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multigenerational travel

It’s a Family Affair: Multigenerational Travel

October 12, 2016

More families are loading up the minivan with kids, parents, in-laws, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins (or some combination thereof) and heading off to enjoy a holiday together. Multigenerational trips or those involving at least three generations of family members, are in vogue—and there seems to be no end to the opportunities for travel brands and the companies who serve their booking needs.

Just how big is multigenerational travel?

Consumer interest in taking multigenerational trips is being driven by a range of factors. Generally speaking, baby boomers have more free time and more money to spend and Millennial parents want to vacation with their families to bring more balance into their lives. Group travel is more accessible and the process of planning and booking a trip is easier than ever, thanks to online travel tools and savvy travel agencies who serve the growing market for leisure travelers. Here are some statistics demonstrating this growth:

  • 36% of Americans planned to take a multigenerational trip in between mid-2014 and mid-2015 (AAA)
  • More than a quarter of Americans planned to travel with three generations of family members between mid-2014 and mid-2015 (AAA)

In their Luxury Travel Advisors survey, Virtuoso, an international travel agency network specializing in luxury and experiential travel, found that the top travel trend is—you guessed it—multigenerational travel. It sits on top of action/adventure trips and even travel with immediate family. Top family destinations are Italy, Mexico, South Africa, Costa Rica and Turks & Caicos, destinations that provide a little something for everyone in the family to enjoy.

Americans Go Beyond Borders for Travel explores generational preferences related to traveling abroad.

Fun for All

There’s no need to read between the lines to figure out that traveling with the extended family gives everyone the opportunity to spend quality time together, enjoy life, and presumably, split the bills. For families seeking anything and everything from down-time to high adventure, key vacation spots range from beach houses and villa rentals to city excursions and cruises. But since everyone has their own idea of fun—grandma golfs while the teenagers shop—the most popular destinations cater to many tastes and, indeed, budgets.

Serving Travelers by Generation

It’s no wonder hoteliers and cruise lines, not to mention city tourist offices, are boosting efforts to attract the multigenerational family travelers. And travel agencies have found a sweet spot with the multigenerational traveler. In fact, Preferred Hotel Group research shows that during the past year, 38% of travelers surveyed used the services of a traditional travel agent to plan a multigenerational vacation—and 41% intend to do so during the next two years. Both percentages are twice as high as the incidence of traditional travel agent usage among all other leisure travelers.


Read Four Generations of Travelers Mean Four Kinds of Travel Marketing for more.

In meeting the needs of a wide range of consumers, from Millennials to boomers, it’s important to meet their different booking and payment preferences. Designing the most effective payments mix for customers requires an understanding of a company’s particular client base—and a willingness to follow market trends, like these:

  • 91% of Millennials say a multigenerational trip is something they try to take every year (Preferred Hotel Group)
  • Grandparents, more so than parents (35% vs. 25%), are more willing to pay for multigenerational trips to “help family members enjoy a vacation they otherwise could not afford” (Preferred Hotel Group)

Anyone following the trends knows that today’s travelers are using the online channel, with or without the help of a travel agency. They might book supplier-direct or work through their travel agent’s website or OTA, depending on what they’ve done in the past or what’s been recommended by their family, friends, or via marketing. Yet, according to Travel Research: 2016 Travel Trends from AARP, baby boomers will not use travel booking websites for planning trips to the same degree that their younger counterparts will (50% versus 77% for Millennials and 74% for GenXers).

Interestingly, 40% of both grandparents and parents surveyed by Preferred Hotel Group say their children “actively participate in or influence vacation planning,” and 40% have “selected a destination based at least partially on the information, photos, or videos they viewed on social media websites.” And 25% say they have “selected a travel service supplier based on exposure to the same content.” You might enjoy How Travel Companies Are Gearing Up to Accommodate Generation Z.

Dig deeper into generational preferences in the travel industry by reading Travel Apps: Usage, Awareness, and the Generational Divide and Mobile and Millennials: 4 Ways Hospitality Brands Must Accommodate.

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