Top Supplier Offerings for Gen-X Travelers

Footsteps of the Incas is one of many programs Cox & Kings designates as family holidays.
Footsteps of the Incas is one of many programs Cox & Kings designates as family holidays.

Generation X is often called the “Lost Generation” - caught between Baby Boomers, who view using a travel agent as a given, and Millennials, who often turn to social media. Travel Agent spoke with expert agents, many Gen-Xers themselves, for this Special Report on what makes these travelers tick. We've looked at Gen-X versus Millennial travelerstop Gen X travel stats, recently-single versus still-married Gen Xers and how Gen-Xers view family travel -- now we look at how top travel suppliers are gearing up to cater to Gen-X tastes.

It’s not just agencies that have been taking note of what this small, but powerful generation wants — suppliers have also been tuning in.

“There is no doubt that our Gen-X guests are traveling more with friends over the last few years,” says Scott Wiseman, president of Cox & Kings, The Americas. “We have seen a considerable increase of couples traveling with other couples. About 90 percent of the trip is done with the same interests and about 10 percent of the itinerary is geared for something separate, so either the couples or the men and the women will split for some type of activity.”

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To accommodate more couples traveling together, Cox & Kings has introduced a new pricing method that shows the cost of two and four people traveling together. Clients could yield a savings of up to $1,000 per person over the price of two people traveling. Wiseman suggests that couples traveling together book the Quintessential South Africa itinerary, which offers a wide range of activities. Guests will travel through South Africa’s wine lands, explore Cape Town and adventure out on safari.

Fuoritinerario – Discover Your Italy is based in Perugia, Italy, and arranges small group and private experiences for clients traveling in Italy. The company serves many Gen-X clients and notes that these travelers are usually families with children. They see that these families are looking for a way to mix up the usual routine. To that end, the family is seeking a range of activities so that each family member remains engrossed in the entire trip. Some of these activities that the families seek include music festivals, a cultural festival like Palio di Siena or a special event like the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monza. As for Italy in particular, Discover Your Italy notices that the families come back to see the country several times over the years to explore new areas. Kendra Thornton, president of Royal Travel & Tours, also agrees that these Gen-Xers are looking for “bigger bucket list” trips and a large amount of these travelers are heading off to Europe with the family in tow. During these trips, she notes, that the Xer is looking for adventure and local experiences that are kid-friendly.

The Globus family of brands is also seeing more Xers headed to Europe. Italy tops the popularity list with the generation, as well as Spain, Great Britain and Ireland. The Britain Sampler itinerary is popular with these travelers and it takes them on a nine-day tour from London to Edinburgh and back. Along the journey, guests will visit Shakespeare’s birthplace Stratford-upon-Avon, Cambridge, Bath, Edinburgh Castle and more. The Best of Spain is also a top seller with the Gen-X population. During this trip, from Madrid to Barcelona, guests will spend time in Seville, Granada and Valencia.

Adventure-seeking Xers are gravitating toward specialty suppliers, including Backroads, known for its biking tours. More than 30 percent of the company’s client base is made up of Generation X travelers. They are traveling in a combination of ways with families, couples and the solo traveler as well.

“Gen-Xers are traveling with their kids internationally more than ever and that is why our family program is doing so well,” says KC Hoppe, Travel Industry Relations, Backroads. The company has expanded both its Family and Family Breakaway (clans with kids in their 20s) programs to include additional international destinations.

As far as domestic travel is concerned, “This generation isn’t just taking their kids to Disneyland, inclusive beach resorts and the National parks in the family station wagon; instead they want to experience the world and together share these experiences with their children,” says Hoppe.

Backroads sees the following destinations trending with the Gen X client: Africa, Alaska, Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, the Canadian Rockies, Holland & Belgium, Iceland, Tuscany, Provence and Spain. In addition, the U.S. National Parks are popular this year due to the centennial anniversary.