Approximately 40% of US leisure travelers (nearly 21 million people) took a multi-generational trip in the previous 12 months. Family travel is on the upswing and now is the time to capture your piece of the pie.
Geographically, families live farther away from each other than at any time in history and millions of post-50 year olds are trading in briefcases for roller bags. With time, health and disposable income on their hands, they are traveling and taking both their kids and grandkids along for the ride. How about trips that focus on exploring family roots? Multi-generational trips create bonds that money can’t buy!
While the majority of family travel is destination travel (cruises, amusement parks, beaches, mountains, cruises, Safari’s, or big cities), your suburban hotel might benefit as well. Travelers also are looking for new and different destinations that capitalize on shopping, interesting local attractions or great food. To determine whether your destination is attractive enough for this type of travel, evaluate all the activities and determine what age groups might be interested. It is important to have something for all ages because even if families travel together – they are not going to be together 24-7. For example, does your city have a great zoo or nature exhibit? Do you have a winery or brewery that offers tours? What about hiking, biking, or walking trails that feature different levels of expertise? What about distinctive restaurants or shopping?
Multi-generational travelers are planning milestone vacations around life events, birthday and anniversary trips, family reunions and trips pre- or post- family weddings. Some activities that are important when planning your packages and offerings are: family style dinners, multiple room packaging, local event, and diverse reunion activities. Setting up “family websites” (direct links) to reservation pages, where groups can put their agendas, activities, or other information in for their group to see is also very important.
Today’s seniors are living longer, healthier and more mobile lives and are eager to make up for lost time, long distances away from beloved grandchildren. The rewards of traveling together as a family include,
- Kids getting more attention than usual and a chance to enjoy relatives in less formal setting than a holiday gathering
- Parents get respite from 24/7 childrearing (letting auntie, granny, or cousin entertain the kids for a while) and might generate some husband/wife private time
- Grandparents get more time with kids and grandkids than a single meal period
But as with anything, with families traveling together there are challenges that need to be overcome:
- Oftentimes members of the family bring more “baggage” on trips than a matching set of Samsonite
- Unity in picking a destination
- A too crowded guest list… the more is not the merrier so “second cousin Fred”, and “great-aunt Mildred” might not be great additions to the group
- Limit the sight-seeing – leave time for just relaxing!
- Entering into the adventure with the right mindset – take a break from the drama and respect each other!
I hope this information might get your creative juices flowing and that you open up another market opportunity to find new business!