Home » Millennial family travel market – How ready is your business to adapt?

Millennial family travel market – How ready is your business to adapt?

Gone are the days when Millennials were the child-free and carefree travellers. More and more they are entering parenthood, yet their thirst for family travel endures.

Brands can no longer assume that Millennials are fun-loving 20 somethings who embrace globalisation and New Bricolage Living. As Millennials grow older and change, so too should the travel market.

Millennials account for 25% of the US population and have amassed a spending power of more than £725 billion. According to MMGY Global’s Portrait of American Travellers, Millennial families went on 36.9 million holidays in the year to June 2017. They spent a total of £36.5 billion. As per Resonance’s Future of US Millennial Travel study, 44% of US Millennials now travel with children, a quarter being international family travel.

Family travel market

The headlines

  • Millennials are growing up. You’ll need to ensure your business plan also changes to include products which appeal to their changing lifestyle
  • Offer dynamic pricing. This offers brands a huge opportunity to differentiate their offering
  • Target solutions to topics which resonate with Millennials. This demographic is known for making decisions based on environmental factor
  • Accept that the idealistic concept of what a ‘typical family’ looks like has changed
  • As Laura Hall of Kid & Coe says, “Millennials are not just changing their destination of travel, but how they are booking these trips. Invest in technology and aim to capture the attention of these digital natives.”

How is the market growing? 

The Millennial travel market shows continued growth. According to a 2017 MMGY Global survey, Millennials are the only generation to report an increase in intended travel, spending (8%) in the year to June 2017.

Take family travel and the fact that and an increasing number of Millennials are entering parenthood; instantly the sector of family travel becomes more lucrative. According to The Millennial Parenthood Brief, as of 2017, 47% of US Millennials are now parents and, among 18–29-year-olds without children or unmarried, 70% would like to marry and 74% would like children. The MMGY study shows that 9.5 million Millennial family households in the US will spend 19% more on travel in the next 12 months, they also expect to travel 36% more than the previous year.

There are many factors driving this but the greatest is through online search. As the Portrait of American Travellers survey shows, ‘search engines, which were once just a tool of the travel planning process, now lead through to the purchase phase for Millennial travellers. Brands must offer services focused on enhancing search capabilities.

‘The main difference I see with this generation of parent-travellers is that they are digital natives,’ says Laura Hall, director of communications at Kid & Coe, a platform that matches family travellers to hosts with relevant services. ‘That means that intuitive and responsive websites, social media and technology that makes searching for family travel options easy are all critical for success.’ So much so, that Airbnb recently announced a subset of properties on its website that are geared towards families.

Family travel market

The Millennials world

The interest that Millennials have for environmental and human rights topics has been well documented. They are known for their civic standing. According to a 2017 study by Morgan Stanley, 61% of Millennials invested their time and money into one sustainable venture in the year to August 2017.

When Millennials travel with their families, they select destinations which align with their eco-conscious, experience-led preferences. Sure, they will continue to travel to the traditional family destinations, but will also seek places correspond with their own beliefs, and those for their children.

Surprisingly, Disney has tapped into this market by opening up resort Villages Nature, just outside of Paris. More than a third of the water used inside the fun park, is cleaned and reused for lakes and gardening on-site. The swimming pool is also heated all year using geothermal energy, plus they encourage guests to arrive by train or drive electric cars. However, fun rides and Micky Mouse are not the only entertainment, think eco-driven workshops including butter-making from cows on-site and chocolate-making from Madagascan cocoa beans.

Family travel market

Let us not forget single parents

Change is also under way when it comes to marriage. According to the Office for National Statistics, there are nearly 1.8 million single-parent families living in the UK, an increase of 15% between 1996 and 2016. In the face of easier divorce processes and a Post-nuclear Family mindset, brands need to consider products towards single parents from the Millennial generation.

The brand leading this charge appears to be Virgin, who promised to end price discrimination by offering prices that reflect the circumstances of single parents, rather than based on two adults sharing one room. 

Intrepid Travel declared they were offering six tailor-made tours for single parents at a more realistic price. ‘You only need to look at family holiday packages widely advertised by the travel industry to see that they cater for two parents and two children,’ says Dyan McKie, brand manager at Intrepid Travel. ‘In many ways, this assumption is archaic and doesn’t reflect today’s families.’

Recent research by Mumsnet and Saatchi & Saatchi suggests that 77% of single UK parents say companies don’t consider single parents when developing their products. A separate study by Sky News found that a single parent family could pay up to 28% more than two parents. ‘Lone parents on Mumsnet are joyful when they discover a tour company that knows how to show single-parent families a good time,’ says Rowan Davies, head of policy and campaigns at Mumsnet. And most importantly, she adds: ‘They share their recommendations far and wide.’

If you fancy reading some of my other Asia articles, click the links below:
The big business of wellness tourism
How can cities beat the over tourism epidemic?
Thawing of the Polar market
How much do consumers really care about sustainable tourism?
Emerging Youth Travel Market Trends
Budget Travel – Does it have to be a race to the bottom?

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