Whether it's being assigned the tiny room directly below the Tap Dancers' Convention or seated at a rickety table behind a dusty potted palm, most traveling businesswomen feel they are discriminated against, says travel consultant Regina Henry.
Henry, who logged 60,000 miles in business trips last year, bases her conclusion on a recent survey of more than 1,000 businesswomen conducted by Western International Hotels.
An estimated 3 million business women will spend 32 million nights "on the road" this year, and the number of women traveling for business is increasing three times faster than the number of traveling businessmen, according to the study.
The typical woman business traveler is age 38 (compared to 44 for a man) and takes 10 to 12 trips per year, each averaging seven nights.
Although traveling businesswomen express many of the same attitudes as their male counterparts, they are more concerned about security, more likely to choose a downtown hotel and less likely to rent a car.
Here are some of Henry's tips for women travelers:
Travel light, and try to take only what you can carry yourself.
Keep a travel set of cosmetics, using trial or sample sizes when available.
Base your travel wardrobe on a suit (pants, skirt and jacket) in a basic color (brown, gray, black, beige or navy).
Don't pack extra jewelry. For security reasons it's best to wear it.
Keep several dollar bills and a handful of quarters ready in a pocket or change purse for tips.
If you are driving and arrive late, tip the door attendant to park your car.
Make sure the desk clerk doesn't announce your room number to the entire lobby, or give out the number to callers.
Before the hotel attendant leaves you in your room make sure there are enough towels and hangers and see that the door locks, lights, air conditioning, heating, radio and television all work. If your room is not satisfactory, call the front desk immediately to arrange a room change.
Call the restaurant for reservation and specify your seating preference.
When you arrive make it clear to the maitre d' that you are the hostess and should receive the wine list and the check.
When eating alone in a restaurant, ask to be seated along the wall to give you a view of the room. Arriving 15 or 20 minutes before the prime dinner hour might give you a better choice of seats.
Call the desk if you have any doubts about the person at the door actually being from room service.
If a firm "no thank you" does not discourage an unwanted advance in a bar or restaurant, call the waiter.