It is the year 2018 and unfortunately I have to write such an article to educate hotels on how to treat a solo woman traveler. More and more women are traveling. Be it on leisure or backpacking or business travel, the need for women to be out there has increased. We talk almost every other day about women safety, women feeling comfortable, women empowerment and in so many ways we try to spread awareness only to be in vain. Every time some topic comes up on women and their equal rights, at least one man in the audience would blurt out something stupid like 'why should women be given special preference?' Because the world is not yet ready to accept women doing things like that of men. And so the world needs to be constantly reminded that 'hey women are just human beings, they do not bite you. Just treat the way you would otherwise treat a man, another fellow human being." A simple example being, a man traveling to a different city for business / travel and checking into a hotel as the only guy is never looked down. How many of you and especially how many families are okay to let the woman of their house go book a room for herself and stay alone for the night? Even Urban India is still not happy and acceptable with this subject. At least the hotels should make this transition easy and be more open and inviting to women travelers. Am going to share an incident that happened very recently just to show how a small misunderstanding could lead to an embarrassing moment. As many of you know, I did a central India trip hopping national parks and my last stop was to fly out of Nagpur. I usually prefer AirBnBs for its budget friendly and you are in the comfort of a family. But when I do not have much option I look for hotels which have good reviews and book good ones, even if it pinches my pocket. The sheer reason being, hoping that at least these hotels might have staff trained to expect women travelers. The hotel I chose in Nagpur was of three star and close to the airport. My flight was in the evening at 4pm and I had the whole of morning to kill. With this running in mind, I made arrangements to visit Umred Karhandla for an early morning wildlife safari and it is a two hour drive from Nagpur. When I arrived at the hotel it was late night about 9pm and I informed the staff about the next day's plan and negotiated for a late checkout of 2pm. This to avoid any confusion, I clearly mentioned that I will leave early in the morning around 3:30 to Umred and might return only by 12pm or so. However, morning around 4am when I was about to leave the premises as my cab had arrived, the person at the reception stopped me. On short exchange of dialogue I realized his worry was that whether I was leaving the room and hotel without a proper check out! Slightly taken aback but still felt that they might have had bad experiences that he thought safe to check, I explained again that am going to Umred, will be back late and the staff who was there the previous night had agreed to give me a late check-out. He went on to check the room number details and came back with, "Room number X is a single occupancy under name MR.Chittra. Did you join? Who are you?". I totally lost it at this point. I moved off saying, "Am a Miss and not Mister, correct your records". But the very question and mentality of the staff looking at me as probably the woman who joined a guy in his room at night and leaving the premises early in the morning, got on to my head big time! That is certainly not a way to question a guest of the hotel. [caption id="attachment_2442" align="aligncenter" width="960"] when even a good looking hotel turn into bad experience[/caption] This is not a one off incident. There was this hotel in Amritsar which again was a good business hotel and at night 11pm when I had already changed into my nightwear and all set to sleep, the staff comes knocking at my door cos they had a complaint to repair the TV. The complaint was not even from my room! The hotel in Bhuj where they thought okay to ring at night 11:30pm to get some bills signed because they are closing their accounts and need some signature. The hotel manager who thought it is okay to constantly send messages to my personal mobile number! With such people around I sometimes wonder, is it even safe to handover copy of my ID card and write down my address while checking in. There are three issues to be addressed here;
- The Hotel Staffs have behavioral and hospitality issues irrespective of the gender of the guest.
- Hotels are not equipped and not open enough to accept women travelers, that they do not know the right thing to do to make their guests comfortable.
- The mentality of Indian men that single woman are easy.