They’re looking for sophistication, better technology, service and food, while activities for children and good childcare is one of the most important considerations, particularly for stressed parents for whom a holiday is a rare chance to really relax and enjoy a completely different routine for a week or two.
Whereas even just five years ago it was enough to “fly-and-flop” to a sun-soaked timeshare resort, it’s not just the parents but also the children who expect a special experience during their “me time”.
Some of the biggest trends include:
• Childcare Has Gone from Fun to Function: Resorts may have to drop their fees for childcare programs and include children’s activities as part of the overall holiday, so parents can enjoy some much needed time together.
• Healthier, Interesting Dining Options: Many families are now prepared to pay more to avoid unhealthy, mediocre food given a choice. Pizza and pasta is OK but not every night.
• Families Are Using Technology to Simplify Travel Planning: Some companies predict families will bypass the traditional way of choosing and even booking a holiday, using “the old classic travel websites” and turn to mobile holiday-related apps. And social media is still very influential – safety, a choice of things to do – particularly for children, good food, excellent service and a destination not too far from the airport are all considerations that can sway a booking between one resort and another.
• The Totally “Unplugged” Holiday might be great for couples but not families: In many cases, with every family member using a different device – not least the teenagers sending photos back to their friends and keeping up with news back home – everyone wants fast, cheap connectivity and if they do want a digital detox they’d rather have one on their own terms. Paying and queuing to use the one computer with internet connection in reception has gone the way of the dinosaur. People want to be connected “here and now”, 24/7.
One other trend that came up was a new demand for smaller cruise ships, making a cruise a more personal experience. Cruises continue to hold tremendous appeal for special occasion breaks such as once in a lifetime family get togethers or landmark wedding anniversaries.