To capitalize on the growing family travel segment, NYC & Company recently relaunched its NYC Family Ambassador program, featuring Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, including outdoor media in Chicago and Boston, and advertising in 23 malls across the country.
Travel Market Report asked Makiko Matsuda Healy, NYC & Company’s senior vice president of global tourism development, about family travel options in New York City and what else NYC & Co is doing to raise its visibility with family vacation travelers this year.
1. What is NYC & Co seeing in terms of the growth of family travel bookings to NYC?
Since the launch of our Official NYC Family Ambassador program in 2009, the family travel segment visiting New York City has increased by more than 30%. What our Global Tourism Development team has been seeing would be an increase in multi-generational family travel, as well as more interest in local and authentic experiences around the five boroughs including food, music and culture. We’ve also seen an uprising with pop-culture related experiences, such as the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie, which takes place in 1920s NYC, highlighting several neighborhoods in Manhattan.
It is also note to mention that New York City is the safest large city in the United States and has something for every generation to enjoy, both appealing to families. Every member of the family can find experiences that they can enjoy together or separate, whether it be educational based or a special evening out without the kids. The City is also a meeting point for multi-generational families across the globe, thanks to its ease of accessibility from three major international airports.
2. Are there any new specific venues that are most popular with families? Surprises that are on the rise?
We are continuously promoting the ‘New’ New York City, which encompasses new attractions, hotels, shopping and cultural experiences that are now on the uprising with families. Classic attractions like the Empire State Building, the Bronx Zoo, MoMA (children 16 and under FREE), sporting and entertainment events (Yankees, Mets, Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center) and the American Museum of Natural History continue to remain mainstays. New attractions such as the One World Observatory and the upcoming New York Wheel in Staten Island, as well as the National Geographic Times Square experience opening this fall are even more appealing to families looking to book at trip to NYC.
As for accommodations, apartment style hotels and convenient and popular amongst families, such as The Marmara Park Avenue, AKA Wall Street and value-brands such as the Residence Inn and Holiday Inns, conveniently located close to many family-friendly attractions.
3. What’s happening to the cost of travel to New York City, notoriously one of the more expensive cities for family vacations?
The average spend on a family trip is around $1,400 (USD). On average, families tend to stay 6.5 days and 75% of them stay at a hotel. Many of our hotels are budget friendly, and there are many options in the boroughs beyond Manhattan which are also near some great cultural attractions, such as the Z Hotel NYC in Long Island City Queens and many of the newer hotels opening in Downtown Brooklyn, just a train stop away from Manhattan.
As part of our current winter promotion of New York City’s most affordable value period ever, we highlight that hotel rates tend to be lower during the winter months (this and more are part of our Nonstop NYC campaign, which includes value programs like our first-ever NYC Attractions Week and NYC Restaurant Week, as well as NYC Broadway Week and NYC Off-Broadway Week.
4. Will NYC & Co be conducting any new marketing this year specifically for families?
We will continue our partnership with Nickelodeon on promoting the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as the City’s Official NYC Family Ambassadors. This include family-friendly content on our website, as well as out of home media in bus stop shelters around New York City and major shopping malls in the tristate area.