All in the Family
The timeshare product is uniquely suited to the needs of today’s multigenerational travelers.
Multigenerational travel remains a significant slice of the vacation industry—making up 33 to 40 percent of the $270 billion generated by leisure travel, according to Rainer Jenss, president and founder of the Family Travel Association (FTA). It’s also one of the most rewarding fields of travel for hospitality groups. “There is a greater opportunity in promoting travel to multigenerational groups than to singles and couples because their large party size makes them much more profitable,” Jenss says. Fifty-four percent of baby boomers cited spending time with family and friends as a primary motivator to travel in 2016, according to AARP’s report Travel Research: 2016 Travel Trends. The study also found that 28 percent of millennials, 36 percent of Gen X’ers and 30 percent of baby boomers anticipate taking a multigenerational trip domestically this year. Notably, 34 percent of Gen X’ers planned to take a multigenerational vacation abroad in 2016, making it the top international trip type for Gen X’ers.
Vacation ownership is uniquely positioned to attract multigenerational travelers. Flexible units make it possible for everyone to stay under one roof while still allowing for privacy. “There are just so many options with the timeshare product that are not available at other places to stay,” says Peter Roth, vice president of marketing, communications and industry relations at ARDA. “You can have a family meal in the kitchen, or put the kids in a room with a movie and have an adult dinner.”
In addition to connected rooms, Jenss cites extra amenities and activities that appeal to all ages as particularly valuable to multigenerational travelers. Resorts may consider setting up arts-and-crafts sessions, cooking classes and other offerings that everyone can participate in. At the same time, it’s important to provide options just for children, like kids’ clubs, so that parents and grandparents can enjoy more adult offerings worry-free. “It’s about finding a balance,” Roth says. “You need to be smart. One of the best ways is to ask people when they arrive what they’re looking for.”
Properties located near beaches may have an extra advantage. Mexico, Costa Rica and Turks & Caicos are among the top five destinations for family travel in 2016, according to Virtuoso® travel advisors at the International Luxury Travel Market. This research corresponds nicely with the travel interests of timeshare owners, who Roth notes are often seeking destinations where they can go swimming and sunbathing and play water sports.
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