With increasing numbers of female business travellers, hotels are finally taking note of their needs.

All too often it's a similar scenario: a single female traveller confined to her hotel room because she finds it intimidating and uncomfortable to venture into the dining room alone. With an ever-increasing number of female business travellers, though, the hotel industry is finally taking note of their needs.

All too often it's a similar scenario: a single female traveller confined to her hotel room because she finds it intimidating and uncomfortable to venture into the dining room alone. With an ever-increasing number of female business travellers, though, the hotel industry is finally taking note of their needs.

Safety is paramount to the female traveller. A recent survey carried out by UK hotel chain Premier Lodges found that 42 per cent of businesswomen are anxious about their personal safety when travelling away from home. Four out of five said their choice of hotel would be influenced if the hotel makes customer safety a priority.

Six Continents, which owns the Inter-Continental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn chains, gives female travellers special treatment such as allocating rooms close to lifts and offering escorts to guest rooms.

Many hotels already offer discreet check-in, with unnumbered room keys, to all guests, but moves are being made to heighten awareness of the needs of women travellers.

The hotel reservations network Expotel has established the Woman Aware campaign. Hotels wanting to participate in the scheme must fulfil 10 criteria to obtain Women Aware status. These range from well-lit secure parking and security peep-holes on room doors to the more mundane facilities so often overlooked by business hotels, such as ironing boards and full-length mirrors.

Some hotels are doing even more for female customers to make them feel at home and secure. Lady's First is a women-only boutique hotel in Zurich that opened last year, aimed specifically at the female business traveller. All the staff are women and there is a wellness centre offering beauty treatments. At the Hilton in Colombo and the Novotel in Shanghai, there are women-only floors with female security staff.

The American Hotel group Wyndham International has established the "Women on their Way" initiative, inviting women business travellers to have their say about facilities and security offered at member hotels.

Also in America, lone ladies eager to escape the delights of another night of room service should check into the Ritz-Carlton, on the beautiful Marina Del Rey in Los Angeles. The hotel offers the option of joining a communal dining table in the restaurant, where solo travellers can eat and chat with each other. Being an after-dark prisoner in your hotel room may soon be a thing of the past.

Expotel 020-7328 9841, www.expotel.com; Wyndham Hotels & Resorts www.wyndham.com; Lady's First Hotel & Wellness 00 41 1 380 8010, www.ladysfirst.ch

Aoife O'Riordain

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