Travel Across Generations: How Hotels, Resorts, and DMOs Can Attract the Entire Family

Some properties focus on business travelers, some target young adventurers, and others cater to wellness seekers. But in this article, we’re focusing on Choice D: “All of the above.” We’re taking a look at how properties can market to several generations at the same time.

With all the talk about building buyer personas and targeting your marketing strategies, casting a wider net might seem counterintuitive – How do you make your property attractive to the kids and their grandparents at the same time?

It requires some innovative thinking, rule-bending, and smart targeting to cater to the diverse needs and desires of families spanning different age groups. We put together a list of marketing ideas to inspire you, along with some of our own multi-gen marketing success stories.

Highlight Your Diverse Accommodations

The concept of “parents in one room and kids in another” is outdated; the modern family vacation calls for a more nuanced approach. Hotels and resorts now offer myriad options, from spacious suites to interconnected rooms and private villas. Be sure to highlight your uniquely diverse options for group stays, and include pictures so families can envision themselves enjoying the spaces.

Curate Online Itineraries

Here’s another outdated idea: Generic itineraries that just feature local attractions without keeping their target audiences in mind. To attract multigenerational families, it’s important to craft itineraries that cater to different age groups. That doesn’t mean the entire family is stuck together the entire time – if you have an on-site spa, for example, offer an option for the parents to enjoy while the grandparents take the kids to get ice cream.

Hawthorn Marketing Case Study
We created a digital itinerary for multi-gen travelers as part of a website redesign for the New Hampshire Lakes Region Tourism Association. We included family-friendly attractions that everyone will enjoy, such as a ride on a mail boat, an easy hike with amazing views, relaxed-atmosphere restaurants, and more. You can see the full itinerary, along with our innovative interactive design, here.

Show Off Your Tech

Do you have Alexa-enabled rooms, automatic blinds, or other cool tech? Offering up-to-date digital amenities not only makes the stay easier for the adults – it can also be a massive boon for the kids (and their screens). One of the best marketing tactics for showing off your property’s tech is social media, especially platforms that utilize video. Showing the tech in action is a great way to help families visualize their potential lodging. When marketing your tech features, focus on the convenience, but don’t forget to highlight how cool they are, too!

Create an Emotional Connection Through Storytelling

Another great way to utilize video-based platforms is to create high-quality, experiential videos that help the family imagine themselves on-site. These videos can touch on amenities like unique accommodations and personalized services, but those should be secondary. Instead, focus on your property’s “why.” Answer questions like: What do you hope your guests will feel both during and after their stay? Why is it important for your property to cater to kids as well as adults? Why is your property the one that will create the best memories?

Segment Your Marketing Campaigns

Even though the family will be traveling as a group, the diversity within multigenerational families calls for segmented marketing campaigns. Tailor messages and promotions to specific age groups, ensuring that each family member feels individually addressed. Whether it’s discounts for children or spa packages for grandparents, targeted campaigns speak directly to the varied preferences of different generations.

Hawthorn Case Study

Opal Collection asked us to develop a multi-generational itinerary for them that would feature several of their luxury properties and work well for both print and digital. Our solution, a special feature called Across the Ages, highlighted options for families based on their travel goals. The Sagamore Resort, for example, was featured in a section for active families, with highlights split between adults and kids. (You can see how it looks in print here.)

Collaborate With the Right Influencers

In the age of influencer marketing, collaboration with partners who connect with different generations can be a game-changer. To market to multi-gen travelers, partner with family-oriented travel influencers who can give a first-hand account of the property’s accommodations, amenities, and perks for both adults and kids. It’s a great way to not only highlight your property in a casual way, but also to gain word-of-mouth credibility among the influencer’s followers.

Don’t Forget About Traditional Media

While digital marketing is crucial, traditional media still holds sway, especially with older generations. Printed brochures or magazine ads, television features, and radio promotions reach a significant portion of the population, and that’s crucial if the grandparents serve as the family vacation planners. Adapting your digital campaigns for traditional media helps properties tap into the preferences of older generations, who are more familiar with those platforms.

Team Up With Local Partners to Offer Packages

DMOs, hotels, and resorts can form collaborative partnerships with other businesses to offer tailored vacation packages that appeal to all ages. This can include airlines, local attractions, restaurants, or big events that are likely to draw a crowd. Offering a package as an all-encompassing experience could be a huge help for traveling families who feel overwhelmed making separate reservations.

When multi-gen travel is approached with a smart strategy that’s appealing across age groups, yet segmented in messaging and targeting, you can set your property as the stage for a lifetime of cherished family memories.