One third of travelers report Generation Alpha influences family travel decisions

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Family vacation planning is no longer an activity just for the adults, according to new custom research. For more than 8 in 10 travelers around the world, planning a family trip is a collaborative activity for the entire family, including the youngest members of the household: Generation Alpha. Representing those born after 2010, Gen Alpha may be young, but they have ideas and opinions and are already influencing family decisions – including travel. More than half of parents and grandparents said Gen Alpha show them online and TV content to influence family trip planning.

The Gen Alpha & Family Travel Trends study, conducted by Northstar Research Partners, examined Gen Alpha’s impact and role in family travel decisions and the content and resources that are influencing their ideas and opinions. Looking across Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the UK and U.S., the research provided deeper insight into family travel attitudes, preferences and priorities, and how Gen Alpha may shape the future of travel.

Technology, digital content and instant gratification are the norm for Gen Alpha. At least 50% watch online videos on a mobile device, 46% are already using a computer for homework, and 58% use a smartphone to communicate with friends and family. But they also crave real-world, offline connections and shared experiences, like travel, which is a frequent topic of discussion. Most parents and grandparents talk about travel with their Gen Alpha children or grandchildren, and 60% note that travel ideas come from both children and adults.

Gen Alpha’s proactive travel idea sharing, along with the travel-related content they’re showing to family members, illustrates their early influence on family travel today, and may be an indicator of their future behavior as they mature and start planning their own trips.

“Despite their young age, Generation Alpha is already playing an active role in family travel inspiration and planning, and they’re influencing trip decisions for the entire family,” said Andrew Van der Feltz, Senior Director for Expedia Group Media Solutions. “Gen Alpha is expected to be more educated, wealthier and live longer than any generation before them, resulting in great potential for the travel industry. By understanding their interests and influence on family travel today, and how their parents and grandparents are including them in travel discussions, we can better prepare for the future.”

Family Travel Attitudes & Gen Alpha Influence

Although final decisions are made by the adults, more than one-third said Gen Alpha influences family trip choices. For family trips with Gen Alpha, destination selection (64%) and trip activities (57%) are leading considerations. And although budget is a consideration for most family travelers, convenience is more important than lowest price when selecting transportation and accommodations. More than half of family travelers selected their transportation because it was the fastest option, and approximately 40% of family travelers selected their accommodations based on location and family needs.

Family Travel Inspiration & Resources

Ideas and opinions from multiple family members may be contributing to destination indecision around family trips, as 71% are deciding between two or more destinations or don’t have a destination in mind when they first decide to take a family trip. A variety of online and offline resources play an influential role in family trip planning and booking, including travel review sites or online travel agencies (63%). More than 4 in 10 look to search engines, colleagues, friends or family – including Gen Alpha. Social media, online videos and online advertising can also be influential for family travelers, especially ads with appealing images, deals and informative content.

Good Old-Fashioned Family Fun

When planning family trips, an overwhelming majority of parents and grandparents (95%) said keeping their family entertained and happy is incredibly important, and 89% look for the best deals and value. But they prioritize family fun – such as going somewhere with activities for the entire family and places Gen Alpha will enjoy – along with a safe and kid-friendly environment, above lowest price. Experiences and activities are an important part of the family vacation itinerary. When planning a trip, family travelers look for theme parks and attractions (74%), water activities (67%) and outdoor activities (55%).

Key Insights and Marketing Takeaways for Reaching Family Travelers

• Family travel planning is collaborative. Look for opportunities to make travel research and planning an interactive, fun and easy experience for the entire family, and use family-friendly content and messaging.

• Family entertainment and happiness is incredibly important. Marketing content with messaging or visuals highlighting fun for all ages – especially for activities, experiences and attractions – is an effective way to appeal to family travelers.

• Family travelers prioritize convenience over lowest price. Lead with convenience-driven messaging, such as location or proximity to nearby attractions, transportation options and family-friendly services – rooted in a great deal to make the booking decision even easier.

• Inspiration and information come from a variety of sources. Marketers should create a multi-platform strategy and use a diverse content mix to influence family travelers throughout the purchase journey with appealing family-centric images, deals and information.

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