Results of a just-released survey of Ensemble Travel Group members regarding family and multi-generational travel bookings this summer revealed several promising findings: agency bookings are solidly up from last summer – especially in the cruise and FIT segments – and so is consumer spending on vacation getaways.
The findings are part of the second annual Ensemble Insights: 2014 Summer Family Travel Survey, a survey by the organization that analyzes booking trends and activity of a cross section of its North American membership during the peak travel season of June, July and August. For this survey, “family travel” was defined as parent(s) with children ages 18 and younger traveling together during the three-month period. “Multi-generational travel” was defined as a combination of grandparent(s), parent(s), children ages 18 and younger or children 19 and older.
“The survey certainly bodes well for Ensemble members and many of our preferred partners this summer,” said Ensemble’s Georganne Shirk, vice-president of marketing. “Results show that clients are loosening their purse strings and favouring vacations that truly deliver both the coveted authentic experience with plenty of unforgettable family memories.”
A closer look at the survey reveals 55% of Ensemble members indicated an increase in family travel bookings this summer, compared to only 32% last year. This year, 32% said unchanged compared to 49% in 2013; and 13% expected a decrease compared to 19% last year.
Multi-generational bookings were up as well this summer as 50% of the respondents indicated an increase compared to 46% in 2013. In addition, 37% said unchanged compared to 46% last year; and 13% expected a decrease this summer compared to 8% last year.
Specific travel segments are faring especially well this summer in the family travel market. As the most popular type of summer vacation, FITs earned the top spot with 41% of the responses compared to tying with all-inclusive resorts last year at 35%. In the multi-generational group, cruises earned top billing at 48% in 2014 compared to 38% last year.
Also key this summer was average higher spending per booking as 37% of the summer travel bookings for families fell in the $10K-$19,999 bracket compared to 27% last year. The second highest spending level was the $5K-$9,999 group, at 28% in 2014 compared to 41% last year.
Europe bookings for the family market this summer appear to be steady or increasing. Of respondents, 60% said the level of bookings has not changed compared to 42% in 2013. Also, 23% indicated an increase compared to 33% last summer; and 17% reported a decrease compared to 25% in 2013.