Travelling with multi-gen tribes: bring the kids – and grandparents

Multi-generational travel is a strong and fast-growing trend that shows no sign of abating. According to the 2019 Virtuoso Luxe Report on the global travel industry, multigenerational travel is this year’s top vacation trend – among the top travel trends since 2011.

Key findings from Agoda Family Travel Trends 2018 also revealed that in Asia, travellers are more inclined to engage in multi-generational and extended family trips than their Western counterparts.

Multi-generational travel is clearly a hot trend in the Asian tourism sector. Among the key trends Steve Odell, Norwegian Cruise Lines’ senior vice president and managing director of Asia-Pacific, has observed is the rise of multi-generational travel, and “a lot of times in Asia it’s grandparents hosting the family”. Big extended family groups are coming out from most Asian markets, namely Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Thailand.

In the serviced residence sector, multigenerational travel is also singled out by Richard Tan, vice-president, serviced suites at Pan Pacific Hotels Group. “Millennials, who have become parents, are bringing their parents – active, healthy Baby Boomers – along on trips as the grandparents play a large part in (grand) parenting the children. This is true of the Chinese market, as outbound family travel are often accompanied by grandparents,” he noted.

Cruises, theme parks and beach resorts are natural choices for multi-generational travel, but with a new generation of travel-savvy parents, grandparents and kids who are no longer content to be visiting sites but collecting memories, a custom itinerary focussing on the desires of each family member may just be the ticket for travel advisors to  showcase their planning expertise and increase sales.

While multi-generational travel has been on the rise for years, the family travel market continues to be dominated by picture-perfect images focussing on nuclear families. Savvy travel marketeers should refine their marketing approaches to extended families.

Who’s the best person to target for multi-generational travel? The grandparents. In many cases, they are usually the decision-makers and instigators for a family vacation, having more time, money and motivation.

I can personally testify to this – my mother, now a grandmother of four, is often looking out for new travel destinations and opportunities for everyone to come together for an extended family vacation.

Meanwhile, an emerging subset within the multi-generational travel market is skip-gen travel, i.e. grandparents travelling with grandkids, leaving mom and dad behind. Now, I can’t wait for my mother to suggest a grandtravel trip…

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