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In the past, when discussing top family brands, people are often surprised when I mention luxury companies such as Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Crystal Cruises and others. This is true even when talking with people in the travel industry. Apparently, the idea of combining luxury and family is still a surprising concept.
Well, it really shouldn’t be.
Family travel no longer means a tiring, are-we-there-yet road trip. Increasingly, parents — and grandparents — want to spend their hard-earned dollars on the kind of family vacation that is going to provide enrichment for the kids and make lifetime memories for the adults. And luxury hotels, cruise lines and tour operators have done a great job of recognizing this trend and filling the need.
In this issue’s cover story, “Pairing Luxury and Family,” we look at one writer’s experience on a Crystal cruise with his daughter, and we share what other luxury cruise lines offer for families. Perhaps no other upscale travel experience is more suited to family and multigenerational travel than cruising, so it makes perfect sense that both parents and kids can enjoy a luxury sailing.
As you well know, families generally have a vacation budget in mind when they start the planning process. But you also may have seen this budget grow as more options are provided. In fact, surveys have shown that an increasing number of parents are willing to skimp on one aspect of travel in order to upgrade another part of the trip.
This is especially true when working with young parents. Millennials, in particular, have often spent their whole lives traveling with their parents and are familiar with upscale brands. As adults and parents themselves, they tend to splurge on luxury travel providers — instead of on other luxury goods.
Travel agents are making a huge mistake if they assume families are only interested in a certain type of vacation, with only a certain type of “family-friendly” supplier. After all, matching the right customer to the right vacation is the true measure of success for an agent.