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Much of the discussion at this year’s Family Travel Association (FTA) Summit was on the subject of inclusion (see page 8 for a report of the conference). While there are a number of ways we can help make travel more inclusive, FTA’s research identified one area that’s a major obstacle to family vacations: affordability.
According to the 2018 Family Travel Survey, conducted by the FTA and New York University’s Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, of the respondents who say they are unlikely to take a trip with their children in the next two years, 69 percent indicate that it’s because they don’t feel like they can afford to travel.
These days, many suppliers and advisors specialize in high-end trips, and that’s understandable — the luxury market is important. But focusing on this elite group alone is not a sustainable model for the future of the industry. The only way we can grow the overall customer base of travelers is to expose larger numbers of people to the amazing experiences available to them.
In addition, one of the perceived strengths of travel agents is the ability to make vacations less expensive. In the FTA survey, nearly half of all respondents who have used a travel agent in the past three years said it was because advisors have access to better prices. The power of agents to make vacations more affordable is something that can create opportunities for grateful parents, and ultimately, it may win over customers for life.
In this issue’s cover story (“All About the All,” page 14), we look at advisors’ favorite all-inclusive resorts. Some agents may look down on this type of vacation, but the quality of the experience versus the cost makes an all-inclusive resort one of the best values in travel.
So, when we discuss inclusion, let’s not forget economic inclusion. Because finding ways for families to travel together is not only good business, it’s the right thing to do.