|Vice President—Content/Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero|
About halfway through the multigenerational travel summit we recently held in Chicago, all 17 of us in the room realized that the market potential for this group of travelers is more dramatically untapped than we had even fathomed.
That money is being left on the table by travel agents was made clear by the observation of one supplier who said his res center had had many bookings from guests with the same last name over the course of a few days. Turns out they were all members of the same far-flung family trying to gather for a reunion. They’d all booked on their own, except for one who had worked through a travel agent. Imagine if that agent had asked his client if he was traveling with anyone else, or even simpler, what was the purpose of his trip? What if the answer had been, “I’m going to meet up with 42 extended members of my family from all over the country for four days at a resort in the Caribbean.”
Even better, consider the incredibly affluent client who takes three luxury cruises a year, always booking the top suites, who also has five children with spouses and 20 grandchildren. Suppose that little fact goes ignored or untapped. What if this client’s travel advisor never asked him if he’d ever consider taking his entire family on a cruise? What if she hadn’t been able to easily suggest a cruise line that would accommodate the needs of this enormous, disparate group? She’d have lost out on the $330,000 booking with Royal Caribbean she did get and which she so deserved, for being confident, persistent and genuinely certain that her very wealthy client would have enormous fun with his very large family.
Another finding culled from an anecdotal statement at the roundtable? Consumers are doing a lot of research on their own to book their large multigenerational trips and in many cases, trying to do it all on their own without your help.
Grandparents are also researching tour operator offerings to determine which product lines will work for them if they’re bringing their teenage grandchildren. Others are researching which suppliers can accommodate a trip on which they can bring their aging parents in an effort to thank them for giving them the gift of travel when they were growing up.
Supporting that finding is research from the Preferred Hotel Group indicating that 23 percent of those surveyed purchased a travel service from a supplier from whom they had received an unsolicited e-mail. That’s a sure sign of someone looking for the guidance of an expert like you.
Take a look at other findings from the Preferred research, mentioned throughout this issue, as well as our cover story from our Multigenerational Travel Summit at www.travelagentcentral.com/multigenvideo, and start building your business plan around this niche today.