Family Tourism, a rising segment
Family Tourism, a rising segment
A study by Visa INC together with Oxford Economics made last year revealed that by 2025 around 282 million families worldwide will plan at least one international trip a year, which is almost 35% more than in 2015. The birth of a new traveling and itinerant middle class, which will devote more and more of its family budget to travel, aging population and increased connectivity are three reasons for this considerable growth.
Among the data relevant to our market, the report concludes that Spanish families with annual incomes above 18,000 euros accounted for 94.9% of international travel expenses last year, while the remaining 5.1% accounted for families with incomes of more than 135,000 euros per year. In 2025, 70.2% of international travel will be carried out by people between the ages of 35 and 64.
If we look at the profile of Spanish families (obtained from the conclusions of the International Congress of Family Tourism from the Spanish Federation of Numerous Families) we find that family tourism has a very clear seasonality: school holidays, being weekends, bank holidays and summer holidays the main occasions for the trip followed by Easter and Christmas. Spanish families make more than 4 family trips a year (4.3), the average annual expenditure families invest in tourism is 4,500 euros, which usually corresponds to the cost of accommodation, transport, food and activities.
Among the activities chosen by families in their travels we find first outdoors proposals, followed by beaches, culture and leisure and amusement parks. They preferably stay in hotels and farmhouses during short trips as well as also hotels, apartments and campsites for longer stays. The word of mouth, as well as the opinions of friends and family, are the main reasons when choosing a destination, accommodation or activities.
Undoubtedly, this is a very juicy niche for all types of tourism companies, from those who are dedicated to infrastructure or logistics at any stage of the trip to the same tourist destinations that need to attract such a tempting audience with their offer. However, although it may seem a task without too much complication, the concept of family has changed a lot in recent decades (lately we have discovered PANKs – professional aunt no kid – women without children and with high economic capacity who decide to take their nephews on vacation). It is not only a question of providing a standard service for this profile, but of being able to adapt to the different needs of this fragmented demand.
There is already family-specialized tourism, very focused in activities such as amusement parks or hotels with entertainment programs for children and young people. In fact, in these cases, children are the main causes for choosing the destination for family vacations. But what about those families who decide to do other types of tourism? In this case, it is absolutely necessary to develop strategies based on flexibility and adaptability in several areas.
On the one hand, as far as rates go, when reaching 12 years, children pay as adults in almost all services, why not adapting a younger rate for them? Does a 12-year-old really consume as much as an adult? It’s not only that, most of special prices made for families are for four members, two adults and two children… and we have already talked about the need to accommodate newer family models. Efforts must also be made in the adaptability of facilities not only regarding accommodation but also other kinds of cultural buildings, entertainment, etc…
Cultural and entertainment offer suitable for this segment is also vital. Destinations are becoming more aware of the need to develop these areas; in fact, there is no tourist office that doesn’t sell itself as an ideal destination for families. However, once you analyze the activities they promote, these are limited to contemplating sun and beach tourism or a “lighter version” of activities made for all audiences.
It is very important that all those involved in the tourism sector who want to capture this “appetizing and productive” segment of society take into account that in family tourism the product is more important than the destination itself. 282 million families are a very high number of travelers who will live, experience and, above all, recommend (or not) their last vacation.
By Mónica Bonilla