Family trips are officially back. And they want the help of an advisor: Travel Weekly | Tech US News

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The return of family vacations to big cities and international destinations, as well as larger and broader group travel, are among notable findings from the 2022 US Family Travel Survey.

But also the main trend that the survey found this year was the growing importance of the travel advisor.

The Family Travel Association’s annual report focused on the effects that the Covid-19 pandemic and growing economic uncertainty have had on family travel habits.

But while the role of travel advisors and their importance in the family travel planning process emerged as one of the strongest results from this year’s survey, Peter Bopp, the association’s head of research, said some of the underlying reasons for this did not stem from directly from Covid.

“We’ve seen increased interest in using travel advisors led by families who are involved in more complex travel planning, such as trips to unfamiliar destinations,” Bopp said. “They look to advisors for their knowledge and experience, help plan important itineraries and activities, and manage the complexities of multigenerational and extended family travel planning.”

The survey found that 25% of respondents used a travel advisor to book at least one family trip in the past three years, an 8-point increase from 2021.

Family trips are officially back.  And they want the help of an advisor

The number of respondents who expressed their willingness to use a travel advisor this year was 56%. That was down from the 2021 survey, when 65% said they were willing to use travel advisors to help deal with the challenges of cancellations, overbooking and other pandemic-era issues. But the 2022 figure was still up 3 points from the 2019 survey, which Bopp said was significant and a larger response compared to previous studies.

Overall, the survey, now in its seventh year, revealed that families are more aware of some of the blind spots in their travel planning process and want to avoid those that follow.

“Experiences of travel cancellations, delays and travel closures during the pandemic are having a lasting impact on families as they plan for future travel,” Bopp said, adding that families are looking for peace of mind and security in their planning. That includes, he said, “being more mindful of cancellation policies, buying travel insurance and being open to working with a travel advisor to sort out the complexities of your vacation planning.”

Back to the cities

The study found that there is a noticeable increase in group travel.

He found a growing interest in multigenerational travel with grandparents; extended family trips with siblings, cousins, and other family members; and traveling with unrelated families, which Bopp said are all “positive signs for the growth of family travel in these important market segments.”

Other significant trends in the study were the increase of families returning to big cities, traveling further from home on international trips and returning to indoor spaces and events such as museum visits, as families place less priority on the trends of the era of the pandemic as outdoor holidays. nature-focused trips and travel locally.

Travel advisors and suppliers cite similar trends in their own bookings.

Michelle Allen, owner of Travel Magic in Basking Ridge, NJ, said her bookings for multigenerational travel are up this year, especially for theme parks and bucket list destinations. Their numbers for Walt Disney World alone are up 30% over last year at this time, and interest in Disney cruises and land travel with Adventures by Disney is also up. “I came back from Portugal with Adventures by Disney in August and marketed a little more than usual,” he said. “I ended up booking four trips for families who had never done ABD before to Italy, Japan, Alaska and Greece.”

Family trips are officially back.  And they want the help of an advisor

Red Savannah, a tour operator of luxury and customized travel, said the company has seen “continued growth” in its family travel sector, with increased interest in generation gap travel — grandparents traveling with grandchildren — and travel between a parent and a child.

Abercrombie & Kent said the Family Travel Association’s findings were in line with its own booking patterns. For example, while the American West has been very popular for the past two summers, now that restrictions have eased the operator is seeing an increase in family interest in international trips, such as African safaris and Machu Picchu in Peru.

Bopp said trends point to a return to 2019-era travel.

“Families have returned to many pre-pandemic travel behaviors faster than expected,” he said. “The idea that we were going to see permanent changes in family travel, such as more local and driving trips versus distant trips requiring air travel, has not held up.

“The resurgence of interest in international travel and the return to indoor and urban activities where social distancing is difficult is also a powerful sign of return.”

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