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Family Travel Marketing Strategies Fail Families

Family Travel Marketing Strategies Fail Families

In a previous post, New Media Travel  asked “Why Is Hotel Content So Boring?”
The point was that hotels, airlines, and often the entire travel industry, are inclined to present images of the perfect family: a leggy blonde mother, two gorgeous light-haired kids and a handsome, fit dad playing in the blue water.

Or, lest they offend anyone, their glossies and web images are full of empty hotel pools, empty dining rooms and empty lobbies.


Hotels report that showing a racially mixed family or a same-sex family or whatever might offend potential visitors to a hotel or destination.  In fact, one hotel exec said that even showing families might offend childless couples, and deter them from becoming guests of the property.

But the USA is nothing if not a fascinating blend of mixed marriages, races, families, and sexual preferences. In truth, says HotelNewsNow, in 2010, traditional families made up only 20% of “married family” households.

The Brady Bunch has given way to The Modern Family.

The report from HotelNewsNow, also says mixed-race families, same-sex parents, single parent and other non-traditional households “are among the fastest growing family segments.”

But regardless of their growth and financial clout, these new families feel alienated and discriminated against and ignored, especially by the travel industry.

AdWeek has a very interestting infographic that breaks down the preferences and makeup of these non-traditional families.


• Seventy-six 76% of these new families opt to buy brands and travel services from companies that support causes the families believe in
But a huge 71% report that advertising they see does not show families like theirs
• And  46% are “turned off” by advertising that “depicts the ideal family.”

John Fareed of Fareed Hospitality and Consulting  goes so far as to ask whether the travel industry in general and hotels in particular are aware of the dramatic change in the family segment.
He argues, as did NewMediaTravel, that the travel industry, in its images, brochures, language and especially its videos must create a true emotional representation of what the hotel or destination is like.

Most importantly, the travel industry has to find the courage to present the American Family as it is: a complex mosaic of non-traditional connections, and not as the idealized pictures in their brochures.

Why it’s taking travel so long to adapt to the new demographic reality is puzzling.  Perhaps the report will be a wake up call.

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