Arabian Travel Market opened its doors on Monday for travel professionals. The 22nd edition of the event welcomes over 2,700 exhibiting companies this year. On the first day of ATM 2015, YouGov has unveiled the results of its latest Family Travel study which reveals new data on MENA family travel trends.
YouGov’s findings show that 64% of the 2,000-plus MENA based survey respondents travelled with their children in the last 12 months, and almost two-thirds (62%) prefer online booking channels. Sponsored by Mexico, family travel is the Spotlight Theme for this year’s ATM and the research, which was based on outbound travel from the region, revealed that families are taking an average of two trips per year, and that those with younger children (0-12 years) tend to travel more often than those with 13 to 18-year-olds, taking three or more trips annually (32% of surveyed respondents). Top ranked reasons for family travel were visiting friends/family (29%), resort/beach holiday (25%), Eid holiday travel (17%), shopping (15%), nature holidays (14%), city breaks (11%), sightseeing (9%) and religious tourism (9%).
Recommendations were also crucial factors in the decision-making process with feedback from family/friends the major influencer versus traveler reviews with 50% relying on this for trip planning. Input from teenagers in the family is also exerting significantly more influence on booking decisions compared to families with 0-12 year olds, highlighting a need for teen-focused marketing and teen-friendly properties.
Those who are married with or without children are more likely to have visited Egypt or India on their last leisure trip. Those married with children are more likely to have visited UAE on their last trip compared to those married without children. Accommodation preferences were topped by four or five-star hotels or friend/family homes (31%) with 29% of survey respondents looking specifically for city centre locations and the availability of family suites/villas most important for parents of 13-18 year olds with 17% choosing to stay in hotel apartments. Reasonable costs were also cited as an important consideration for family groups. Destination ‘checklists’ were different according to the age group, with families with 0-12 year olds seeking out locations with lots of activities on offer, theme parks and a good attitude to children, while those with older children (13-18 year olds) wanted all-inclusive options, decent flight times and access to shopping.
40% book less than one month in advance and 62% are choosing to book their trips online, although parents with teenagers in the family are still more likely to visit a travel agent.