Multigenerational Travel's Effect

The rise of multigenerational travel continues to have an impact on the industry By: Kenneth Shapiro
Shapiro // © 2015 TravelAge West
Shapiro // © 2015 TravelAge West

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Read about a big change in family river cruising in the newest Family Getaways cover story.

In this issue, we take a closer look at what is surely a major moment for river cruising. The announcement that Adventures by Disney is partnering with AmaWaterways to offer family-focused sailings — onboard a brand-new, purpose-built river cruise ship — was welcomed by travel agents and even other river cruise lines (“Cruising Together”). There’s little doubt that the Disney name is going to introduce the concept of river cruising to a range of consumers who may not have previously considered it.

In addition to being good for the industry, the partnership is a good business move for Adventures by Disney and Ama. Both companies are well aware of the importance of multigenerational travel. For example, Preferred Hotel Group’s “Multi-Generational Travel Survey,” conducted last July by MMGY Global, indicates that about half of all vacations taken by grandparents (52 percent) and parents (50 percent) are multigenerational. Among those who have taken multigenerational vacations, 77 percent indicate that taking a multigenerational vacation is something they try to do every year. Even more impressive is the fact that this percentage is highest among millennials (91 percent). Clearly, this type of vacation is here to stay.

Travel suppliers across the industry have been adjusting to the fact that grandparents are not only traveling more, they are traveling younger — planning and participating in vacations that appeal to their kids and grandkids. This shift is due in large part to modern grandparents who are generally healthier, more intellectually curious, more vivacious and more defiant when it comes to stereotypical views of aging. It’s thanks to this boomer generation that suppliers have been forced to scramble to come up with unique, experiential offerings.

It’s easy to miss how revolutionary this shift has been — until I think of my own grandmother. Don’t get me wrong, we shared a lot of great moments, but travel was something one did to get away from the grandkids, not to schlep them along. These days, travel agents had better be prepared to offer suggestions that appeal to everyone in the family and to not make assumptions based on age.