A Publication of WTVP

Although women make up about half (50.9 percent) of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, they make up 80 percent of all travel-related purchases. Regardless of who’s paying for the trip, women are deciding where they’re traveling and who’s accompanying them. The ever-increasing power of women in the tourism market is growing by the day.

Why is this important to Peoria-area businesses? Tourism equals dollars for our local economy, and with women becoming the key players in the game of travel, it’s time we open our eyes and ears as we attempt to make a trip to Peoria a valuable and memorable one by asking, “What do women want?”

The importance of this concept rang clear at a recent Travel Industry of America conference. Presenter Martha Barletta of The TrendSight Group explained the woman of the house makes more than 70 percent of her family’s travel decisions. Considering this is a group whose consumer spending power grows year after year, it’s important we understand how to reach and engage women through carefully orchestrated marketing approaches and an understanding of the communication differences between men and women.

Barletta explained seven useful tools for successful marketing to women that can assist in growing your business:

• Research. Women often form deep thoughts and opinions about brands, products, and destinations based on the opinions of girlfriends, family members, and others they communicate with. In forming these opinions, details matter. When considering a purchase, women want the key, important things and then some. Whether it’s service, quality, or another differentiator, they respond to the “above and beyond” factor. Even a small improvement in this area can drive big results for your business.

• Brand positioning. Marketing to women should be targeted, yet transparent. Figure out why women would be drawn to your product or service, give them what they want, and communicate in a way that resonates.

• Advertising strategy. Rather than focusing on the product itself, women relate to the value it will bring to them. Women relate to what’s real—not “ideal”; they respond to visuals involving people and strategies such as storytelling, dialogues, testimonials, and humor leading to self-recognition.

• Media planning. “Power CPM”—choose media venues where delivery to the audience is weighted by purchase ratio—more female buyers than male.

• Word of Mouth. Women often serve as a form of media, forming a significant word-of-mouth marketing multiplier. Becoming brand ambassadors for the products and services that have impressed them, they, in turn, often will sell a friend, gaining new business for you.

• Public Relations. Public relations can create a pseudo word of mouth by offering third party credibility. Women particularly respond to community relations—never hesitate to publicize the good things your organization is giving back to the community.

• Web site. Maximize the value this tool can bring. Women feel a connection to others, so “people-izing” your site can be helpful. Encourage communication through your web site, and offer links for further learning and interactivity. IBI