“Elders First!” as Boomers with Family in Tow Top Leisure Travel Spending
(New York, September 10, 2014) With multigenerational travel up 30% over the past year, and senior-led groups spending an average of $1,000 more per year than other travelers, the second TMS Family Travel Summit examined the opportunities and challenges of the multigenerational travel phenomenon.
Organized by TMS Family Travel and Family Travel Consulting, the Summit brought together 38 travel journalists, editors, publishers and marketers to hear the latest research, discuss travelers’ needs, and determine marketing strategies for family groups led by retiring Boomers.
Jeffrey Eslinger, Director Account Services at DK Shifflet and Associates in McLean, VA, who defined multigenerational travel as a travel party comprised of at least one traveler over age 60 with at least one traveler under age 18 who resides in a different household, said:
• Multigenerational travel parties are big, averaging 4.95 travelers (v. 2.13 travelers for the leisure segment overall).
• Multigenerational travelers are busy, participating in more active activities in almost all categories, even visiting more theme parks.
• Multigenerational travelers have higher incomes ($93,000 HHI) than other leisure travelers ($81,000 HHI) and more leisure time.
• When grandparents arrange the trip, they most often pay (65%); when children and grandchildren organize, the adult children are most likely to pay (39%), with a third of traveling parties saying they share expenses.
Speakers representing other industry segments: Linda Rutherford of Southwest Airlines, AnneMarie Mathews of Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Jon Eichelberger of the hotel metasearch engine Trivago, presented trends and insights into two-generation (56.5% of the market) and three-generation (29.6%) travel parties found within their own markets.
Steve Cohen, V.P. Research & Insights for MMGY Global, shared data on the multigenerational market culled from the 2014 “Travel Horizons” and “Portrait of American Travelers.”
• Multigenerational travelers take an average 4 trips and spend $1000+ per year more than leisure travelers.
• 70% of multigenerational travelers report children participate in travel planning; 66% say kids help decide where to travel and 50% where to stay.
• Multigenerational trips are often triggered by a special occasion, with 66% traveling to celebrate life milestones.
• The majority of multigenerational travelers visit online communities for travel advice, and more often than other leisure travelers.
Ten Insights from the TMS Family Travel attendees covering best practices and trends include:
1. Multigenerational Travelers are planning more trips and traveling more than general U. S. travelers.
2. This niche is potentially very lucrative because it involves multiple airfares, rooms, restaurant meals, and attraction tickets.
3. Today’s grandparents are far more active than their parents, and destinations must design product that recognizes this.
5. Multigenerational travelers do their homework, searching up to 22 sites before confirming plans and booking.
5. Multigenerational travelers will “seize the moment” to travel together before children are grown, regardless of the economy.
6. There is great opportunity to attract multigenerational groups with preschoolers during the traditional, off peak spring and fall seasons.
7. Children are much more influential in planning trips, say 60% of parents and 66% of grandparents.
8. There is great variance in who pays for multigenerational trips, making it hard to target the right customers.
9. There is opportunity to market to Hispanics, African Americans, and international families who often travel in multigenerational groups.
10. Despite great opportunity in promoting travel to multigenerational families, the market is not well defined or understood.
About Family Travel Consulting
Family Travel Consulting is the collaboration of Eileen Ogintz of Taking the Kids, the nationally syndicated travel column with millions of readers; and Kyle McCarthy of Family Travel Forum, the trusted vacation planning resource that’s The Wall Street Journal’s “Best for Grandparents” and a Forbes “Favorite.” FTC provides strategy, marketing, digital and social know-how to travel and family products, and hosts the TMS Family conference for media reaching the family vacation audience.
About TMS Family Travel
TMS Family Travel conferences bring you the latest in family travel trends, techniques, and technology. A division of Travel Media Showcase, the annual tourism conference hosted by Convention & Visitors Bureaus throughout the United States, TMS Family Travel events are held at family friendly destinations and feature family travel experts, products, and brands. Both are produced by Joanne Vero, President of J. Vero & Associates (JVA), a Business Development firm which she established in 1994.
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