Over the years, while covering Europe for Travel Weekly, I’ve had dinner with more hoteliers than I can count — and I can say firsthand that they’ve been some of the most interesting, well-traveled, knowledgeable people in the industry.
Almost none of them were women.
Of course, women hoteliers are out there, but not in great numbers. Not yet, anyway.
Anne Golden, former regional vice president of Morgans Hotel Group (now SBE), is overseeing the first London opening for Pan Pacific Hotels Group, set for this summer.
The Pan Pacific London, the brand’s first foray into Europe, will feature 237 rooms and will be located in the One Bishopsgate Plaza, a mixed-use development near Liverpool Street Station.
Golden will be busy. Her role as general manager includes overseeing property operations, business development, brand positioning and revenue management for the property, including all food and beverage outlets.
Also in London, Rachel Angell, formerly of the Dorchester Collection, has been tapped as COO of Domus Stay.
The short-term rental platform allows guests to stay in some of London’s poshest private homes, while offering five-star hotel services.
Maid service, in-room spa treatments and private catering are among the guest services available via dedicated Domus Stay assistants.
In Greece, Kalia Konstantinidou is gearing up to open Cosme Hotel on the island of Paros this summer.
To be located on Agioi Anargyroi beach, the 40-suite property will be the fifth hotel in the Kanava Hotels & Resorts group, owned by Konstantinidou and her husband, Antonis Eliopoulos. All five properties are located in the Cyclades islands.
Facilities will include private beach access, a pool, private pools in some suites, a restaurant, a beach club and a fitness center.
Women beyond the hotel scene
Meanwhile, women’s influence in travel is increasingly being felt beyond the hotel scene.
Zina Bencheikh, Intrepid Travel’s managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and a key driver behind the company’s Women’s Expeditions, launched Women in Travel this month with three-day tours in London, created to empower immigrant women from difficult backgrounds to embark on careers as a tour guides.
The prospective tour guides, who are from Ethiopia, Morocco and Albania, will share stories about the customs and traditions of their home countries and how those traditions are influencing London neighborhoods.
Insight Vacations is celebrating women’s achievements by helping connect female travelers with women artisans, entrepreneurs and business and community leaders on their new Wander Women series of tours created for women, by women.
A new 12-day, women-only Venice & The Croatian Coast tour, for example, set for summer 2022, will cater to the interests of female travelers and introduce guests to inspiring women in communities across Croatia.
The journey includes three new Make Travel Matter Experiences designed to uplift local women.
Celine Cousteau, environmentalist and Planet Ambassador for the TreadRight Foundation www.treadright.org/, a nonprofit created as a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation’s family of brands, will accompany the Croatia trip.
If all this “girl power” surprises you, it probably shouldn’t. We have known for years that women not only make the bulk of vacation decisions for themselves and their families, but they also dominate the travel retail industry.
The real question probably should be, what took them so long?