A return of family vacations in big cities and international destinations, as well as travel in bigger and more extended groups, are some of the notable findings of the family travel survey.
The survey found that the travel advisor's importance was growing.
The effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic as well as growing economic uncertainty have had on family travel habits was the focus of the annual report.
Peter Bopp, head of research for the association, said that while the role of travel advisors and their importance in the family trip-planning process emerged as one of the strongest findings of this year's survey, some of the underlying reasons for that are not related to Covid.
Bopp said that they have seen increased interest in using travel advisors driven by families who are engaged in more complex travel planning They seek out advisors for their knowledge and expertise, help planning major itineraries and activities, and deal with the complexity of planning extended family trips.
In the last three years, 25% of respondents have used a travel advisor to book a family trip, an 8 point increase over the previous year.
The number of people who said they were willing to use a travel advisor was over 50%. The percentage of people who said they would use travel advisors to help navigate the challenges of cancellation, rebookings and other issues was down from the previous year. Bopp said the figure was significant and a higher response than previous surveys.
According to the survey, families are more aware of some of the blind spots in their trip-planning process, and they want to avoid them in the future.
Bopp said that the experiences of cancellation, delays and closing of destinations to travel during the Pandemic is having a lasting impact on families as they plan future travel. He said that they should be more attentive to cancellation policies, buy travel insurance, and be open to working with a travel advisor to sort through the complexity of their vacation planning.
Group travel has increased according to the study.
Bopp said there are positive signs for family travel growing in these important market segments.
The increase in families returning to big cities, traveling farther from home on international trips and returning to indoor spaces and events, such as museum visits, is one of the major trends from the study.
Travel advisors and suppliers are saying the same things.
The owner of Travel Magic in Basking Ridge, N.J. said her bookings for multi-generational travel have been on the rise this year. She has seen a 30% increase in her numbers for Walt Disney World alone, as well as an increase in interest for Disney cruises and land tours. She said that she marketed more than usual after returning from Portugal. Families that had never done ABD before were booked for four trips.
A luxury and custom travel tour operator said it has seen growth in its family travel sector, with increased interest in skip- generation travel and one-on-one travel between a parent and child.
The Family Travel Association's findings were in line with what the company had been doing. While the American West was very popular over the past two summers, now that restrictions have been loosened, the operator is seeing increased family interest in international trips, such as African safaris.
According to Bopp, the trends point to a return to 2019.
He said that families have returned to pre-pandemic travel behaviors quicker than expected. The idea that we were going to see permanent shifts in family travel has not held up.
The return to indoor and city activities where social separation is difficult is a sign of return.