4 trends in family travel for 2014
It’s the largest segment of the holiday market and one that’s long been synonymous with ‘value’, but over recent years family vacationers have been catching up with luxury travellers in their demands.
Topping the list are shifts towards flexible accommodation and multi-generational travel, more sophisticated children’s activities, and a desire to be permanently connected – all of which the luxury traveller expects as standard, but the family traveller, until now, has been happier to add on as needed. We take a look at the most in-demand trends in the industry right now.
1. Villa holidays
Families are increasingly choosing ‘homes’ over hotel rooms, with their more flexible arrangements of space and privacy better suited to the needs of individuals within larger groups. But many travellers want the best of both worlds, opting for hotels who offer multi-roomed villas as part of their accommodation range – such as the luxury villas at Constance Hotels & Resorts. This gives them the benefit of all onsite facilities, as well as the personal service that comes with staying in a hotel.
“At Constance, our luxury villas combine the elegance and convenience of a five star resort with the privacy and tranquillity of your very own home away from home,” said Ms Kelly Desiré - Communication Manager at Constance Hotels and Resorts.
“All our villas include a large living area, private pool and outdoor dining, and a personal butler to help organise water sports, spa treatments or excursions. We also offer in-villa babysitting services so parents can enjoy some time to themselves, and all villas include satellite TV, and wireless internet access as standard.”
2. Multi-generational travel
Children, parents and grandparents all travelling together – often to mark a landmark event such as an anniversary – continues to be a prominent trend in family travel.
Extended families often live far apart, with conflicting schedules and limited holiday time squeezed into ever busier lifestyles. It can be logistically challenging to plan such a trip, with everyone wanting different things and the needs of the youngest and oldest members not always in sync.
But much of the baby boomer generation of grandparents are active and mobile, and they’re healthy and often wealthy too. With a strong focus on spending quality time with their grandchildren, parents are freed up to spend some time relaxing alone or trying a new activity, coming back together for meals or excursions. It may take some effort to organise but persevere as this can be one of the most fulfilling ways to enjoy time as a family – memories are created and bonds are formed - especially important for those families who can only get together once or twice a year.
3. Better targeted activities
The days of generic kids’ clubs are long gone, with an increasing number of resorts offering carefully targeted activities dependent on age and interests. Parents are also looking to see that their children are absorbing the local culture in a fun environment rather than just being ‘babysat’.
LUX* Resorts is a case in point, with two separate clubs aimed at satisfying the most demanding toddler or teen. PLAY offers children between the ages of 3 and 12 an opportunity to explore all the wonders and delights of island life. Supervised by a highly trained and enthusiastic team, kids are exposed to the nature and culture of the island’s incredible surroundings, as well as a range of high-energy sports and outdoor activities. From art classes and treasure hunts to cake decorating and educational Teddy Tennis lessons, PLAY is everything a kid could hope for on an island holiday.
Studio 17 is the complimentary teen’s club at LUX*, where guests between 12 and 17 can get together, explore the island or just hang out. They can also make new friends and take part in loads of activities including local dance and language classes.
4. Seamless connectivity
Despite the buzz around digital detox holidays, it’s not yet appealing to the majority of families, as more and more of us want the ability to connect to the internet and share our experiences at any given moment, even if we like to think we’re getting away from it all. If we do unplug, it’s got to be on our own terms.
Families also want better tech to help them plan activities while they’re away, so many hotels are providing this with in-room iPads and other devices, or with online planning apps and booking tools. Hotels also need to take into account the needs of every individual within a family group. It’s not unusual for each member of the family to have their own device (often more than one!) and they want to be able to use them simultaneously. Seamless, fast connectivity is starting to be seen as an essential amenity, along with thoughtful in-room touches like game consoles and multiple power points.
Photos: Constance Hotels and Resorts - Beachcomber Trou aux biches