"Girlfriend getaway" as a contested term: Discourse analysis

Liza Berdychevsky, Heather J. Gibson, Heather L. Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


All-female leisure travel is a fast growing tourism market segment that is frequently called "girlfriend getaways." This study explored the meanings associated with the "girlfriend getaway" term, using discourse analysis to understand the ways women build significance, activities, identities, relationships, politics, connections, and sign systems and knowledge with respect to it. Eleven focus groups and 15 individual interviews were conducted with 83 American and Canadian women. The analysis revealed that "girlfriend getaway" is a term with contested and polysemous meanings. While some women found it to be adequate, accurate, cute, and reflective of their all-female tourist experiences, others described it as stereotypical, narrow/claustrophobic, "pink," inadequate, and unreflective of their experiences. At times, the same symbolic meanings attracted some women but alienated others. Thus, tourism marketers need to identify and engage with different strands within their female clientele to ensure that their strategies appropriately respond to various preferences and lifestyles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-122
Number of pages17
JournalTourism Management
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Discourse analysis
  • Gender
  • Girlfriend getaways
  • Imagery
  • Stereotypes
  • Tourism advertising

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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