions stood at an im­pres­sive €2.75bn in 2016, with Irish ex­ports grow­ing by more than 250pc in the last five years alone. What’s more, the sign­ing of the Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic and Trade Agree­ment (CETA) be­tween the EU and Canada is tipped to boost our ex­ports by €250m a year.

Flag­ship car­rier Air Canada will be com­pet­ing with Aer Lin­gus on routes to Que­bec’s big­gest city, Mon­treal, next year. It’ll be us­ing Boe­ing 737 Max 8s (econ­omy and pre­mium econ­omy classes) when the thrice-weekly ser­vice re­sumes next May un­der the Air Canada Rouge brand ini­tially.

There’s more seat ca­pac­ity a month later with leased Air­bus A330-200s, again with two-class ser­vice, re­plac­ing the 737s, and fly­ing un­der Air Canada main­line colours.

Sep­a­rately, the air­line’s sea­sonal Dublin-van­cou­ver ser­vice (four times a week) will kick off in May with the smaller Boe­ing 767 (Air Canada Rouge), to be re­placed in June, again with larger A330-200s (Air Canada main­line). The thriv­ing Pa­cific Coast city has been eyed in the past by Aer Lin­gus, along with other des­ti­na­tions in North Amer­ica, with ex­pan­sion now an an­nual event.

Mean­while, ri­val West­jet, Canada’s sec­ond-big­gest air­line, with 105 des­ti­na­tions in all, will of­fer bet­ter con­nec­tiv­ity af­ter de­cid­ing to re­place its Dublin-st John ser­vice to New­found­land — which it said wasn’t per­form­ing to ex­pec­ta­tions — to Dublin-hal­i­fax.

The ad­van­tage of the switch is bet­ter con­nec­tiv­ity through the Nova Sco­tia air­port, par­tic­u­larly to Canada’s east­ern cities and also the east­ern US se­aboard. The move fol­lows its re­cent an­nounce­ment that it will be fly­ing di­rect three times a week from Dublin to Cal­gary, open­ing up 24 far west­ern cities, on a ser­vice op­er­ated by the Boe­ing 787 Dream­liner.

Pre­mium econ­omy on Air Canada Rouge, which will fly next sum­mer to Mon­treal and Van­cou­ver

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