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This Year’s Important Family Travel Trends

Family Travel Is Important to Your Business

Are you a hotel operator or in an allied business? In that case, there’s a good chance that family travel is important to your bottom line. The family trip generates $160 billion in revenue every year.

That’s the good news. There is some bad, however. The bad news is that the number of parents intending to travel with kids has dropped for three years in a row.

Family travel trends

Such being the case, you want to stay on top of family travel trends. It will help you continue attracting your fair share of that business. Fortunately, there’s a reliable source of information we can draw on.

For the past five years, the Family Travel Association (FTA) and the NYU School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality have put together a Family Travel Survey. The 2019 survey drew responses for 1580 parents and 1168 grandparents. As a result, it identified five travel trends. Let’s take a look at those.

People Are Less Inclined to Plan for Family Travel

We already alluded to this one, but here are the details. In the 2015 survey, 93 percent of parents said they expected to take a family trip in the future. That percentage started to drop in 2017, however. In the 2019 survey, only 70 percent of parents indicated they expected to take a family vacation in the course of the next few years.

People Worry that Family Travel Isn’t Affordable

The survey indicated that on average, family travel costs $3835 with a median amount of $2435. For many families, that’s not an insignificant sum, and thus it’s no surprise that 82 percent of parents said cost was the main reason they might forgo a family trip. Cost was also an important reason why parents with vacation days to take didn’t use more of them for family travel.

The Increase in Multi-Generational and Skip-Generational Travel

Happily, the news isn’t all bleak. Multi-generational travel and skip-generational travel are both on the rise. In case you’re not familiar with them, let’s define these two terms.

Multi-generational travel is a family trip in which grandparents, parents, and children take a family trip together. In skip-generational travel, grandparents and children travel without the parents.

Multi-generational trips are less common than skip-generational ones, but the families tend to take longer trips and accordingly spend more. 53 percent of parents said they’ve already taken a multi-generational trip and 55 percent are giving serious consideration to taking such a trip in the future. The parents and grandparents generally plan that type of family vacation together, and it’s common for them to share the cost.

Other Differences Between Multi-Generational and Skip-Generational Travel

20 percent of participants in multi-generational trips use online booking tools as opposed to 33 percent of those planning skip-generational travel. 16 percent of parent responders have used a travel agent in the past three years; only 8 percent of grandparents have used one to plan and book a skip-generational trip over the same time period.

Only 65 percent of parents value amenities for children during family travel, but 72% of grandparents value them on skip-generational trips. Grandparents are also more likely (42 percent as opposed 21 percent) to place a strong emphasis of keeping kids safe and entertained. In contrast, parents are inclined to think of family travel as an occasion for the family to enjoy “family time” and reconnect. This leads to vacations as places like mountain lakes or beach resorts in facilities with kitchens for meal preparation.

The greater participation of grandparents in family trips is likely due to the fact that they’re living longer and maintaining their health and vitality into retirement. For parents, travel involving the grandparents provides a respite from the responsibilities of childcare.

Asian-Americans Spend More on a Family Trip

Asian-American families tend to spend more on family travel and are more likely to increase their spending in the future. This is a finding that applies to both domestic and international travel.

Facebook is the Preferred Social Media Platform for Both Parents and Grandparents

79 percent of parents use Facebook, 60 percent use Instagram, and 52 percent use Pinterest. Only 9 percent don’t use any social media at all. 78 percent of grandparents use Facebook, 42 percent use Instagram, and 32 percent use Pinterest. 17 percent of grandparents aren’t active on any social media.

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