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TMS Family Travel Summit Predicts Vacations Must Change As Families Change

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TMS Family Travel Summit Predicts Vacations Must Change As Families Change

By Kyle McCarthy

(Image/the women of the Family Travel Summit/TMS: Orlando

With demand for family-friendly summer vacation destinations,  multigenerational accommodations and organized tours at an all-time high according to industry sources, the moms behind the first TMS Family Travel Summit decided to look at what “family travel” really means.

They found that the classic married couple with two kids, or more technically, the “married-couple-biological-children” family represents less than half of all American families. Single parents run 16% of all households in the industrialized world and, social media statisticians would have us believe, moms control everything.

In fact, the sheconomy does control approximately two-thirds of America’s wealth, says Dorothy Dowling of Best Western International , with women managing their own incomes, their household expenses, and the finances of their own parents. How has this affected family travel?  It has put women and moms in the driver’s seat when it comes to making vacation planning destinations.

According to new research from MMGY Global  reported by Peter Yesawich at the Summit, the vast majority of family travelers want time to relax, unwind and spend time together.  80% want to see new places (forget customer loyalty) and 75% want an easy to get to destination.   Supervised kids clubs aren’t so vital to these time-starved families said Yesawich, with 78% of families opting for free WiFi over kids programs on their last vacation.

The 35 Summit attendees from around the country lapped up the data points, generating 54 million-plus #TMSOrlando impressions throughout the weekend by sharing insights with their followers.

One of the most important trends identified by the socially savvy cohort was the need to satisfy Generation C, the collectors, creators and curators among us who are driven to share every experience on and offline. Their constant need for stimulation and new experiences means the travel industry must provide activities to satisfy every age group, and make those experiences photogenic as well, so that guests will share them.

The group cited social media’s potential for broadening the family market, by empowering less affluent families to vacation, helping them find values, and sharing advice. According to research by D.K. Shifflet, American families now average a shorter length of stay on vacation –2.73 nights – but are still traveling as the economy recovers.

Digital media in all forms was tasked with making the travel research and booking process easier and less confusing for families, who want to be assured that their needs for connecting rooms and adjacent plane seats will be honored.

Of course, following the magical mantra of Disney, “making memories” was often quoted as the favorite aspect of family vacations, with social media as the sales tool that can share those memories and turn happy family vacationers into brand evangelists.

For the instant summer vacation marketing guidelines that emerged from TMS Family Travel Summit, and you can read more in their report  :

Market and sell to women.
Welcome diversity in staff and guests.
Make getting to your destination easy and fun.
Be sure your accommodations, facilities and amenities focus on relaxation.
Make guests feel like everything they do is new and unique.
Give them free WiFi and encourage them to share memories about you.
Arrange activities for all ages together.
Have your photographer and filmmakers on hand to record the fun.
Offer vacations in all price ranges.
Empower today’s maker families to book trips themselves by keeping it simple and transparent.

Makes sense to me.

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