In the first edition of the TripAdvisor India Business Travel Survey some of the most interesting findings revealed that 50% women compared to 20% men acknowledged creating business trips that were not required, simply to experience another city. Also, 54% women said they ‘often’ extend a business trip to make time for a personal holiday/leisure break as opposed to only 9% men.
Executive Traveller spoke to some women about their business travel preferences, and not very surprisingly, it turns out that girls do want to have fun!
When it comes to letting their hair down, no one can do it better than women. Away from home, it not only means a break from the chores that define regular life for them, it also means experiencing freedom in a whole new way. Women look at this opportunity to satiate their wanderlust and give in to their otherwise subdued spirit of adventure.
According to UK based entrepreneur, Julia Haydon women love to explore new places when travelling, “Yes I feel women have more fun travelling for work. Not only do you form new friendships with the people you meet for business, but understanding or being introduced to different cultures and their thinking behind professional and personal decisions is invaluable. And lets not forget what you take away from exploring and the fun that comes with that.”
Christine F Jamal, VP, Corporate, Tata Coffee Ltd, agreed. For her, travelling is like oxygen to the brain. “Yes, I do believe that women have more fun travelling for work because we are used to multi-tasking. We love to balance our work life with a few lighter moments. The joys of life are truly experienced when there is such a balance. It also helps one to work better as our minds need the oxygen which is provided with all of these varied experiences. On my several trips to Coorg where I go on work I have the privilege of staying at our Plantation Trails Heritage Bungalows. I enjoy the ambience of the Plantations. Food and service are true Plantation style. They truly add to the experience.”
With a love for new sounds, sights and experiences, most women said that they indeed did outdo the men as far as wanderlust is concerned. Pooja Gangulay, a Kolkata-based entrepreneur believes that women are more adventurous than men. “I might sound a little sexist when I say this, but in my experience, men just shuttle between the boardroom, the bar and the hotel room. When you go to a new place, I personally want to enjoy the city and find some time for myself even if it is not enough to savour the city. A walk from the bar and back does not quite cut it for me,” she said.
Though business trips are always hectic and busy, the lure of exploring a new place cannot be left behind. Pune-based entrepreneur, Ipsita Biswas Ali said, “If I am travelling abroad and if it is a place I haven’t seen or gotten enough of, I am willing to extend my stay there by a day or two. But I generally don’t do that if I am travelling within India.” She added, “Whether men have more fun or women do, is something I cannot comment on because it completely depends on the individual, but as far as I am concerned, I am genuinely fond of travelling and I try to make most of it. Of course there are times when I can’t afford to explore because of the hectic schedule, but most of the times, I do try to know more about the place I am visiting,” she concludes.
Though exploring a new place comes with its fair share of fears, with recent technology “If you’re a person who doesn’t have a fear of exploring or getting lost, which lets face it now-a-days is very unlikely due to technology we carry around in our bags and pockets, this can be really great fun. I love walking or cycling around new places, allowing my mood to take me where I fancy, turning right down some side street that looks interesting and left in some delightful courtyard of architecture. It’s great to stumble upon little hidden gems. I also find taking a train or overground metro a fun and amazing way to see the sites of a city – provided not during rush hour!” concludes Julia.
Work Hard, Play Harder
Though travelling for work is not just about having fun, our women believe that incorporating some fun in their hectic schedules is no biggie. From trying new cuisines to hitting local haunts and seeing sights, they want a nice fat slice of life to spice up their business trip. Even on the busiest of trips, they find a way or even two to make the most of it.
“I love eating and trying out new cuisines and exploring new places,” said Rita Chaudhury, Corporate Housekeeper, Sarovar Hotels Pvt Ltd. “Though it is quite difficult to take some time out of a work trip due to packed schedule however, once in a while whenever I get a chance I try to shop in the city,” she adds.
For Punitha Edwankar, Assistant PR and Loyalty Manager, Cathay Pacific it is not just a break from a regular workday, it is also a great adventure. “In a new city or a country, you get to observe different lifestyles, taste different cuisines, experience a completely different way of life,” she says. For her, the most fun thing to do while travelling is “Trying to learn more about that city or country. Interact with the locals; take the opportunity to visit the city if time is on your side and most importantly try out different kinds of food.”
Ameera Shah, MD and CEO, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd, explains, “Intuitively, I feel men enjoy more on business travel as most women prefer to be closer to their home, children and family. I can see a reason behind the startling findings of the study. Women in general juggle multiple responsibilities in life, be it excelling in their professional lives or being the perfect wife, the perfect mother or the perfect home maker. With such colossal responsibilities and high expectations riding on them, perhaps being away on a business travel becomes a way to focus on themselves. Hence a business travel could be almost an escape mechanism for them.”