The American family travel marketplace has evolved from simple and cheap to sophisticated and demanding of better technology, service, food and child-care, according to Eileen Ogintz and Kyle McCarthy from Family Travel Consulting.
“From the yearning for curated experiences to small ship cruising, locavore cuisine and better technological tools, families – who used to be synonymous with cheap — are close behind luxury travelers in their demands,” Ogintz and McCarthy note in their just-published “12 Family Travel Trends and Predictions for 2014″.
“In many ways we trained them, by putting luxury products on sale during a recession and inundating kids with the travel-styles of the rich and famous.”
Among the trends and predictions:
— Childcare Has Gone from Fun to Function; “We predict resorts will have to drop their fees for functional childcare programs – or use them as a value-add — to stay competitive.”
— Food Obsessions Skew Younger, with Kids Demanding Healthy & Interesting Dining Options; “We predict that family travelers will pay more to avoid unhealthy, mediocre food given a choice.”
— Families Demand Technology to Simplify Travel Planning; “We predict busy families will bypass clunky old travel websites to seek out the latest in responsive, time-saving planning and booking tools online.”
— No One Wants an Unplugged Vacation Anymore; “We predict families – with every family member using a different device — will demand fast, cheap connectivity and try digital detoxification on their own terms.”
— Multigenerational Travel Will Get Bigger and More Demanding; “We predict that destinations which work now to exceed multigenerational expectations, can lead this huge new market.”
McCarthy and Ogintz say the reason the travel industry is paying increasing attention to the family travel market is simple – “There are many more of them than any other segment and as the definition of family expands, their numbers keep on growing.”
Family Travel Consulting, www.familytravelforum.com