Barefoot Technologies Blog- Vacation Rental Industry News

Four things to think about when marketing to women

Posted by Adam Zippin on Apr 13, 2011 7:55:00 AM

In the last issue of CRM Magazine there was an article called “ The Feminine Marketing Mystique.” The purpose of the article was to demystify the purchasing behavior of women. Why is it important to understand the purchasing behavior of women?


According to the CRM Magazine, women make 85% of household purchases/decisions, and they also claim most companies and organizations do not know how to market to women. That is a huge revenue opportunity being lost. This is good information to know, but how does this translate into the travel industry? According to a study conducted by Vibrant Nation, Baby Boomer women love to travel and they can afford to travel. The statistics from the survey showed that 79% book their vacations for the year by mid-January, 42% spend over $2,500 per person on every vacation. 80%(!) of the women surveyed made their own travel decisions, including 63% who are married. We will say it one more time: If you know how to market to women, then you can make money, and lots of it.


“All the research says that women are not happy with the vast majority of marketing and advertising aimed at them,” says Holly Buchanan, coauthor of The Soccer mom Myth – Today’s Female Consumer: Who She Really Is, Why She Really Buys. According to, 59% of women feel misunderstood by food marketers; 66% feel misunderstood by health care marketers; 74% feel misunderstood by automotive marketers; and 84% feel misunderstood by investment marketers. also said that 91% of women said they don’t think advertisers understand them.

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What can you do to try to gear your marketing efforts more towards women, and make the women feel understood by you? We will provide you with four tips, and explain each one a little more in-depth. The four tips we will cover are:

  • Don’t Generalize

  • Consider Aesthetics

  • Peer Opinions Weigh Heavily

  • Understand Your Audience


Don’t Generalize – The biggest mistake you can make is to say: “all women think like this, all women want this.” Unfortunately, a lot of marketing geared towards women are based on a few assumptions, such as: women between 25 and 45 are mothers, women 60+ are fragile and doesn’t like activity, and young women are all for activities. Also, when companies think ‘woman’ they also immediately think ‘mom’. Assuming that a mother would instantly identify with a depiction of a woman and children speaks to a simplistic outlook. A woman, whether she has children or not, may not want to be studied or accessed strictly through a maternal lens. It becomes stereotypical, and doesn’t leave any room for a woman to identify in her own complexity.


Consider Aesthetics – The assumption that women care more about aesthetics and design of a product is absolutely true; a study by BlogHer and Create with Context, titled Women, the Web, and Their Wallets,” found that 93% of participants wanted technology products to be beautiful. However, 63% of those women also said that the beauty of the product didn’t override the product benefits. How does this matter to you, a property manager? Maybe it doesn’t but: It has also been proven that website layout matters to women. Women tend to like open space and informal language (to sound more conversational), bright colors, and curves instead of harsh lines. Now, that is important to you as a property manager to know since a lot of bookings nowadays come through online booking engines.


Peer Opinions Weigh Heavily – Women tend to have a “longer checklist” of important factors when shopping, which explains why websites with a healthy selection of reviews do better than website without them among women shoppers. For the vacation rental manager it may be worth thinking about incorporating FlipKey reviews on your properties onto your website. Remember: “Men tend to put more stock in experts… women want to hear from other women like them.”

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Understand Your Audience – As basic as this may sound, a lot of organizations forget this crucial advice when marketing in general, and especially when marketing towards women. Women, just like anyone else, typically don’t like being stereotyped, and this ties back to the first tip we discussed. You can’t just take a commercial, throw a mom and kids in it, and say “Now, it’s going to appeal to women.”


At Barefoot we read the CRM Magazine cover to cover because it deals with everything CRM related, and CRM is a huge component of our property management software system. The CRM Magazine is a free subscription, and we recommend everyone to sign up. You can find the subscription form on their website.