NINETY-ONE per cent of respondents say that they try to take a multigenerational trip every year, it has emerged in a new survey conducted by Preferred Hotel Group in the US. Children are calling the shots these days and grandparents are increasingly funding the cost of the trips.
“While the growth of multigenerational travel has been a buzz in the hospitality industry for several years, shifts in the economy, new technology, and even contemporary parenting have had a measurable impact on how multigenerational travel is packaged, planned, taken and paid for,” says Lindsey Ueberroth, president and chief executive officer of Preferred Hotel Group, a global collection of independent hotels and resorts.
The study confirmed a continued desire to “spend more time with family on vacation” – a trend that first emerged as a primary motivation for leisure travel in the aftermath of the tragic events of 9/11. According to the study, this motivation is now amplified by the frenetic pace of contemporary life and corresponding sense of guilt many parents feel about not having enough time to spend with their children.
As a result, travellers who have taken a multigenerational trip previously are “likely” or “very likely” to plan another domestic (86 per cent) or international (48 per cent) multigenerational vacation during the next two years.
Among the key findings:
• Traditional travel agents make it work — Multigenerational travellers use the services of traditional travel agents much more often than other leisure travellers. During the past year, 38 per cent used the services of a traditional travel agent to plan a multigenerational vacation, and 41 per cent intend to do so during the next two years – both percentages are twice as high as the incidence of traditional travel agent usage observed among all other leisure travellers.
• Children relish planning – 40 per cent of both grandparents and parents say their children “actively participate in or influence vacation planning,” specifically with respect to daily activities (77 per cent) and deciding which destinations to visit (62 per cent). Almost half (49 per cent) of all multigenerational travellers agree their grandchildren influence the selection of the hotel or resort.
• Grandparents pay to play – grandparents, more so than parents (35 per cent as opposed to 25 per cent), are inclined to pay for multigenerational trips to “help family members enjoy a vacation they otherwise could not afford.”
• Facebook matters – Facebook is the most popular social site for multigenerational travellers, with 73 per cent acknowledging they have a page posted on this site. And posts in social media exert more influence than ever on this segment’s decision-making, with 40 per cent saying they have “selected a destination based at least partially on the information, photos or videos they viewed on social media websites” and 25 per cent agreeing they have “selected a travel service supplier based on exposure to the same content.”
• Same time next year – Among travellers who took a multigenerational vacation last year, 77 per cent agreed that taking such a vacation “is something they try to do every year” – a sentiment that is particularly true for Millennials (91 per cent) and Gen Xers (80 per cent).
As the number of grandparents continues to increase — this demographic segment is growing at twice the overall population growth rate — multigenerational travel will also continue to grow in size and influence. According to the US Census, there will be 80 million grandparents by 2020, accounting for nearly one-in-three adults. In addition, these grandparents are widely expected to work longer, have higher incomes, and spend more on discretionary products and services than their predecessors.
This demographic shift is reflected in the composition of active US travellers. Specifically, the number of American travellers who have reached the life stage of “grandparent” (25 per cent) has also risen to the highest level recorded in contemporary travel marketing research. Within this demographic group, 35 per cent took at least one vacation with their grandchildren during the previous year (41 per cent for affluent grandparents living in households with an annual income over $250,000).
Across its worldwide portfolio of independent luxury hotels, Preferred Hotel Group has 283 hotels and resorts that are Preferred Family Certified. Ranging from oceanfront resorts to hotels in close proximity to theme parks to iconic hotels across Europe, Africa and Asia, the properties offer amenities, facilities, programmes, entertainment and services specifically tailored to multigenerational travellers.
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