TMS Family Travel Summit Reveals Changing Needs of Changing Family Travelers
Media Alert: New York, NY (May 15, 2013) – Demand for family-friendly vacation destinations, multigenerational accommodations and transportation is booming, said representatives of the travel and tourism industry at the first TMS Family Travel Summit. In an era when the “married-couple-biological-children” family represents less than half of all American families, however, key media and the travel trade acknowledge that a lot has changed and they have to change with it.
Organized by TMS Family Travel, the Family Travel Forum and www.takingthekids.com and presented in a “Think Tank” format at the Hilton Orlando Resort, the summit offered presentations on the latest travel trends research and how to better meet the needs of the 21st century family travelers. Participants included a select group of travel writers, bloggers and marketing executives from the travel and tourism providers and destinations.
“It’s nice to see both sides of the table share the same concerns,” observed Laura Parquette, from Vail Resorts. This was about “The Greater Good,” noted Krista Parry, from Powdr Resorts.
According to new research from MMGY Global reported by Peter Yesawich, the vast majority of family travelers want time to relax and unwind. They want to see new places (80 per cent) and they want to go somewhere that’s easy to get to (75 per cent.) But once they get there, supervised kids clubs aren’t important. In fact, Yesawich reported, many more family travelers are concerned about WiFi (78 per cent) than kids clubs (50 per cent.)
The 35 attendees from around the country – themselves industry influencers who generated 54 million-plus impressions on Twitter by sharing insight with their followers — identified key issues that face family travelers:
–The need for more family-centric properties where rooms comfortably sleep more than four—or there are discounts for a second room. (32% of grandparents led multigenerational trips in 2012.)
–The need for healthier, affordable kids’ meals. (Disney Parks alone served 625,000 special request kids meals in 2012.)
–The need for activities to satisfy every age group, now that so many multigenerational families are traveling together. (Grandparents.com says readers spend $77 billion each year on travel).
–The need to empower less affluent families to vacation by helping them find places where they can vacation within their means. (American families average a shorter length of stay –2.73 nights – but still travel says DKShifflet.)
–The need to make it easier and less confusing for families to plan, book and be assured that their needs for connecting rooms and adjacent plane seats will be honored.
–The need to facilitate memorable moments for families – such as providing photo ops or acknowledging guest birthdays as an inexpensive way for the industry to ensure repeat customers, was a recurring theme.
Media attendees noted that some of those moments—a birthday cake surprise in the morning on a cruise ship; a note left on a child’s bed welcoming him to a hotel, a lost “lovey” returned from a Disney cruise ship with a note from Mickey thanking the youngster for “lending” it to him—were what ratchet up the experience and make family vacations so memorable.
“Personalization is priceless,” said Amie O’Shaughnessy of www.ciaobambino.com
For more results from the TMS Family Travel Summit, please visit the following blogs:
Away is Home
Kyle McCarthy, Editor of Family Travel Forum , firstname.lastname@example.org
Eileen Ogintz, Creator of TakingtheKids, email@example.com
Joanne Vero, Producer, Travel Media Showcase , firstname.lastname@example.org
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