The Manly Man’s Hotel?

A few weeks ago, I caught up with one of my old friends, Pam. One of the things we have in common is a fascination with gender norms, so we’ve been trading articles on the subject. One precis we read together was about research coming out of the Kellogg School of Management: Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche. Research by David Gal, Assistant Professor of Marketing, and PhD student James Wilkie looked at the pervasiveness of gender associations of everyday items, such as foods and household fixtures.  Their findings showed how men tended to choose the more masculine objects, whereas women didn’t evidence a preference either way.

What’s masculine or feminine?  Well, in western cultures, objects with angles are perceived as more masculine and rounded objects as more feminine.  Foods with sophisticated-sounding names are “feminine.”  Foods with “chunks” instead of “bits” are more masculine.  “Diet” in a name is feminine.  Hence, Coca-Cola created Coke Zero as a zero-calorie drink with a masculine identity.

This stuff is true!  On a flight last week, the guy next to me twice stopped himself from ordering a “Diet…” and requested Coke Zero.

So what’s the implication for us in the hotel industry?  Perhaps hotels that expect a greater number of male guests should sport logos and graphics with lots of angularity.  And no queen beds – only kings and full extra-longs!

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