As one might expect I get all sorts of emails land in my inbox. Some of these emails are clearly spam and others are sent out giving information to people like myself to be used as content if we so wish. Generally I don’t post these as I don’t have much time to also include content from others but having had a read of the information sent through from a company called Tots To Travel I thought that I might share some snippets with you, not because I needed content as I have plenty of my own but in this instance I thought that this might be of relevance to many of you.
The email titled “YOUNG FAMILIES DRIVE JANUARY HOLIDAY BOOKINGS – As holiday industry ‘bargain shouting’ falls on deaf ears –“ was an interesting read and actually stopped to make me think.
With the start of 2017 the initial overseas winter holiday market rush which initially began in December 2016 with the over 55’s is overtaken by young parents. These young parents are on the hunt for holidays that are more than just a bargain. When you have little ones there is so much more that needs to be considered aside from the price.
The UK’s leading baby and toddler-friendly holiday company Tots To Travel have been doing their research and the findings suggest the holiday preferences of parents with young children are based on compensating for the quality time challenges many face in their daily lives. Parents with demanding full-time jobs or with larger families have less everyday quality time with their young children and these parents look to family holiday as the time to redress the balance.
Time challenges at home
Although both parents will cherish the same top five weekly activities that they regard to be ‘quality time moments’ with their young children – such as cuddle time which has to be my favourite (76%), going to the park (73%), family walks (69%), bedtime stories (67%) and eating dinner together (66%) less than one in two fathers manage to enjoy a wide range of other important activities with their children during the typical week. These include: eating breakfast together (47%), swimming (44%), taking family photos (42%), doing arts and crafts (38%), taking children to play dates or parties (25%) or going to a toddler group (26%). The issues faced by fathers is mirrored by those working full-time. Men are the primary breadwinners in two in three households suggesting the quality time gap is more a symptom of long working hours than being a gender divide.
Similar challenges are faced by parents with three or more children (I would fall into this category), who simply don’t have the time to enjoy such a range of nourishing quality time moments at home with their young children (see table one).
Table one: Weekly quality time activities by number of children in the household
|2 children||3+ children|
|Going to the park/playing in the garden||73%||78%||62%|
|Going out for family walks or day trips||74%||67%||53%|
|One-to-one playtime (i.e. just me and my child)||71%||69%||40%|
|Reading bedtime stories||67%||71%||57%|
|Bath time “fun”||76%||60%||49%|
|Learning numbers and/or words||68%||64%||38%|
|Eating breakfast together||55%||50%||33%|
Quality time preferences drive holiday choices
Recent figures indicate the number of UK people working more than 48 hours a week has increased by 350,000 in the last decade. I work as many hours as I physically can from home around the children and their schedules. The time challenges that families such as mine face at home plays out directly on what we look for from our family holiday.
- i) Choosing the resort
Whilst 41% of young parents do want a good deal it isn’t the only factor at play when we select our holiday destination. With parents being more conscious about the foods their children eat a factor to consider is whether the resort offers child-friendly and nutritious menus rather than just smaller portions of adult menus and this was the top consideration (44%) in the survey carried out. This was followed by a range of other convenience considerations that would free parents up to enjoy quality time with their children: Accommodation being close to shops and amenities (37%), having inter-connecting rooms as standard (25%) and the resort providing baby essentials including blackout blinds, baby monitors and sterilisers for free (24%). These factors were all more important to parents with busy, full-time jobs at home.
- ii) Getting there
Beyond simply choosing the location, factors that related to getting to the resort were also hugely important for young parents. The majority (57%) would only consider a location that offered a direct flight (if there wasn’t a direct flight I wouldn’t even consider the location as an option), 53% said they would want to fly from a nearby airport and 43% would look for an easy transfer from airport to the resort. Short flights were also crucial (46%) as was the ability to fly at a time of day that didn’t disrupt a child’s sleep or food routine. Any recent holidays that I have been on have all been to places that had a flight time of under 5 hours as the thought of travelling further with my 3 little ones is not an option.
Wendy Shand, Founding Director at Tots To Travel comments: “Despite all the economic gloom before Christmas, the holiday industry has started with a bang in 2017 and young families are becoming one of the key driving forces in the UK market. Whereas research in recent years has pointed towards a resurgence in staycations for many consumers, for parents of young children the overseas family holiday remains a keystone of their year and has a serious role to play. For young parents, the overseas holiday is one of the key times in the year when everyone gets the chance to enjoy quality time together – and quality time that isn’t against the clock as can be the case at home.
The work-life balance dynamics at home are changing the terms on what young parents want from a holiday abroad. A bargain is always welcome, but at a time of year when holiday firms are bombarding consumers with offers that don’t go much deeper than headline price, it is time for the industry at large to stand back, wake up and better understand what young families actually want from their fortnight abroad.”
At Tots, we are a holiday business by and for young families and in the last two weeks we have experienced a significant upturn in holiday enquiries. Christmas week and the summer holiday are possibly the two times of the year when young families can truly switch off and enjoy total and uninterrupted quality time with their young children. It is perhaps no surprise that once Christmas is over, many young families are keen to book their next tranche of quality family time before returning to work.”
The research was conducted by YouGov among a nat.rep sample of 519 young families.
To discover more about Tots To Travel and its difference visit: https://totstotravel.co.uk
Are you planning on travelling this year?
If you have children do they influence your holiday choices?
Photographs are copyright of Melanie Edjourian