Special Room For Single Women Traveller A Requirement?

By Tenzin Phakdon

The safety of women has always been a matter of concern. The recent media attention and public outcry against crimes against women has put this issue in the spotlight and safety measures being implemented are under much scrutiny – especially working women who are in a profession that requires them to travel a lot. After women-only buses and train compartments, now hotels have also planned and implemented ‘women only floors’ or special services for single women travellers.

Today hotels vie with each other to offer the most personalised services possible and they feel that the feature is especially to make them feel secure.

The Keys Hotel has one floor dedicated to women, which has all the basic amenities for women traveller. Vivanta by Taj MG Road and Whitefield and Sheraton Bangalore also have special facilities for single women travellers. Single women travellers will receive a special welcome kit on arrival, a fruit platter on request, security features like video telephone screening, a dedicated lady concierge and housekeeping and in room dining services provided by women staff.

But do they really feel safe? Many believe that such measures are not going to prevent nefarious elements. Sharise Cunningham, a content strategist says, “To me it creates the opposite effect. Now the creeps know where to find me because I’m herded like cattle into a holding pen. I personally prefer to be mixed in among the crowd.”

The Taj hotels provide a team of female counsellors to connect with women guests on an emotional level. They also offer a woman escort for single women travellers on request and also tip them on which places are safe to visit.

According to Saurabh Bakshi, the general manager of Sheraton Bangalore, single lady travellers are a fast growing niche market with lots of potential. “We have seen a rise in the number of women business travellers in the past three years and announced the Single Lady Traveller Program to cater to the needs of this important segment,” he said.

Meeta Shrimal, a boutique owner in Noida, who travels for work often said, “I feel more safer and secure on women-only floors. Even if I make choose not to make use of the floor or the service, it makes me happy that hotels are thinking about women and our safety.”

But some are of notion that it’s a way to sequester women in disguise. It reflects the mentality of society towards women. Why should women travellers not mingle freely? How does it make the holiday a pleasant stay?
Madhuri Sen, from Delhi, said, “I don’t see any point in a “women only” floors. I travel on business often and even the thought didn’t cross my mind. If we start going that route, soon we would want women only roads, flights, apartment floors, and sections in restaurants. Don’t see the point of any of that at a time where we seek gender equality in most of the civilized world.”
While it appears that every hotel’s effort is indeed generous, but it is also adversely affecting people.

Alok Verma, from Vizag asks when is this segregation will end. “Separate floor, building, street, society, and a city? The solution lies elsewhere. Only women areas do not ensure safety,” he said.

It’s noteworthy to mention that seclusion doesn’t necessarily translate to safety. There have to be stricter laws and law-enforcement and a radical change in the mindset of people. It needs to be understood that a single woman is not begging for forced companionship, nor is she an easy target.

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