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How the youngest generation is influencing family travel

30 May 2019 (Edited 06 July 2019)

80% of travelers with children under age 9 say entire family collaborates on trip planning

Expedia Group Media Solutions has just published the results of new research on the influence of "Generation Alpha" (born after 2010, so now aged 9 and under) on family travel.

Profile of Generation Alpha:

  • Digital natives who have grown up with Instagram and the iPad
  • Will number nearly 2B by 2025
  • Will be the most highly educated, longest-living and wealthiest generation


  • Online survey in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, UK, USA
  • 1000+ respondents in each country, total 9357
  • Conducted 11 April - 7 May 2019
  • Requirements:
    • Child or grandchild born in 2010 or later
    • Booked leisure travel online in the past year

Profile of families that travel with Generation Alphas:

  • On average take 3.2 family trips (leisure + bleisure) a year
  • 2.2 of these trips are domestic

Most important considerations in trip planning:

  • Keeping family entertained and happy (95% agree)
  • Best deal and most value 89%
  • Explore outdoors and be active 85%
  • Travel during school breaks 85%
  • Visit entertainment attractions or theme parks 85%

Criteria for choice of destination (top 10):

  1. Somewhere with activities for the entire family
  2. A place young children will enjoy
  3. A place that is kid-friendly
  4. A place where I won’t have to worry about children’s safety
  5. A once in a lifetime experience/trip
  6. A place children requested or want to go to
  7. Cultural experience the entire family will enjoy
  8. Unique memorable/shareable family experience
  9. A place where children will learn something
  10. A place where we can vacation with friends/family

Preferred forms of entertainment while traveling:

  1. Watching videos online
  2. Taking pictures/videos
  3. Playing games
  4. Video calls, texts with family and friends at home
  5. Researching nearby activities
  6. Reading articles online
  7. Using social media

Typical family trip:

  • Type of trip
    • Family play vacation 28%
    • Relaxing 27%
    • VFR 13%
    • Sightseeing 11%
  • Destination
    • Domestic 68%
    • International 32%
  • Average trip duration 6.9 days
  • Budget a factor?
    • Yes 79%
    • No 21%
  • Preferred mode of transport:
    • Plane 54%
    • Car 47%
    • All others 7% or less
  • Reasons for choice of mode of transport:
    • Fastest 52%
    • Kids easier to manage 34%
    • Most affordable 34%
  • Preferred accommodation:
    • Hotel 58%
    • Resort 21%
    • Family/friends 17%
    • Vacation rental 16%
  • Preferred mode of transport in-destination:
    • Personal car 31%
    • Walk 28%
    • Rental car 27%
    • Public transport 25%
    • Taxi 21%
    • Ride sharing apps 10%
    • Bike 6%
  • How money is spent (top 5):
    • Hotel 24%
    • Food 16%
    • Flight 15%
    • Tours 10%
    • Transportation o/t flight 10%
    • Shopping 8%
  • Places they like to go / things they like to do:
    • Theme parks and attractions 74%
    • Water activities 67%
    • Outdoor activities 55%
    • Historical landmarks 44%
    • Eat out 44%
    • Visit museums 38%
    • Educational experiences/classes 28%
    • Guided tours 26%

How Generation Alphas are involved in trip planning:

  • 80% of adults in these families talk very frequently (27%) or somewhat frequently (53%) about travel with Generation Alphas.
  • 60% say travel ideas come from everyone in the family, 7% say they come from children.

What influences travel opinions of Generation Alphas?

  • Imagery or information on kid-friendly activities or attractions 33%
  • Travel-related imagery or information they see on TV 30%
  • Travel-related imagery or information they see online 27%
  • Things they hear from friends and/or learn about in school 27%
  • Things they hear from other family members 27%

Who influences trip choices?

  • Adults 94%
  • Young children 38%
  • Older children 13%
  • Other 3%

​​​​​​​Who makes trip decisions? Adults 94%

Top considerations for family trips with Generation Alphas:

  • Destination 64%
  • Activities 57%
  • Duration 37%
  • Hotel 31%
  • How they get there 31%
  • Distance to destination 25%

​​​​​​​Opportunities for marketers

  • Only 29% begin trip planning with only one destination in mind. 60% are deciding among 2 or more destinations, and 11% have no destination in mind.
  • Only 29% say they need no help in trip planning. 66% need some help, 5% need a lot of help and inspiration.
  • Things that appeal to these family travelers:
    1. Appealing imagery 54%
    2. Deals 53%
    3. Informative content 50%
    4. Reviews 44%
    5. Simple language 35%



  • Because the survey sample was drawn about equally from a fairly heterogeneous group of 9 countries, it's difficult to apply these results to any one specific market. Example: travelers living in the UK, Germany and Japan are probably more likely to take international trips because their countries are relatively small and distances to other countries short.
  • Also we have no household income or other similar socio-economic information on the people in the sample, aside from the facts that on average they are able to take around 3 family trips a year, 79% say budget is a factor, 54% prefer to fly and 53% like to get deals. This makes it difficult to apply the findings to destinations, accommodations and experiences of a particular class like high-end vs. budget.

But the following findings are probably actionable by many tourism destinations and suppliers that want or need to serve the family market:

  • If there's a child-friendly theme park or attraction near you, or a "water activity" (think beach), be sure to say so, promote it , do packages with it.
  • Advertise on TV if possible, and definitely online in a mobile-friendly fashion.
  • Use ads with great images, and put them where children will find them and share them with their parents.
  • Know when school breaks are in your most important geographic markets. and offer special family deals for those periods.
  • Get (good) reviews from family travelers.
  • Write any copy in simple language, short sentences, no big words, clauses or semicolons. Use the Readability Checker in MS Word or other software and keep your Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level at 8 or below. (FYI, this article scores 8.9.) See the Related Listing from Nielsen Norman Group re How to design digital interfaces for teens ​​​​​​​.

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David Boggs    - David
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