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Last month, I attended the Switzerland Travel Mart in Davos, where I met with top tour operators. All of them, of course, send travelers to Switzerland, but besides having that in common, they cover a wide range of travel types, including family travel, hiking trips, culinary tours and more. Being with such a diverse group gave me the opportunity to hear about trends that run across the spectrum of travel, and one thing they all agreed on was that consumers these days are looking for personalized service and customized itineraries.
I thought of this trend as I worked on this issue’s cover story, “Perfect Trips for Every Age” (page 16). In the story, family travel experts share their advice on planning trips for various ages, and it’s clear that agents can’t simply chose a cookie-cutter approach to “family travel.” Every family is unique and each situation brings its own challenges.
Sally Black, founder of Vacationkids, is interviewed in the story, and her advice came with a warning.
“One caveat that I’ll add: All of these comments are sweeping generalizations,” she said. “Some of my clients are 4-year-old world explorers; others are teens that act more like 2-year-olds. Agents really need to capitalize on their skills of customization in order to plan the perfect family vacation.”
Families interested in taking a vacation face all sorts of challenges these days — from natural disasters to man-made crises. Travel advisors and suppliers should make the decision of whether or not to take a trip as easy as possible for parents. By showing that they are able to cater to a family’s specific needs, agents can begin to remove the barriers standing in the way of a great family vacation. And, ultimately, an approach based on personalization is the secret to selling all types of travel to every destination.