Millennial families primarily seek safety, lower prices and convenience when considering their vacation plans, a recent survey shows, creating a significant opportunity for travel agents who understand the key drivers for this demographic.
Millennials with children said that safety (60.9 percent) was the number one factor in developing their travel plans, versus just 51.7 percent of Millennials in general, according to the survey from Resonance, a leading travel industry marketing company.
Cost came in second at 54.1 percent of respondents, followed by English being spoken in the destination (49.6 percent), the number of fun attractions nearby (48.9 percent) and the quality of the surrounding natural environment (46.9 percent).
Chris Fair, president and CEO of Resonance Consultancy, in Vancouver, British Columbia, noted that, “Safety is at the top of the list for every segment of travelers. We avoid destinations that we perceive to be unsafe.”
While 35 percent of Millennials without children told Resonance that they would visit a foreign country in the next 12-24 months, only 26 percent of Millennials with children agreed with them. Fair believes the lower numbers are partly related to obtaining and renewing passports for children, but also that safety and convenience might contribute to a need to stay closer to home.
“The longer flights, making connections in foreign airports, all might add to a perception of greater complexity and inconvenience,” Fair said.
Other aspects of convenience include accommodations being close to a beach, the quality and number of nearby restaurants, and ease of getting around using public transportation. In one question, 51 percent of Millennials with children said that “proximity to must-see attractions” was important to choosing where they would stay, behind free internet/WiFi access (68 percent), a swimming pool (59.7 percent) and privacy (57.2 percent).
Opportunities for travel professionals
This quest for convenience and reducing the stress and complexity of planning a family vacation could also be found in survey results about how Millennials with children book their trips.
According to the survey, 31.6 percent of Millennials with kids choose to plan their vacations with a travel agent, versus 13.1 percent of Millennials without kids. About the same share (64 percent) of Millennials with and without children use an online travel agency (OTA), or book direct with a hotel/resort/airline (45 percent of those with children, and 48 percent of those without).
“In general, there is a growing interest in using travel agents,” Fair said. “We’ve gotten through this era of online disruption. The novelty of being able to research and book online has worn off for consumers. For Millennials, online travel agents have existed their entire lives, so there is less of a novelty for them. Now, they are more looking at how they will book from a value and service perspective.”
Interestingly, 28 percent of Millennials with kids said they will pick up the phone and call a hotel, resort or airline, versus just 18 percent of Millennials without children.
“Millennials are also looking at opportunities to learn something new — the types of hotels you can stay in, the opportunity to learn something new,” said Fair. OTAs are not very good at serving up that kind of detailed knowledge. It comes from friends, families and trusted travel advisors.”
Beach versus city
The Millennial traveling parent mindset can be seen in other results from the Resonance study.
While 40 percent of both subsets said they would take a beach resort vacation in the next 12-24 months, 44 percent of Millennials without kids said they would visit a metropolitan city and 47.6 percent said they would vacation with friends. Only 33 percent of Millennials with kids said they would visit a metropolitan city, while slightly less than 35 percent of Millennials with kids would vacation with friends.
“While there’s an interest in visiting cities, it’s a little more difficult when you have children,” Fair said, noting again the importance of agents helping Millennial parents understand ways to make their trips more manageable for kids.
“Still, if we could look back 20 years from now, I think what you would see is that more kids are going to cities today, versus then. The market for families, for all travelers, visiting major metropolitan cities overall is growing, because cities are more interesting for leisure travelers today.”
Finally, Millennials with kids are much more likely than their childless peers to book a cruise, with 27.2 percent of the Resonance respondents saying they were likely to take a cruise in the next 12-24 months, versus 21.2 percent of those without children.
According to Resonance, 897 Millennials with children and 651 Millennials without children responded to the survey.