Family Travel: Fastest-Growing Segment of the Tourism Industry
Mon, April 19, 2021

Family Travel: Fastest-Growing Segment of the Tourism Industry

There’s nothing better for a family bonding than kicking off summer vacation with a trip. Everyone gets to enjoy the view and the experience, enjoy each other’s company, and practically just chill out and de-stress / Photo by: Vasyl Dolmatov via 123RF

 

There’s nothing better for a family bonding than kicking off summer vacation with a trip. Everyone gets to enjoy the view and the experience, enjoy each other’s company, and practically just chill out and de-stress. 

Family travel is one of the biggest segments of the tourism industry, with more than 100 million Americans planning to enjoy a family vacation during the months of summer, with 70% of families “very likely” to have a planned vacation within the year. According to Condor Ferries, an operator of passenger and freight ferry services between the United Kingdom, Bailiwick of Guernsey, Bailiwick of Jersey, and France, the number of families expected to take time together on a trip is expected to rise by almost 25% or 376 million trips annually by 2022.

 

Tourism Industry and Trends

The tourism industry is growing alongside globalization and accessibility to almost every continent, country, island, and city. This is because most places in the world have airports that allow people to make a visit. Sara Grady, head of travel and tourism for GlobalData, a data analytics and consulting company, explained, “As disposable income grows and emerging markets open their borders, we will see trends like multi-generational travel drive trips forward.” 

In 2013, there were only 32% of travelers on a family vacation. This increased to 36% in 2014, and the trend continues to grow today. Additionally, 11% of travelers take the trip with grandchildren in 2013 compared to 15% in 2014, according to a survey. GlobalData stated that the outbound family travel market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.6% from 300 million trips in 2017 to 376 million in 2022. This industry brings in large revenues for travel companies and various travel destinations. Traveling families spend in bulk and consume in bulk. Condor Ferries shared that 30% of families spend between US$2,000 to US$5,000 per holiday.

Sophisticated Demands

The family travel market is characterized by increasingly sophisticated traveler demands, specific to different age groups. Family travel statistics show that 95% of travelers prioritize entertainment and the feeling of happiness when choosing a location to travel to. They are becoming more independent in the choices they make when traveling, relying less on agencies and more on personal preference based on information available to them. Moreover, 74% of itinerary research and hotel bookings are now done online, with 25% of families booking through an agent in the last five years. Agoda, an online travel agent, shared that 7 out of 10 families go on at least two vacations a year, with Asian travelers taking more than twice as many trips as their Western peers. Globally, families are taking shorter but more frequent trips.

The family travel market is characterized by increasingly sophisticated traveler demands, specific to different age groups. Family travel statistics show that 95% of travelers prioritize entertainment and the feeling of happiness when choosing a location to travel to / Photo by: yarruta via 123RF

 

The Role of Technology and Social Media

Planning a vacation is no longer the responsibility of just the adults, according to research from Expedia Group Media Solutions, an advertising organization. More than 8 in 10 travelers around the world plan for family trips together, a collaborative activity for the whole family, including even the youngest.

Technology and digital content is the driving factor for many travelers today, with 60% of travel ideas coming from children and adults. Nearly half or 49% of families in 2019 said they’ve decided to go to a place based on photos on social media, and this percentage has grown to 10% since last year. Generation Z and millennials lead the way, with 77% and 68%, respectively, versus Generation X at 54% and baby boomers at 68%. However, 28% of travelers in 2019 merely planned a vacation based on how good their photos would look like on social media, with an increased percentage of 12% from the previous year with a higher percentage from Generation Z and millennials. While on vacation, 21% of social media users in 2019 said that they end up using it more often than the 15% from the previous year. 

More than 8 in 10 travelers around the world plan for family trips together, a collaborative activity for the whole family, including even the youngest / Photo by: deklofenak via 123RF

 

The drivers for family travel includes quality time spent with families, with 68% saying that families look forward to quality family time, 66% say they want to relax, and 46% want to try new things, according to Agoda. Vacation shaming, or when workers feel that they are shamed or made to feel guilty by co-workers for not having time to go on vacation, was another reason for the trip (48%). Workers will then take shorter vacations (28%) or fewer vacations (26%) in order to satisfy the need to travel.

The major hindrance to family travel is income. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, American consumers spend 3% of their annual household expenses on travel, 44% on transportation, 23% on food, 23% on lodging, and 10% on entertainment. Households at the top 20% income bracket spend an average of $3,718 on travel, more than twice the overall average of $415 from the lowest 20% income bracket. The survey found that overall average family spending amounts to $1,415, which is still well out of reach by more than half of those surveyed.

Going on a trip is still relatively expensive, especially if it involves the whole family. But the gains for such an experience for each member is sure worth every penny.