Appealing to All
Multi-generational travel: A growing trend.
By Mike Flaskey
The hospitality industry has seen many changes in the last 10 years, with the emergence of the sharing economy pushing out new booking services and technology being a major component to traveling. It can be easy for companies in the industry to forget to place the true emphasis on the vacation experience itself.
We’ve also seen the impact millennials have had on the industry, and whether it’s upgraded activities or digital check-ins, catering to this generation is a new ballgame. However, as many hotel and hospitality professionals sharpen their focus on accommodating millennial preferences, it’s important to not lose sight of the fact that boomers and retirees make up a crucial number of vacation-goers every year.
According to AARP, baby boomers are active travelers who take about four or five trips per year, and they make up more than half of Diamond Resorts’ member base. But as the generation continues to age, we’ve started seeing something interesting in the way they travel: they’re bringing their families along, creating a new demand for companies to support multi-generational vacations.
As such, the hospitality industry must learn to build multi-faceted resorts and create programs that appeal to all ages. This is particularly significant as a recent study by The Center for Generational Kinetics found that American travelers place more value on experiences instead of material items. It’s not a surprise that different generations have varying interests in entertainment, activities and even food. How can companies accommodate these tastes? The answer is to consider the wants of each generation and find the intersection within your company’s offerings.
Bringing Generations Together
Finding a common thread across multiple generations – aside from being related – is no easy task, but that’s what vacations can do. It’s important to analyze a wide variety of interests from reviewing prior vacation data to seeing which activities guests are more inclined to pursue, and collecting customer feedback after each stay to incorporate it into new experiential programs. Guest demographics, such as age, are also key components that can influence priorities. For example, just because a teenager doesn’t enjoy golfing like their grandparents, that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t love to lounge at a pool equipped with an Instagram-worthy waterslide right off the course.
Vacation inclusivity is certainly attainable, and incorporating activities that appeal to a wide range of members is crucial. It’s a good idea to make sure you’re offering age-inclusive activities across the board, from family-friendly events like game nights or private concerts, to more traditional amenities like golfing and pristine pools.
At Diamond Resorts, our focus has always been the family vacation. We think it’s important for families to come together, even if it’s just once a year to reconnect and spend time with each other, which is truly the advantage of a family vacation and carrying on tradition throughout future generations. We’ve rolled out a variety of programs that are family-friendly and encompass a wide set of tastes, so every member looks forward to staying at any of our global properties.
Plus, we have designed our accommodations and stocked rooms with amenities to meet the needs of any size family. We offer portable cribs for young children, separate bedrooms for parents who want to their own, private time, full bathtubs and clothes washing machines to accommodate families.
Incorporating a Sense of Belonging for Everyone
While resort offerings may differ by destination, one thing that should always be present is a commitment to customer service. Our team believes helping our members achieve their perfect vacation experience is absolutely essential, regardless of age. So, we have family members who may go their separate ways and try different activities during the day, and then they all come together at night for a private Diamond Live concert or VIP event.
Creating a place for everyone to enjoy will have your guests feeling like they belong, which always reflects the company’s ability to retain guests. If members are excited about the opportunity to gather with their loved ones in a new environment with a multitude of offerings, it can help solidify their confidence in customer service and improve the likelihood they’ll return.
Mike Flaskey, CEO of Diamond Resorts, has more than 20 years of senior leadership experience in public and privately held companies, with a key focus on growth-oriented companies within the vacation ownership industry. He previously held the position of executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer for Diamond Resorts from 2014 to 2016, and executive vice president of sales and marketing, North America for Diamond Resorts from 2010 to 2014. Throughout Flaskey’s tenure at Diamond Resorts, the company has achieved unprecedented growth both organically and through strategic acquisition integration.