Go ahead, type in “Perfect Family” in Google images. What do you see? Probably no one you recognize as a “typical” family. Pretty shocking.
New Media Travel once asked “Why Is Hotel Content So Boring?”
The point was that hotels, airlines, and often the entire family 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, worse, lest they offend anyone, their family travel glossies and web images are full of empty hotel pools, empty dining rooms and empty lobbies.
It seems 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, traditional families made up only 20% of “married family” households.
The Brady Bunch has long given way to The Modern Family.
A 2013 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 traveling families feel alienated and discriminated against and ignored, especially by the family travel industry.
AdWeek has a very fascinating and informative if somewhat dated infographic that breaks down the preferences and makeup of 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 the advertising they see does not show families like theirs
• And 46% are “turned off” by advertising that “depicts the ideal family”
One wonders if the family travel industry in general and hotels in particular are aware of the dramatic change in the family segment.
Judging by its images, brochures, language and especially its videos the industry hasn’t yet created a true emotional representation of what the new American family really is.
The family travel industry has to find the courage to present the American Family as a complex mosaic of non-traditional connections, and not as the idealized pictures their marketing promotes.