Where the Family Travelers Are
The rise of travel terms such as bleisure (business and leisure) and framily (friends and family) points to growth in the family travel segment. Sometimes attaching days to the end of a business trip so that a spouse and children can come along, sometimes multiple generations of a family traveling to a destination, sometimes families with children escaping together. If you’re not already, it’s time to shape up your family-friendly amenities, consider your messaging, and get in front of the family segment. But where are they?
New research from the Family Travel Association and New York University shows that today’s families report that search engines are their most important source of travel information (30%), followed by family and friends (19%), and travel review websites (15%).
Forty-one percent of family travelers report a preference for hotels and 29% for resorts. And the search engines are teeming with hotels and resorts on OTAs and meta search sites with an occasional big brand or independent site managing to get above the fray. Gaining an edge in the search engines—which, remember, is where the family travelers are—has become far more sophisticated than search engine optimization and pay-per-click, the latter of which most hotels have been priced out of.
TrustYou has launched TrustYou Stars, offering a reputation-based solution to gain more reviews on search giant, Google. With TrustYou Stars, hotels are able to push surveys to guests and deliver those surveys directly as Google reviews. Increasing the volume of Google reviews allows hotels to enhance their content on Google, which in turn increases trust with travelers.
Once family travelers arrive at your site, there are a few essentials that will encourage them to engage and book. First, ensure the web design clearly appeals to families. That said, not every family wants to feel they’re going to Disneyland or Great Wolf Lodge, especially when it’s a business/leisure trip or a multi-generational vacation. Simply ensure it’s clear that families are welcome and appreciated.
Additionally, make sure family-friendly amenities are featured front and center and that cancellation policies are clear, because we all know that kids get sick a lot. Families really appreciate room configurations that are flexible—and the ability to book those online is a giant plus. Is it obvious if there is a door separating the bedroom from the living room in a one-room suite? Is it possible to reserve adjoining rooms online with ease? Spell out the ways in which your property caters to families.
Finally, survey questions that are tailored to families will result in travel reviews filled with information families appreciate. Ensure reviews are hosted on your website so that this family-friendly feedback is available while they are making final booking decisions.