New Research: Travel Advisors Continue to Solidify Their Position Post-Pandemic
A new survey has offered insight into how the COVID-19 pandemic and recent economic uncertainty have been affecting family travel behaviors. Conducted by the Family Travel Association (FTA), in collaboration with the NYU School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, the 2022 US Family Travel Survey—now in its seventh year—represents responses from more than 1,000 parents in June and July 2022. It revealed notable trends and themes that shed light on the industry moving forward.
One trend that remains strong: Interest in travel advisors for trip planning.
The survey found that travel advisors continue to solidify their position in a post-pandemic travel landscape, with the willingness to use a travel advisor for family travel standing at 52%—a significant increase over reported behavior from 2021 (17%).
In addition, 85% of parents indicated they're very likely to travel with their children in the next 12 months, especially for multigenerational trips. Travel intent in 2022 is higher than in 2019, with strong demand for travel in larger family groups. While 57% of respondents feel the pandemic is mostly contained and are comfortable traveling, 43% remain cautious when making travel decisions.
According to the survey results, the influence of the pandemic is receding in many ways: International vacations are more popular this year, city vacations are on the rebound, and more families are now looking to stay in hotels (pausing the continuous rise of vacation rentals of the past years). Looking forward, inflation and the rise of gas prices and hike in interest rates will likely influence travel behavior in the coming year. Families particularly indicate they will look for cheaper prices on lodgings.
"This year's survey shows that while the pandemic impacts family travel less than last year, the last two years have also led to changes that are likely to last," said Dr. Lynn Minnaert, former clinical associate professor at the Tisch Center. "Families are excited to get back out there, but peace of mind and value for money are key priorities when they make travel decisions."
"With the global COVID-19 pandemic now mostly behind us in 2022, we have seen that family and multigenerational travel has been an important force in the tourism industry's recovery," said Rainer Jenss, founder of FTA. "This speaks volumes to the priority families are now placing on spending time together and traveling. Now is the time to double down on family travel."
ADDITIONAL SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS:
- The respondents' children emerged as a big source of inspiration for family travel (76%), followed by friends (53%) and other family members (52%). Almost half of respondents are inspired by travel bloggers (49%).
- In terms of types of trips, beach vacations (66%), city vacations (65%), and visiting friends and family (61%) were the top three indicators. Conversely, interest in nature/active vacations seems to be waning.
- The top four sources—in order— that provide families with travel inspiration are movies, television shows, Pinterest and Instagram.
- Priorities for family travel include having children discover new places and experiences, to bond and grow closer as a family, and to relax and unwind.
- Affordability continues to be the top challenge for families, and has been consistent every year of the survey (followed by dealing with potential cancellations).
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.