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On their Own Trip – Women only Travel Clubs: New horizons in the Travel & Tourism Industry

Posted on: 21 December '10

You want to take a vacation or break, and have been searching for the right company? You are single by choice and not necessarily by status. Often times, long weekends have been spent moping about a good, rejuvenating break but the ability to execute this idea has been challenging.

Women are known to multitask. But culturally and historically, the Indian women have been sheltered, more homebound and family centric. She plays many roles – homemaker, mother, employee, manager, entrepreneur and a host of others. It is not surprising then that she needs to get away from the routine, drudgery of life, and constantly plans vacations with family and friends. However, ever so often these plans fall flat or seem challenging to execute due to commitments and a dependency on like-minded company.

Gone are the days where these remain as plans. Today, women have several options in the space of ‘women only travel’. A host of ‘women travel networks and clubs’ have emerged. These cater to a variety of specialized, customized holidays. Small or large groups of women regardless of age, stage, color or creed can choose to travel to historical locations, adventure spots, wellness or spa tours, exotic locales around the globe. From a weekend getaway to an extended vacation is all on offer. Some examples of trips are The Hornbill Festival in Nagaland, the Valley of Flowers in Uttarkhand(Northern India), trekking and adventure trips in Ladakh, the exotic land of the Turkey or Cambodia, yoga retreats in the Dominican Republic and every conceivable tour and trip type is within reach today. An African safari or wine trail in Chile seemed distant once upon a time but it no longer remains a distant dream. With the wide variety of tours, the discerning woman traveler has come a long way. Disposable income and awareness through a variety of media channels have been a strong influence.

The tours are professionally planned, organized, managed and executed by women. Depending on the destination, itineraries are customized. Everything from the mode of transportation, hotels, off beat activities and even recommendations for shopping is taken care of. Some tour packages include the services of highly specialized tour guides to navigate the group in and around the destination, as well as provide insights in to the history and culture of the destination. These travel companies have a large and robust network of service providers executing their trips like clockwork. Customization is extended to both, leisure as well as corporate clients. Furthermore, all the women travel clubs have an online presence. Albeit, these travel clubs are small, and usually owned and managed on sole proprietorship basis, it is interesting to note that some of these travel companies have even adopted nifty social media tools in travel technology for their web sites, and savvy marketing tools to reach out to a wider audience. For instance, Womenonclouds.com, Travellingsisterhood.com, Gypsyfeet and Girlsonthego.com have embraced Facebook, Twitter, and blogging to advertise their trips, create fan pages and update all their customers of forthcoming trips. The feedback mechanism is instant, aims to create the direct connect with the audience, and helps in surveys for future destinations. Other clubs like serendipitytraveler.com have provision for simple and secure online reservations via payment gateways. The airlines are not far behind. Jetairways rewards their women frequent flyers special discounts on customized trips via fancy email marketing mailers. Currently, the adoption of travel technology is restricted to websites, e-mailers and social media tools. However, as this segment witnesses growth, the possibilities of leveraging other sophisticated technology enablers are endless.

An interesting, and by far the most important aspect of the women’s travel club is the experience. Travelers need not be classified based on leisure, business, and adventure. It is the trip that is classified. Being part of a focused all woman group has multiple benefits. It not only empowers the individual, helps broaden horizons, provides for collective world cultural pollination and an outcome of this experience is a boost in the individual’s confidence. This platform for women to meet, network and have fun has resulted in a kind of sorority or even sisterhood.

The doors have opened, limits been pushed and conventions be damned. Watch out for the Indian woman traveler who has the resources, knowledge, and a network via a system through which she can express, experience and fulfill her need to travel and play explorer. The travel and tourism industry welcomes the new, refreshing winds of change to satiate the women in wanderlust. It is important for every woman to reward herself and reach out for a unique experience. Feel like a woman on clouds or a go- go girl.

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  • Priya B

    Yeah, this trend is fast catching up in the Pune-Mumbai region. I remember contacting an organisation named WOW (women on wanderlust). Its run by a highly enterprising young lady named Sumitra.I was interested to send my mom on one of these backpacking tours. Great initiative!!

  • Mukund Toro

    Interesting. The services industry is amazing. Has endless possibilities.
    Women are definitely breaking out of the conventional mould. I know of a women only book club too, thanks to my homemaker wife.

  • Geetha Chandar

    Thank you. This is interesting.

    And here’s an excerpt from a relevant article which has been featured in today’s issue of Life.

    http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/life/2010/12/31/stories/2010123150030100.htm

    “With a band of women – Going by the rising numbers joining WoW (Women on Wanderlust) trips, women-only groups is a niche that is gaining in strength. From ten trips with an average group size of ten women in 2005, Sumitra Senapathy’s WoW has started taking 30 groups with average size of 50 women each. In 2011, she expects to take it up to 40 trips. Among the exciting packages that women travellers can look forward to from WoW is the highest train journey in the world – from Beijing to Lhasa. With women-only groups a growing trend, even mainstream travel companies are beginning to cater to this segment. “In 2010, we took a group of 16 women to Kerala and see the trend picking up,” says Sabina Chopra, co-founder and EVP Operations, Yatra. Sumitra also points out how women from Coorg, Mysore, Nashik and Jalandhar are taking WoW packages now.”

    Happy New Year!

    Regards,

    Geetha

    • Meeta

      Thank you Geeta for your comment, and sharing the article.

  • Roisin Furlong

    Well said Geetha.

    Perhaps our paths will cross somewhere en route .

    Happy Holidays!

    Roisin