New sub-niches in family travel and leisure consumption

viajes en familia

Since we started our blog’s activity, we have always emphasized the importance of the family segment within the tourism industry in our country Spain and some others focused on this specific target. For instance, referring to data from 2019 -the record year for international tourist arrivals in Spain with approximately 81 million visitors-, it is estimated that around 15 million of these arrivals were part of a family trip.

In this sense, family tourism became the third most important tourism segment in terms of business volume in our borders that same year. Undoubtedly, a well-established “market niche” that is continually growing, with accommodations, destinations, and activities specifically tailored to its needs.

Similarly, just as there has been an evolution in the tourist offerings for families, so has the demand, with a greater variety of family types and groups of travelers with children.

Family travel and leisure (with children): How to consider different consumer typologies for the design of tourist products and experiences?

Traditionally, when we referred to the concept of “family tourism,” the typical image that came to mind was that of a family composed of a father and a mother with a couple of children. In fact, tourism establishments have generally tailored their family offerings around this premise.

However, estimates indicate that currently no more than 60% of trips with children are undertaken by these “traditional families,” meaning a couple of adults with a maximum of two children.

Single-parent families and/or large families

Fortunately, for many years now, society has fully embraced cases of adult individuals who have chosen to become parents without a partner, as well as divorced individuals who form new family units with their children.

In fact, the number of single-parent families in Spain is increasing, with the latest public figures from the year 2020 showing over one and a half million single-parent households compounded by women with children and around 362,000 in the case of men with children.

As for large families, those consisting of one or two adults and three or more children, whether or not they are siblings, reached over 750,000 families that same year in Spain.

Applied to the topic at hand, the design of tourist products and leisure experiences, there is a significant opportunity in both cases to include a wide range of services and amenities tailored to their specific needs. This includes specially designed rooms to accommodate a higher number of children in the same space, specific and customizable discounts for each case, as well as promoting leisure and entertainment experiences for adults traveling alone with their child(ren).

Senior travel with children (Silver Economy)

Undoubtedly, when we were young, many of us went on family trips that included our grandparents, often organized by middle-aged adults.

Today, with the current “silver economy” generation – retirees with high purchasing power, good health, language proficiency, and a high level of digital tool usage – roles and even travel experiences are changing significantly in many cases.

Due to these characteristics, it’s increasingly common for grandparents to organize trips or engage in leisure experiences with their grandchildren, without the presence of the parents, sometimes even to international or exotic destinations.

Beyond creating customized packages or offers for this segment, this sub-niche is particularly interesting because it can contribute to reducing seasonality in family tourism, which is usually limited to traditional vacation periods.

In conclusion, it’s a format where all involved family members benefit: grandparents with good physical condition and flexible schedules who can enjoy time with their grandchildren, children who have fun during vacation days they wouldn’t have otherwise, and parents who get a break from the responsibility of caretaking for a few days.

PANKs (Professional Aunt No Kids)

This is perhaps the most interesting sub-segment, yet often overlooked by companies targeting families and children. Originating over a decade ago in the United States, this concept refers to middle-aged women or men without children, who travel or engage in leisure activities with their nephews and nieces to experience parenthood for a few days or hours.

From an operational perspective, many of the points mentioned for single-parent families can be applied to creating an offering tailored to their needs, including entertainment activities and services adapted for the solo traveling adult while the children enjoy other activities.

However, there are two aspects that differ significantly: firstly, these individuals seek shared leisure activities with their nieces and nephews to a greater extent, leading to demand for intergenerational games. Secondly, they have high purchasing power and don’t hesitate to spend significantly on various types of experiences, including activities that families with children might not consider due to their higher cost.

*Note: We are often asked whether the LGBTQ+ target could be considered a new sub-niche of family-oriented tourism and leisure. In our case, we do not consider it as such, as LGBTQ+ status should not necessitate adaptations in tourism or leisure offerings, unlike the case with single-parent families, large families, grandparents traveling with children, or PANKs.

After considering the above, we would like to ask you: Had you taken any of these market sub-niches into account when creating your offerings and strategies to attract family-oriented customers?

Remember, you can always count on us as a fully specialized company in children’s tourism and leisure, to assist you in developing strategies and implementing various actions to differentiate your family-oriented offerings, all with the sole objective of winning the hearts of your family-oriented customers. Contact us.

Continue exploring our blog to stay up-to-date on our news, technical articles, and projects.

New sub-niches in family travel and leisure consumption

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