Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Targeting Families II

Continuing with the topic I posted about yesterday, I found and summarized an interesting article in Forbes.com wrote by Rebecca Ruiz.
She noticed "It's not uncommon for kids to be jet-setters nowadays. Unlike the family vacations their grandparents took, likely by car to the countryside or a national park, today's young travelers tag along with their parents on cross-country or international flights to isolated destinations, metropolitan cities and theme parks. With more flights to more destinations today, family vacations can easily involve globe-trotting (...) Since parents have become more adventurous, aided by the standardization of travel to once-remote locales, destinations that were once off-limits for youngsters are now popular for family travelers". A recent poll conducted by Travelocity.com surveyed 853 travelers of varying ages and found that today's grandparents took a plane 4% of the time to reach a vacation destination; families now travel by air 63% of the time. But the poll also found that destinations and activities are noticeably different. While more than one-third of families once vacationed at a campground or national park, only one-quarter of families do so now. "Families are not doing any one thing universally" says Amy Ziff, an editor-at-large at Travelocity.com, who devised the poll.
Samantha McClure, owner of Austin, Texas-based travel agency Small World Travel, who specializes in custom family vacations, says her clients are looking for quality time with their children instead of a "kid's club" experience where young ones are separated from mom and dad most of the time. "They're looking for memories they're going to take away".
Despite the belt-tightening, families are still seeking "really cool and unique vacation spots", says Mary-Jo Lipman, a spokeswoman for Orbitz.com and member of the Web site's advice-giving Parent Panel. Lipman says that parents should make the distinction between destinations that are kid-friendly and those that are kid-focused. Neither is superior, but services and programs for children will vary. Theme parks, for example, cater to kids non-stop, which Lipman sees as kid-friendly. More hotels and resorts, on the other hand, are offering nanny services and creative, age-appropriate activities, which Lipman considers kid-focused.
Regardless of the destination, Lipman says parents should use the valuable vacation time to unwind. "We have such a wired, connected, hectic society and work schedule", she says, "that vacation is all about reconnecting with yourself and your family".