We took some time last month to chat with Palladium Hotel Group’s v.p. of sales and marketing, Pilar Arizmendi-Stewart, about one of the fastest growing segments in travel: family vacations.
How does today’s family differ from the one just five years ago in terms of their expectations when traveling?
One of the most interesting evolutions of family travel is the steadily emerging multi-gen travel segment, whose focus is having shared experiences that foster the opportunity for family bonding. Parents and grandparents are turning to the younger generations to assist in the destination selection and itinerary planning process. Getting the kids involved and excited about traveling, learning and sharing these experiences as a family is a critical component. Our oceanfront Grand Palladium Hotels & Resorts and TRS Hotels are able to cater to these groups who vary greatly in size, travel interest and age range. For example, Grand Palladium Bavaro Suites Resort & Spa, Grand Palladium Palace Resort, Spa & Casino, and Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa (all located in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic) are designed for families, while TRS Turquesa Hotel (also located in Punta Cana) offers a luxury, adults-only setting as well as access to all of the services and facilities of the neighboring Grand Palladium Hotels & Resorts. By providing both shared and exclusive areas and activities for all ages, our resort complex in Punta Cana offers the ability to spend quality time together as a family, yet still provides areas to enjoy personal time.
What 3 top trends are you seeing in today’s family travel segment?
The family, multi-gen and skip-gen (grandparents traveling with the kids solo) travel segments have been steadily on the rise for years. Today’s parents and grandparents have likely traveled and feel empowered to establish and foster a love of travel in their younger generations. In addition, a shift toward healthier life choices has resulted in more physically fit older generations that are eager to spend quality time with the kids. Lastly and most important, it’s essential to get the kids involved in the decision-making process. The internet, video games and social media are tough opponents and today’s family travel plans must include not only a beautiful white-sand beach, but also interesting and engaging activities. We provide a wide variety of age appropriate activities and exclusive areas for the kids including a Baby Club for the little ones (1-3 years old) offering both indoor and outdoor areas where they are able to play and explore under the supervision of our expertly trained staff. The Kid’s Club offers a magical setting for children ages 4-12 with a dedicated arts and crafts room, video game room, learning expeditions and organized sports activities like beach volleyball. Teens ages 13 to 19 years old have an exclusive club featuring a video game lounge, pool tables, table-top football and special weekly events.
How big of a trend is multi-gen and how has it changed when it first emerged as a trend? Are you seeing more skip-gen vacationers?
In the past, multi-gen and family travel many times would be a result of specific family occasions, such as weddings and anniversaries. Today, the shared aspiration to visit a particular destination is leading the discussion toward interesting locations, unique activities and family-friendly hospitality brands. It’s about bringing the generations together, and creating memories through shared experiences. So, whether it’s a family, multi-generation or skip-gen trip, our goal is to provide dedicated spaces and activities that carve out intentional quality time with the kids, grandkids and great-grandkids. We strive to achieve a well-defined product identity allowing for a personalized vacation experience for all of our guests both young and mature. We are very proud to be considered experts within the hospitality industry and, specifically, in the family and multi-gen segment.
What role do you think social media is having on family travel planning decisions?Turning to research stats, we know social media plays a huge role in decision making, not only for inspiration, but for securing recommendations, learning and sharing their travel experiences with family and friends. According to the Digital Index travel and tourism survey conducted by Text 100, which examined the increasing importance of social media and mobile technology during four major stages—inspiration, decision, purchase and experience—social media plays the largest role in the first and last phases of a consumer’s travel decision-cycle inspiration and experience. All of our hotels offer interesting, Instagramable architectural elements inspired by the destination’s natural beauty, stunning vistas and rich culture.
How much of an influence do you think children have on family travel plans? And if they do have an influence, why do you think that is?
The desire to ignite the love of traveling in children and enabling them to reap the rich rewards of discovering new cultures is leading parents to present family trips as a group decision. Younger generations influence every aspect of travel. With this in mind, we offer a variety of kid-centric programs and amenities offering families the flexibility to customize every detail of their stay. We cater to all travelers with a wide range of services including a premium program especially designed for families called Family Selection. Available at Grand Palladium Vallarta Resort & Spa and Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort & Spa, within a superb location of the resorts, every member of the family will enjoy luxury touches and VIP services curated to amaze and inspire vacationers of all ages.
How does a brand like Palladium Hotel Group, with TRS Hotels and Grand Palladium Hotels & Resorts, cater well to a family made up of people from varying age groups?
Personalized service, exceptional products and unparalleled value. Our name is synonymous with hospitality, amazing beachfront destinations, and exclusive options for travelers of all ages and tastes. While most other hotel chains focus on the overall experience, we strive to achieve a well-defined product differentiation. This way each of our brands develop a strong identity and can, therefore, deliver a personalized vacation experience for our guests. TRS Hotels offer the privacy and personalized attention of a boutique hotel in an adults-only setting as well as unlimited access to the wide variety of services that are available at the adjacent Grand Palladium Hotels & Resorts. Grand Palladium Hotels & Resorts offer an all-inclusive experience with a wide array of sports and leisure activities, excellent dining options and diverse facilities and products available to both adults and families.
What unique attributes does Grand Palladium Hotels & Resorts bring to the hotel landscape when it comes to family offerings?
Again, our Family Selection option is designed to give families a more exclusive vacation experience. They have access to privileged areas of the resort, personalized services, premium products and special amenities for the Family Boss (aka very important kids). The enhanced personal services start upon arrival. The resort will offer round-the-clock check-in in a private lobby. Families will also have access to a private restaurant and a bar, new entertainment units, a separate pool with waiter service and a reserved area on the beach. Family Boss guests will receive in-room amenities such as mini bathrobes and slippers, a prepared bubble bath with water toys, cookies-and-milk turndown service, a personalized mini-bar with special beverages, in-room video games upon request and more.
Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort & Spa located in Costa Mujeres, Cancun and Grand Palladium Bavaro Suites Resort & Spa, Grand Palladium Palace Resort, Spa & Casino and Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa located in Punta Cana offer the Play at Palladium with Raggs program featuring five colorful characters who appear at breakfasts, read stories at the children’s club, and perform in shows. In fact, Forbes.com recently recognized Grand Palladium Bavaro Suites Resort & Spa as one of the best Punta Cana resorts for families. The property’s colonial fort-themed kids’ club is the largest of its kind in the Caribbean and includes a spacious outdoor area, pool and mini water park, lounges with video games, a theatre, and a small dining room.
What unique hotel offerings do you think are coming down the pike for families?
As industry leaders one of our main areas of continued improvement and development is sustainability. I believe this is a trend that is here to stay. In 2019, we began eliminating single-use plastics from TRS Hotels and Grand Palladium Hotels & Resorts in Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. I’m proud to note we have received several recognitions for our efforts and commitment to the environment. Some of these accolades including the President’s Award for Global Tourism Innovation recognizing our environmental awareness efforts which have led to a combined savings of more than 10 million; Earthcheck certifications awarded to TRS Yucatan Hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico, TRS Turquesa Hotel in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, as well as the Grand Palladium Hotels & Resorts in Punta Cana, Riviera Maya, Riviera Nayarit, and Montego Bay; and a Travelife certificate awarded to TRS Cap Cana Hotel in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
How important is the role of the travel advisor in selling family travel?
Travel advisors provide clients with unparalleled peace of mind and are a brand’s best ambassador. Playing an integral role in our success, travel advisors have access to the best prices ensuring clients get the best for their investment. Extremely knowledgeable and well-traveled consumers have an invaluable resource in travel advisors who can offer insider tips. We stay in constant communication with our travel partners through the Palladium Connect program which provides agents with our most up-to-date portfolio information as well as access to marketing and booking tools.
For more information, visit palladiumhotelgroup.com/en.