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How women are diversifying leadership in the vacation rental industry

Posted by Kiera Davidson on March 31, 2022 · Operators

What is bias?

A bias is formed when a disproportionate weight in favour falls for or against a particular notion, object, or individual. This inclination is often closed-minded or unreasoned, which is why in society a bias typically has negative connotations attached in relation to gender, race, religion, and sexuality. 

Did you know, everybody is naturally biased?

Even when you are trying to be fair, there are unconscious and cognitive biases at play. The negative impacts arise when these biases are then acted upon in an undesirable way.

Gender bias

The history of gender bias and the struggle women have endured is one of great significance. Yet, there is still a way to go. The pandemic has disproportionately affected women at work and at home so it’s more important than ever to refocus the traction onto gender equality and for International Women’s Day to make noise in all industries.

women looking at sign on pavement

Gender equality in travel and tourism

Everybody loves to kick back and relax, whether it be figuratively or literally. A holiday full of action or one of serenity, either way, we all want a piece of the cake. 

However, it has been found that women in fact have the highest purchasing power with around 80% of travel decisions being made by them.

So why is there gender disparity?

Although women comprise two-thirds of travellers and were predicted (pre-pandemic) to make an expected 67 million travel decisions between 2020-2021, and women also hold strong ground in the industry’s workforce, the proportion of women in high ranking positions is lacklustre. 

For example, the aviation sector. It’s one that is rapidly growing year on year; however, proportionally, this is not reflected in women piloting flights, which were only around 5.2% worldwide in a study conducted in 2019 and CEO held positions of just 3%.

solo woman travelling

Women and the vacation rental industry

How does this impact the vacation rental industry? 

The fact that only 12.4% of CEOs in the world’s top 350 B2B travel companies should be concerning. If we break that down further, according to Belvera Partners, only 8% of CEOs in travel tech are female.

In an article released by Airbnb back in 2017, they stated that ‘the Airbnb community is powered by women around the world’ with their female hosts making up around 55% of said community worldwide.  

Alongside having the highest purchasing power, women hosts have earned more than $10 billion in income on Airbnb alone. That’s just one singular OTA platform. 

The economic contributions are strong, both as travellers and through business. 

We decided to look into the high ranking positions (CEO) of the vacation rental industry’s top property management companies to see whether or not gender disparity could be seen at play. 

Of the list provided by Rentals United, 2 out of the top 10 companies in the top 50 vacation rental property managers have a woman within a high ranking position (CEO). 

Looking at FrontRunners best vacation rental software, the statistics showed the same: 2/10.

What’s interesting here is that although 2 have been identified as having women in a high ranking position (CEO), Bookerville was also co-founded alongside a man and VRscheduler has recently been acquired by a guest portal company headed by a male.

women in vacation rental

Diversifying leadership for women in vacation rentals

The vacation rental and travel tech industry can be seen as male-dominated; however, there are many women disrupting the industry and paving the way for a more inclusive sector. 

The inclusion of women in high ranking positions not only positively impacts the vacation rental sector as a whole, but can influence future generations of gender equality within the workplace.

With spending statistics of $125 billion a year, 80% of travel decisions made by women and an increase of around 230% in travel companies focusing on women-only clientele, diversifying leadership is a no-brainer. 

The vacation rental industry is a community that is working together to build upon this: the Vacation Women’s Summit is just one exponential event that is helping to do so. 

Inspirational women in the vacation rental industry

There are plenty of inspiring leaders in our industry, and throughout March we have decided to celebrate the SUPERHOG team and the wider community in celebration of International Women’s Day (March 8th 2022). 

SUPERHOG also hosted a roundtable on breaking the bias: women and the vacation rental industry. You can watch the recording here.

Check out some other amazing women in vacation rentals who are disrupting the industry and breaking the bias:

Annie Holcombe – Vice President of Business Development at Lexicon Travel, Co-host Alex & Annie The Real Women of Vacation Rentals Podcast

Elizabeth Becker – CEO of HiBnb

Fiona Campbell – Chief Executive Associations of Scotlands Self-Caterers 

Kelly Odor – Marketing Director of Bookster

Lauren Almeida – Vacation Rental Copywriter

Neely Khan – Travel & Hospitality Writer

Paola Gheis – Co-founder & Host at LUXRE The Luxury Rentals Event

Patricia Moore – Executive Director at Global Vacation Rental Association

Victoria O’Connell – CEO and Co-founder of GoLightly

Viktoria Skara – Global Marketing and Communications Manager at Minut