Attractive air fares and improved low-cost access to short- and medium-haul destinations have fuelled a growing trend of weekend getaways for Asian women travelling either solo or with friends.
Inbound agents and hoteliers in Malaysia who have spotted this trend are adapting their programmes and services to cater to this growing segment of travellers.
Raaj Navaratnaa, general manager at New Asia Holiday Tours & Travel in Johor, has observed small groups of women travellers from the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia heading to Johor and Melaka, especially over the weekends.
Noting that Malaysia’s affordability and variety of offerings were strong magnets, Raaj said dining, shopping and beauty treatments were often the groups’ main activities.
“They come for a relaxing holiday and they wish to be pampered. They don’t mind paying higher rates for hotels that are close to major shopping malls, or for boutique hotels,” he added.
As safety is a priority for women travellers, Klaus Sennik, general manager, Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Melaka, said online reviews pertaining to hotels’ reputation and security features were big purchase influencers.
To reassure women travellers, Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Melaka allocates special parking lots near elevators for female drivers driving to the property. Female guests are also accommodated in rooms that are close to the lifts for their convenience and security.
“By next year, we hope to allocate a women-only floor. The number of women-only floors may be expanded as demand grows. We see this growing trend both domestically as well as from Asian markets such as Japan, China, India, and regional markets,” Sennik said.
Arokia Das Anthony, director, Luxury Tours Malaysia, which specialises in India inbound, shared that his female clients are allocated female tour guides and given loaded SIM cards so that they are contactable at all times. And when it comes to accommodation, the company ensures female clients travelling in groups are placed on the same floor, and if possible in connecting rooms or rooms near each other.
Seamless travel procedures are also enforced by Uzaidi Udanis, managing director of Eyes Holidays. All-women private groups from China are always given documentation from the company, hotel vouchers and itinerary to help them pass smoothly through Malaysian customs and immigration.
Uzaidi goes a step farther by creating itineraries that appeal to his Chinese female clientele. As many women from China enjoy square dancing, the company has created four-day/three-night packages that feature traditional dance classes led by local dancers, sight-seeing tours as well as shopping.
Open sea swimming in the Straits of Melaka are also popular with women from swimming associations based in China. He said: “Many from the inner parts of China say swimming in the sea is a dream for them.”
Since interactions with locals sharing the same passion are desired, Eyes Holidays offers private swim events for Chinese female travellers.
Over at The Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa, female guests are keen on organic farming and eco-walks organised by the property to showcase onsite green practices.
Looking to charm female travellers, Sennik said cocktails go at special rates during Ladies’ Night every Wednesday, and plans are being made to roll out more F&B offers and to provide special female-friendly amenities in the guestrooms.