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[August 02, 2014]
Holiday package for women without kids [Sunday Times (Islamabad)]
(Sunday Times (Islamabad) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) New York - Ms Melissa Braverman, marketing manager for the Westin New York Grand Central hotel, wanted to create a novel vacation package - a departure from the engagement and babymoon promotions that she helped dream up throughout her career, including a getaway for would-be parents known as the "procreation vacation".
"I'm kind of in a place in my life where I'm like, 'What's the opposite of a procreation vacation?'" said Ms Braverman, who has yet to meet someone with whom she would take such a trip. "Where are the travel experiences for the rest of us?" As a hotel marketer, her search for an answer was a matter of business. But it was also personal.
"As a woman who is 40 and single and who doesn't have children, it was a resonant topic to me," she said. "There's a different journey that each of us are on. Those of us who aren't following the quote-unquote traditional trajectory are made to feel 'other' despite the fact that we represent half the women of childbearing age in this country." Indeed, about 47 per cent of women 15-44 do not have children, according to census figures. And with the birth rate in the United States at record lows, some travel marketers see an opportunity.
Several recent trend reports, including one by the market research firm Euromonitor International and another by DeVries Global, a public relations agency, have identified women without children as a new, lucrative market.
Ms Braverman's belief that "the greatest ideas come from your own personal experience" has resulted in a four-day getaway package at Westin Grand Central: Womanhood Redefined.
Seemingly the first promotion from a major hotel brand in the United States directed at women without children, it includes (from US$234 or S$292 a night) a consultation about healthful eating with the hotel's executive chef, a 30-minute meeting with the hotel's running expert and a new book, Otherhood: Modern Women Finding A New Kind Of Happiness, by Melanie Notkin.
"So much of the travel industry is geared to families and to couples," said Bella DePaulo, the author of Singled Out and a project scientist in psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. "I love the idea that people in the industry are thinking about the idea that we're not all families and couples." The Westin website describes the hotel's partnership with "best-selling author Melanie Notkin - an expert on the growing group of women who don't have children - to offer an invigorating experience for guests travelling with friends or recharging on their own".
"Westin really attracts female travellers," said Ms Maureen O'Brien, director of sales and marketing for Westin New York Grand Central, mainly because the chain promotes wellness with its Heavenly brand bedsand emphasis on healthy meal options.
"We think girls' weekends are great," she said, but "a lot of them are overworked mums looking for a break".
Her hope is that many women without children who, as Notkin's research shows, are passionate about travel will opt to spend a few days in New York "exploring their own otherhood" and coming to the realisation that, "Hey, I'm not the only one".
New York Times (c) 2014 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).
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