Iberostar Playa Mita hosted the third annual TMS Family Travel Summit. // © 2015 Chelsee Lowe
Feature image (above): Mexico is the top international destination for U.S. families. // © 2015 Thinkstock
The third annual TMS Family Travel Summit convened at Iberostar Playa Mita in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit region in April, and more than 20 news outlets, social media leaders, family travel experts and data analysts were in attendance. Over the course of the two-day conference, participants discussed trends in international family travel, from the power of brand partnerships to trends among Latino travelers.
Following are key insights into the family travel markets, courtesy of Google, MMGY Global and D.K. Shifflet & Associates.
Children Influencing Travel Decisions
The preferences of younger children are becoming more important to parents. According to Ipsos MediaCT’s “The 2014 Traveler’s Road to Decision” study, 46 percent of participants reported that they are initially undecided on where to go when planning a trip with children. Respondents said that children’s preferences influenced travel decisions 87 percent of the time. The mean age at which children impacted vacation choices is 8 years old.
Concerns and Inspiration
According to the 2015 MMGY Global “Portrait of American Travelers” report, travel inhibitions for international family travelers fell from 2014 to 2015. Fewer families reported being concerned with the cost of travel (from 32 percent down to 27 percent), job security (26 percent down to 15 percent) and the hassle that comes with air travel.
Other insights from the MMGY Global report include the following:
- 23 percent of international family travelers are relying more on advertising to make travel destination/service provider decisions.
- 24 percent of international family travelers report looking for travel deals in the newspaper.
- 45 percent of international family travelers reported that information, photos and videos seen on social media influence their accommodation choices.
- 22 percent report that their trip destination choices are partially influenced by social media; 13 percent said that their choose destinations primarily by using social media.
- 17 percent follow a destination on social media, while 11 percent engage with a vacation destination through social media.
Similarly, 77 percent of respondents in Ipsos MediaCT’s study (commissioned by Google) reported that they use smartphones to find travel inspiration during spare moments (commuting, waiting in line, etc.). At the same time, 48 percent of respondents ultimately book another way, such as on a computer or by phone.
International Family Travelers
According to DK Shifflet and Associates’ “Travel Performance Monitor” study, 38 percent of families traveling internationally are led by a single adult. Families of Latino, Hispanic or Spanish origin account for 27 of international travel and 35 percent of international travel with kids. Also notable, 51 percent of baby boomers reported traveling internationally with children.
Across all age groups, the top international destination for U.S. families is Mexico. It is the destination of choice for 40 percent of millennial families, 28 percent of Generation X travelers and 26 percent of baby boomers.
Travel agents based in the Western U.S. states will be pleased to know that California is ripe with sales opportunities. The top five U.S. states of origin for families traveling internationally are California (21 percent), Texas (14 percent), Florida (6 percent), New York (6 percent) and North Carolina (5 percent).
Trends in the Hispanic Market
Meredith Hispanic Media — a content delivery and insight resource for and about Hispanic women — recently released its “Doublebase” study. The media company reports that its audience is 98 percent female and 91 percent bilingual.
According to the study, Hispanics spent $11 billion on domestic travel in the past 12 months and $10 billion on foreign travel. The study also found that 62 percent of Latinas have taken a foreign trip in the last three years, and two out of three of respondents did so as pure vacation. The remaining one-third traveled abroad to visit friends or family.
Seven in 10 Latinas participating in the study visited a theme park in the last two years. In fact, Hispanics are 47 percent more likely to have traveled to a theme park in the last 12 months than non-Hispanics.
In terms of upcoming travel, 52 percent of respondents plan to travel to a new destination this year. Thirty-nine percent plan to take an international vacation.