Several recent studies have analyzed this trend in travel. Reports, from both IHG and Preferred Hotels and Resorts, have looked at the forces driving and sustaining multigenerational travel.
The Preferred research found that in general, while grandparents (Baby-Boomers) are footing the bill for these trips, the parents (Millennials) are calling the shots by doing all the planning for the vacation. The Boomer grandparents, by being more established and affluent, are choosing to pay for vacations their children cannot afford without help. In turn, their Millennial children, naturally more adventurous and experience-seeking travelers, want to share their experiences with their parents.
Preferred Hotels and Resorts also found that despite the need for hoteliers to understand these multigenerational travelers as a whole, their communication with them must be separate and distinct. Hotel marketing interaction must always take into account the generational differences unique to each. This will be explored further in future segments of this series. Here are some key facts uncovered:
- Grandparents Pay; Their Children Plan - The Boomer generation predominantly pay for these vacations 35 percent of the time versus 25 percent being paid by their Millennial children. The Millennials, 49 percent of the time, are strongly influencing the selection of hotel or resort accommodations. They also plan the daily vacation activities 77 percent of the time and the destination is chosen at 62 percent by the Millennials.
- Multigenerational Destinations - This travel segment chooses mostly traditional vacation destinations: The Caribbean at 29 percent, Western Europe at 28 percent, Orlando at 25 percent, and various National Parks at 17 percent. They also are extremely loyal to their chosen destinations, with 35 percent stating their intention to return for their next multigenerational vacation. Additionally, 77 percent intend to make these trips every year.
- Social Media and Traditional Travel Agents Are Key - Multigenerational travelers utilize the services of traditional travel agents 38 percent of the time, twice as much as all other leisure travelers. Also, Facebook is the most influential social media site for multigenerational travelers. 40 percent have made destination decisions at least partially based on content found on Facebook. Furthermore, 25 percent have selected a travel service based on Facebook content as well.
Multigenerational travelers will continue to exert a growing influence on the hospitality industry. Demographics are shifting and the U.S. census projects that their will be 80 million people calling themselves grandparents by the year 2020. In the next part of this series we will look at Baby Boomers as a specific travel segment.
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