Appetite for adventure grows among families, writes Anthony Pearce.
Nine out of 10 UK families are planning a holiday in 2020 and are looking to broaden their horizons this year as well as find greater adventure, according to research conducted by ABTA.
While classic beach and city holidays in Spain, Greece and France are still in greatest demand, ABTA Members report that families are responsible for driving longer haul bookings, particularly for destinations such as Orlando, Dubai, Cancun and Barbados.
Looking for new experiences, families are varying the destinations they are visiting too, with visits to Africa and South America on the rise (from 8 per cent and 7 per cent respectively in 2018 to 13 per cent and 11 per cent in 2019).
Africa, Kenya and Botswana in particular are more popular among older families (50 per cent and 46 per cent respectively vs 19 per cent and 17 per cent). While in South America, Peru and Brazil are attracting younger families (18 per cent and 28 per cent respectively vs 9 per cent and 15 per cent).
Young families at the same time are showing greater enthusiasm for cruise, which has grown in popularity by 10 per cent in the last four years. Many cruise ships today are being built with multigenerational travel in mind – family cabins, water parks, theatres and game areas are all now more commonplace on modern ships.
When it comes to sustainable travel, families are taking a greater interest too. How animals are treated is their highest concern (66 per cent), with families viewing and interacting with animals, either in captivity or in the wild, more so than any other demographic.
Responding to these concerns, ABTA has recently launched the second edition of its Animal Welfare Guidelines with new unacceptable practices such as contact or feeding of elephants without a barrier, including riding and bathing elephants.
Other top concerns for families are nature conservation (63 per cent) and preservation of culture and heritage (61 per cent).
The findings also show an increased reliance on technology for support during the booking process. Families increasingly welcome the efficiency and convenience of using the internet to get support for travel arrangements. The number of families booking online has increased in the last year (from 80 per cent to 85 per cent) and, while doing so, they are the most likely holidaymakers to use the help of a chat/messenger service on a travel company’s website, more than double the average figure (24 per cent vs 11 per cent average).
In the last five years, families’ use of social media throughout the booking process has more than quadrupled (from 3 per cent to 13 per cent), making them leaders in this trend, way ahead of the 7 per cent average.
Victoria Bacon, ABTA’s Director of Brand and Business Development, said: “With the February half-term and Easter holidays approaching, many households will be looking ahead and planning a memory-making getaway, and now is a great moment to book as there are an abundance of deals and offers available for families.
“By booking with an ABTA Member and travel professional, families can trust that they will get an unforgettable experience when considering something new. More travel agents and operators are also using technology to make the whole process as easy and stress free as possible.”